TV and Heart radio presenter Jenni Falconer is on her way to becoming a fully-fledged golfer! Read about her journey and introduction to the game.
How and why did you get into golf?
I am Scottish, come from a family of golfers, live in an area where there are courses a-plenty, yet I have never played myself, so I decided finally that this would have to change. I set myself a challenge at the start of the year to see whether it was indeed a sport that I could pick up relatively quickly so I could start playing with friends and family. I finally started in February this year with the PGAs of Europe and love.golf’s help. A love.golf PGA Professional, Joanne Taylor, is teaching me and together with the love.golf creator, Alastair Spink, and the PGAs of Europe, they are getting helping me on the journey with a short-term goal of playing in the GolfSixes Pro-Am at Centurion Club in May – something I’m really excited about!
What other sports do you practise and were you athletic growing up?
I have always been a sporty person – at school I played the usual hockey, tennis and netball. I was also a swimmer, did trampolining and gymnastics, loved horse-riding, and then once I started working, I realised that it was hard to commit to team activities so started running. I am now a keen marathon and half-marathon runner. I will be taking part in my 6th London Marathon in April. On top of that I enjoy weight training and now have added golf to my hobbies!
What do you love about the game?
I love the competitive element, spending time outdoors, the process of learning the swing and needing to practice the technique to improve. I’m amazed by how quickly the practice session becomes a perfection obsession! The social element is fantastic, the opportunity to play on incredible courses in brilliant locations – although having just started I have not yet played in warm weather but I imagine that is particularly enjoyable and I am very much so looking forward to experiencing golf in the sunshine!!
How does it fit around your job and family life?
Well I currently work on the radio early in the morning which generally leaves me the remainder of the day free. Unless other work comes along, I find I have time to go and play a round of golf before collecting my daughter from school. It really fits in well with my life!
How often and where do you get to play?
I am learning with Joanne Taylor at Tyrells Wood Golf Club in Leatherhead. It’s a beautiful course and all the members are very friendly and have been offering words of encouragement whilst I am learning. Otherwise I also play at the Richmond Club with my uncle who is a member and I am a regular at driving ranges in and around SW London!
What’s your favourite course and why?
Well, so far I have not played that many courses. At the weekend I am going to Glasgow to play with my dad at his club out towards Loch Lomond. I know there are some stunning courses in Scotland and I am excited about trying them out as I get better. However, if I am honest, I think I know already that my favourite course is one in the sunshine, somewhere hot…tanning and golfing – yup that sounds perfect!
How do you rate your own game and what’s your handicap?
So I am definitely still on beginner status. I started with a good short game but as my long game improves, my short game seems to deteriorate! Why is that?! So give me another few weeks and then come back to me for that one! Haha!
What are your golfing ambitions?
I would like to be a decent enough player to perhaps play in tournaments or competitions of some sort and the GolfSixes Pro-Am in May will be a great test and first run at that, but ultimately I just want to master the game, be able to swing the club and hit the ball without disgracing myself, and ultimately inspire my daughter to play too. She’s 6 and is already desperate to join in!
What are the main benefits that you have noticed so far?
For me it is the time out. I am constantly on my phone, replying to emails, or thinking about work – whilst golf gives me time to switch off from the stresses of life and enjoy the fresh air, focusing on one swing at a time…
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you on a course?
Tripping up and falling flat in a bunker? Of course, that never happened, and definitely not in front of people…nope, definitely not!
What’s the most useful advice that you’ve been given?
Someone told me to practice my swing to music. Anchor the swing to the tune you pick and then seemingly once you think of that tune, the swing will automatically follow. I have still to put this to the test, so in the meantime I’ll say being told to keep your eye on the ball is working very well for me!
Which professional golfers do you follow?
I am just starting out and constantly developing my knowledge and understanding of the game. I have started following a few #girlswhogolf on Instagram.
Did you watch the last Solheim Cup and what do you think about the event coming to Gleneagles in Scotland in 2019?
I didn’t watch the last one but I will be definitely keeping up with it next year. What a hugely exciting opportunity for it to be held at Gleneagles, an iconic club in Scotland – let’s hope that the European team do us proud!
What was your impression of golf growing up and has your opinion changed in recent years?
Growing up, I sat watching my parents play golf but I always thought it was a sport for an older generation, particularly as so many clubs had an array of antiquated rules.
I think that there has been a change though – more and more women are participating and enjoying the sport. Handicapping regulations and the upcoming rule changes mean things are being relaxed a little, which only makes it more accessible to even more new players. Seeing so many clubs open without the need for joining fees and membership prices is an added incentive to take up the game.
Why is golf a great game for women, girls and juniors?
It is social, competitive, requires good coordination, self-control, discipline, patience, practice, focus and ultimately it doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are or how good at golf you are – that excitement of hitting the ball well can be experienced by everyone!
#FalconerForeGolf is a new activity focused on guiding Jenni through the process of being introduced to golf, learning and ultimately becoming a fully-fledged golfer.
Together with love.golf, Jenni’s experiences will act as a live case study detailing her progress as she learns more about playing golf and becoming a golfer, shining a light on the journey that female golfers can take to get into golf, looking at the various challenges, questions and benefits that can be experienced by women and girls.
For more information visit http://eur.pe/FalconerForeGolf & follow Jenni’s progress on Social Media using the hashtag #FalconerForeGolf