Madeleine Winnett on the essentials, humour and etiquette of lady pros

How I proved to be the perfect playing partner

I have spent quite a lot of time with the lady professionals this summer at a variety of events, and they are certainly a varied bunch – and often, not at all what you would expect!

For example, I played in a pro-am with one lady pro, whom I shan’t name, and when she turned up on the 1st tee without a caddy, she had forgotten a pencil to mark the card. So, I duly obliged.

We hadn’t even teed off when she then required a nail file – and thanks to a handy little bag of essentials from Surprize Golf, once again I was able to spring to the rescue. A few holes later, I delved into the essentials kit again, to provide her with a plaster. And after what I shall politely refer to as a wardrobe malfunction, before we had reached the 9th, another plaster was called for. Unfortunately, this didn’t solve the problem, so a sewing kit was required – and guess who happened to have one in her little bag of essentials!

I am always certain to take sufficient food and drink with me to survive a round and, as it was an extremely hot day, I had rationed my two bottles of water carefully so that they would last the full 18 holes. That was a perfect plan until the 15th when she who shall remain nameless had run out of her own water, and dropped more than a subtle hint that she would love some more. Yes – that would be me to the rescue again then!

And just when I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything else of mine that she could want there was a tentative enquiry as to whether or not I had a tissue. I now understand the importance of caddies to players and why their tournament bags are so big!

At another event one of the caddies had been hit in the face by an amateur during the pro-am. Now, I was duly concerned and sympathetic towards the poor chap as he arrived back from A&E with his broken nose realigned, stitches and a couple of eyes that were definitely going to turn an attractive shade of black the next day. However, I was the only one who seemed to possess the sympathy gene.

And the biggest disappointment of the day for many of the players was to turn up to lunch too late to see the wounded warrior arrive. As we were sitting having lunch, all the pros thought it was hysterical. They had all been passing round the phone pictures he had sent from hospital and were even doing impressions of his voice by holding their noses as he had called his brother from hospital. Even his brother found it hard to stifle his giggles! And the biggest disappointment of the day for many of the players was to turn up to lunch too late to see the wounded warrior arrive.

I was sufficiently moved to tell him that I sympathised not just with his injury, and the selfless way in which he had sustained it by trying to protect one of the other amateurs in his team, but for the fact that he associated with such a hard-hearted bunch!

Actually, joking apart, many of the lady pros have excellent senses of humour and it is a shame that we don’t get to see it more often. There is so little coverage of ladies’ golf on TV and then the interviews we see are generally just stock in trade, which doesn’t give the public an insight into their personalities.
As I consider myself to be a real ‘wind up’ merchant, (sorry mother, I know that’s slang, but it’s still the most pertinent phrase here!) it is great to see the ladies both indulging in the same behaviour, and being on the receiving end, whilst accepting it with such good humour.

They also don’t spit! The men’s tour is dreadful when it comes to spitters, with the Americans seeming to be the worst offenders. Now that Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson are having extended leaves of absence, we can rejoice in the reduced number of close-up shots of them defiling the greenery with the contents of their lungs. When it comes to matters of etiquette therefore, the men’s tour could certainly learn a few lessons from the ladies.

Then again, when it comes to appearances, many of the American ladies set their standards extremely high. A few years ago in Ireland I was fascinated to watch the pros go through their routines on the putting green before they went out to play. Without exception they were all studiously putting the finishing touches to their strokes, and absorbing the speed of the greens, etc – and then Christina Kim arrived. Before she even attempted to reach for her putter the first thing she did was to extract her make-up compact, so that she could look into the mirror whilst carefully applying lipstick, followed by lip gloss! I wish I had been quicker to whip out my camera, but I was too busy thinking, “Now I have seen everything!”

As my little bag of essentials is already full to bursting, on reflection, I don’t think I had better mention that tale to my first lady professional in case we end up playing together again in the future. Whilst it is entirely feasible that I may carry something from Maxfli around in my golf bag, I think it will be a very long time before Max Factor ever makes it in there as well!

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