Next week, Norwegian Caroline Martens will compete in the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters at her new UK base, Buckinghamshire Golf Club, with her mother and 1984 Miss World contestant Ingrid as her caddie for the week. We sat down with mother and daughter to find out more about their relationship ahead of the tournament, which is a family-friendly event.
Caroline: what’s it like having your mother as your caddie?
Caroline: It’s great. We have a good dynamic going as she’s here quite often. We work really well together and I like having her around, one, before we’re really good friends but also because we work really well as a team. I think it’s challenging for her to see me play bad because she takes it personally because I’m her daughter. But she also gets excited when I play well, because she takes that personally because I’m her daughter. I think it’s a win, win, situation, really. The lows can sometimes be lower but then it’s good to have the support.
Ingrid: how much do you enjoy caddying?
Ingrid: I really, really enjoy following Caroline. Of course we have worked together for so many years and I would support her in whatever she would do. I love the sport too and know it so well. It’s good to be on her side. I think we work very well together. I probably wouldn’t travel with her without being her caddie, because I think it would be much tougher walking on the side. The three years we have worked together we have improved the cooperation and it improves every tournament.
Caroline: It improves each week and we learn something about each other. She learns more about my game and I learn how to handle myself and her. Like sometimes I say ‘You need to chill.’ I know I can say it because she knows me so well.
Ingrid: how lucky do you feel to be able to support your daughter so closely?
Ingrid: Being a mum, I’m very privileged to be able to follow Caroline; really privileged.
Caroline: I feel privileged to have her here. It’s fantastic that I am doing a sport where you can include a family member. What other sport can you do that? If you’re swimming in a pool you can’t have your mum swimming next to you. The fact that I can bring a family member along and work together, it’s pretty unique and pretty cool if you have the kind of relationship we do.
How would you describe your relationship?
Ingrid: We laugh a lot. We have very good humour and we always have something to laugh about.
Caroline: Yesterday we tried to tell a story and we cried and cried. We couldn’t stop crying with laughter, it was so funny. Everyone else at the table couldn’t understand, but we thought it was fantastic. We’ve always had this sense of humour and being able to bring that out at work is fantastic.
Golf is a great sport for families. Why do you think that is?
Caroline: It’s great for families. That’s why I started playing golf, because she played golf. Taking away the caddying aspect, being able to share it with the family is fantastic. You can play four people in one group, or you can have more groups. Playing with mom, dad and two kids or grandparents, there are a lot of things you can do as a family but golf is probably one of the only sports where you can share something like that. All those hours on the golf course together, vacations where you take golf trips with your family, after school, hit balls on the driving range with your grandparents or your dad or your sister. The fact that you can share golf with your family is pretty cool and that’s one of the things I love about golf. My grandparents started playing and got my mom into golf, my mom got me into golf, so I’m playing purely because of my family. It gave me a future within golf, so it’s cool to know that bringing your cousin or friend along, you can share something and also create something as well.
Ingrid: You don’t need to play 18 holes. You can go out and play nine holes. When Caroline was younger we had jungle golf, where in the evening after dinner you bring one club and one ball and have to hit it over the tree, underneath the tree, closer to this and closer to that. Even when we were travelling we would go to the beach and chip over the boats. You can use the game for a lot of fun. You don’t always need to be on the golf course because you can have mini golf, chipping competitions, go out with one club.
Caroline: A lot of people think 18 holes is too long and don’t have time to spend four or five hours a day on the golf course. Nine holes is an option, or doing fun things together. We’d be on a non-golfing vacation and we’d chip around and have the best time ricocheting balls off the walls. It’s a creative sport that you can share with so many people.
Ingrid: It doesn’t need to be very expensive. In Norway you can go on the soccer field. When the team is off the course you can start chipping and hitting 100 metre shots.
Caroline: In a tree, in a boat.
Ingrid: That’s what we did, as well! We have a driving range in the garden and we hit it straight out into the ocean.
Caroline: I think there are 1000 golf balls in the water. Our entire family have a scuba diving licence so we will go and get those balls out. If you have the creativity golf is something that you can do with everyone, everywhere, with your entire family and there’s no age limit. You hear stories where people started to play at three. There is really no age limit to when you can get your kids involved. And the other way around, if you’re 80 and your body allows it, it’s something that is possible to do. If you enjoy it, it’s something you can do for the rest of your life. You don’t have to have an aim to be a professional golfer. Just go out and enjoy time together.
What can families do at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters?
Caroline: One of the things about the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters is that it’s a great family event for kids to come along. There are a lot of activities that go on around the tournament including SNAG Golf and it doesn’t matter if you’ve played before, because you can have a really cool introduction to the game. Being able to see the world’s best women golfers compete just outside of London is also pretty unique. You’re outside, you can walk around and then do something different. It’s a beautiful place to introduce people to the sport. They have the opportunity to come very close to us, which is also very cool. A lot of people and a lot of kids that watch professional sporting events can’t get that close to the athletes. Here you have the opportunity to get up close and get to know some of the players and be involved in the entire event. I think it’s very inspirational and very cool for kids.
The ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters is all about inspiring kids through the power of sport. Ingrid: do you consider yourself to be an inspirational mother?
Ingrid: Yes, because I am very childish. It’s important to keep on being childish and creative. I try to bring up the kids to have fun so everything is possible. You don’t have to be good, you can find out yourself, but I encourage the kids to do what they love doing and play whatever it is: tennis, golf or darts! I think that’s the most important thing. In the start, I was very strict. They were not allowed to use computers or play computer games. They had to go outside and play because I had to build up the creativity.
Caroline: From when we came home from school until dinner we had to do homework. Once dinner was done, we were sent out and we had to find our own fun, so hitting golf balls or pine cones at trees… it didn’t matter. She would never tell us what to do. We had to make up our own game outside. A lot of the time we would walk down to the beach, put the ball half under the water and then hit it out, getting it out of the water, closest to the wall. I think for my creativity around the greens, she has been very influential.
Ingrid: I think it’s important to use your body, be outside, don’t be afraid and try it out!
You can watch Caroline and Ingrid at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters. Buy tickets now at http://tickets.sky.com/Golf/.
More information: www.ladieseuropeanmasters.com.