40 by 40 Blog 11. Emma takes part in the Spring Meeting of the Golf Industry Golf Society (GIGS)

Two blogs in two days! I am on a roll. Just the twenty-two more to write up and seven rounds left to play!

After a mostly damp experience at Gaudet Luce the day before, I headed south to The Berkshire for the Spring meeting of the Golf Industry Golf Society.

I joined the society last year after being nominated by two of the current members. There is a Young Industry Golfers Society (GIGS) but somehow I managed to completely bypass that and in my advancing age and industry experience jumped straight into GIGS.

You won't be surprised to hear that I am one of only a handful of women in the society, probably reasonably representative of any golf club across the country. However, it should be noted that it isn't through a lack of trying, as new members can be nominated every year.

I have fully embraced the society and enjoyed playing Worplesdon, Royal Birkdale and Hillside in 2022. As well as golf, it has given me the opportunity to speak to, network and learn from some others who have worked in the golf industry for a long time, many over 20 years.

The Berkshire, Red Course

I'd never played The Berkshire before, I had only been there to attend the Rose Ladies Series event that was held there on the Blue Course in 2021. It had been a bitter, windy and wet May day, so two years later I was hopeful for much better conditions.

Like the Blue, the Red Course is a heathland course with pine and heather lining the couse. It lies on higher ground than the Blue and runs through slightly more undulating terrain, with more dramatic elevation changes between tees and greens.

If you play off the yellow tees, it offers a unique assortment of holes, with six par 3s, six par 4s and six par 5s. The six short holes have been described as the best collection in the country, and must rank as amongst the most intimidating anywhere (great suff, just what I needed).

Playing off the forward tee, the course is six par3s, five par 4s and seven par 5s - doesn't quite have the same ring to it!

My group consisted of my long time friend (and ex-boss) Nicole Wheatley, CEO of Medi8, Colin Mays, CEO of BGL and Vanessa Bell, Head of Fundraising at the Golf Foundation. I knew Vanessa quite well and had played golf previously with Colin at Hillside.

All in all, it was the perfect four-ball and one in which I felt I could relax with and put the previous day's topping disaster behind me.

We established before the round that two of us used iGolf and two were club members, so we found each other on our England Golf app. I was keen to get another 18 holes submitted, as was Nicole.

The scorecard says it all...

I think the best way to describe my round is to share my scorecard...

Bear in mind that I have played Royal Birkdale, Hillside and Muirfield, all tough courses in their own right, the Red Course at The Berkshire was by far the toughest course I have ever played. The carries were long, the heather chewed me up and spat me out and I was genuinely exhausted by the end of 18 holes! Those par 3s are really tricky and not as easy as the distance may seem.

However, I want to go back and play it again. I know I could have played better and I did not manage getting out of the heather well. I should have taken my medicine, chipped out and gone from there. Too many times I tried to advance the ball out of the heather 🤦‍♀️

Weirdly, although there was carnage on 90 per cent of the scorecard, I had a great time. Although I have known Nicole for nearly 20 years, we had never played anything more than crazy golf or Topgolf together. I know she struggled with the heather too but held her composure better than I did. We also made a pact not to leave it 20 years before we do it again!

Vanessa is a fantastic golfer playing off 1.3. To get the opportunity to play with and watch a player of that calibre is quite something. Maybe one day I'll hit the ball like that (prays for a miracle)!

For Colin, he had a role reversal as the only man in the team. I believe it was the first time he had experienced it at an industry event. Luckily, I do not think we put him off for future society get togethers!

40 by 40 - Round 11 ✅

After vowing never to play a heathland course again (just joking) and getting out of my golf gear, it was time to enjoy a delicious three-course lunch served in the club's dining room. A real treat and I enjoyed my glass of wine to console my bruised ego. Golf can be so tough!

It's not a cheap green fee to play The Berkshire, but I encourage anyone who gets the opportunity to play there to do it. An absolutely stunning course which made up more than enough for my golf game.

To finish off the week and to make it three days of golf in a row, I was heading back home via Brocket Hall to meet up with MGP Nutrition founder Cat Colman and squeeze in a quick nine holes. Hopefully, my body can manage three days in a row... watch this space.

40 by 40 is also helping to raise awareness of the fundamental work that is carried out by the Golf Foundation to get more children active in golf across the UK. As well as raising funds for this fantastic charity via our JustGiving page.

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