BBC presenter and Women & Golf columnist Naga Munchetty will play in the unique format pro-am at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.


BBC presenter and Women & Golf columnist Naga Munchetty will play in the unique format pro-am at the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.

Brexit, a new Prime Minister for the UK, calls for Indy Ref 2 north of the border – it seems like the news agenda has never been so eventful or the public so engaged with current affairs.

But while the country’s ever-changing political landscape means that BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty faces long and busy days in the newsroom, nothing could stop her from getting away from it all on the golf course five times a week.

“I’m actually really lucky that my schedule allows me to be finished at work by 10am, so I get to unwind while everyone else is at work. I’ll make time to go to the gym or play golf, so my work schedule actually fits in really well,” says Naga, who plays off a handicap of nine.

“I got into golf about eight years ago. My husband, James, was playing golf on and off but I’d always thought of it as a game for posh old men and wasn’t something for me. But I decided to give it a go and ended up taking some lessons to learn to play properly – I found that I absolutely loved it.

“I still play with my husband. He’s lower than me at the moment, which is really annoying me as we are so competitive with each other.”

Naga will be hoping to get plenty of extra practice in this month before heading north to the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open, where she’s due to play in the unique Pro-Am format event where amateurs and celebrities play alongside the professionals over the first two rounds

The broadcaster is a regular at the tournament – this year once again being played at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire from July 22-24 – and is hoping that the unpredictable Scottish weather will be favourable.

“I really enjoyed playing at Dundonald last year, but the course was really tough. Being a links course how you play is often influenced by the weather, and I just hope that I can improve on last year,” she says.

“But regardless of the weather and how I play, I absolutely love being able to take part in tournaments like these. You learn so much from the professionals and it’s really helped my own game.

“I didn’t get into golf until later in life, but even if I had got into it when I was younger I don’t think I would have ever been talented enough to turn professional. You need to sacrifice so much from such a young age, and you are taking a risk: there are rewards, but they can be a long time in coming.”

The fall-out from the UK’s decision to leave the European Union continues to create headlines, but Naga is also looking ahead to one of the other major events that will influence the news agenda this summer – the Olympics.

Several high profile male athletes - including golfers Rory McIlroy and Vijay Singh – have already pulled out over fears of the Zika virus.

The virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and is linked to severe birth defects and neurological problems in adults, has been the focus for much media attention, but Naga hopes golf’s inclusion in the Olympics for the first time in over 100 years will be one of the real success stories to come out of the Games.

She believes that Rio 2016 could do for golf what London 2012 did for athletics by encouraging a new generation of young golfers to hit the greens – but clubs across the country will need to respond by becoming more accessible.

Relaxation on dress codes, more flexible tee times and providing clubs and providing youngsters with equipment are just some of the things that could be done to make it easier for them to play, says Naga.

The Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies’ Scottish Open is playing a part in raising the profile of the sport as a fun activity for children and teenagers. Over the three days of the tournament – which is free to attend – there will be interactive golf activities for kids and adults and tuition from PGA professionals.

There will also be other fun activities, including a food fair, cookery demonstrations, charity stands, arts and crafts workshops, a birds of prey and an observatory planetarium.

Naga adds, “London 2012 was just amazing, and now the Games are moving to the biggest party city in the world. I think Rio can only do positive things for raising the profile of the sport in the same way that athletics really took off here after London.

“But what we really need is for golf clubs to do as much as they can to support young people and encourage them to get interested in golf, whether that’s setting up course tees that they can play off, relaxing the dress codes – even something as simple as allowing them to wear trainers for the first few months they play – giving them better tee times, and for older club members to engage with them.

“I am sure there are lots of kids out there who would love to play with their mum and dad. Golf should be something that the whole family can enjoy together – it shouldn’t take more than an hour to an hour-and-a-half to play a round of nine holes – and I think it would be great if more clubs could make it more accessible for families to enjoy being out in the fresh air together.

“I am looking forward to seeing golf in the Olympics, but I’ll be watching it on television along with the rest of the country. I’d love to maybe one day be a golf anchor, but the BBC can only send out a limited number of people to Rio. It’s also very busy news time, and right now I don’t think there’s anywhere I’d rather be than the newsroom.”

The 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open takes place at Dundonald Links on the West Coast of Scotland in North Ayrshire, from 22-24 July. The event now occupies a prime spot on the Ladies European Tour calendar, sitting just one week ahead of the Women's British Open and offers a prize fund of €500,000.

The event's unique pro-am format sees 80 amateurs and celebrities tee it up alongside a limited field of 80 of the top female golfers in the world. The 54-hole tournament is played over three days and is the only annual professional Ladies European Tour event in Scotland.

The event is free to attend with fun for all the family. For more information visit and follow @AberdeenLSO #AberdeenLSO

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