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Back in the Algarve ... The festive season is over, it's dark when you wake up and go to bed, days are generally gloomy, waistline is slightly thicker and Dry January has kicked in, so that's why I'm longing for sunshine and reminiscing about my last trip at the beginning of December.

I joined a mixed group largely from Enfield Golf Club that regularly compete in the end-of-year Jamega Tour pro-am. I say 'compete' loosely as it's a very social few days. I didn't even take my own clubs, but the Callaway hire set, collected at Faro Airport, worked really well (I'd recommend mycaddymaster.com) and I even came in with a prize on the third day!


This trip is such good value, staying at the Dona Filipa Hotel and playing three rounds, two at Pinheiros Altos (one being the pro-am) and another at San Lorenzo. When you can book a return flight for £40, it can't be bad! As you'll see from the pics, the weather was glorious - such a lovley time to get away before the chaos of Christmas!


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First Morocco and then France, so I've had a busy but enjoyable and satisfying couple of work trips out of the office with one coinciding with my birthday so I celebrated Moroccan style.

It was this year's International Golf Travel Market that took place in Morocco, a place that I had never visited before, but with back-to-back meetings, other than time for lunch and dinner, I had little time to explore Marrakech or play golf on what I gather to be fabulous golf courses, so another time perhaps. At this gathering, golf resorts, hotels and courses from all over the world congregate to sell to buyers, whilst it's an opportunity for me to meet with destinations to discuss editorial opportunities and beyond.

I mentioned my birthday above and I highly recommend the Comptoir Darna restaurant for a fun Moroccan evening with traditional food, dance and song. Of course I was completely stitched up and invited to dance with a young Moroccan male dancer in front of a crowd. I felt completely out of my comfort zone - it was one of those situations when you just have to go with it - the picture below shows me deliberating!


The following week, Women & Golf hosted a successful trip to the Le Touquet Golf Resort in northern France. The weather was kind to us, and despite some rain during the first day's practice round, ladies enjoyed two competition rounds in calm and even sunny conditions. Staff at Le Manoir Hotel and both Le Touquet and Hardelot Golf Club could not have been more accommodating to ensure the smooth running of this trip with fabulous food and wine always flowing, and I'd also like to thank TaylorMade and adidas who provided generous prizes.

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in Women & Golf Editor's Blog 209 0

It will almost be three weeks since Europe won the Solheim Cup, but I'm still reeling with joy every time I think about it. I watched every player tee off for their singles matches and the atmosphere was amazing. There were lots of shouts of encouragement from myself and Naga Munchetty.


I would have liked to have been inside the ropes on the 18th as Suzann Pettersen holed the winning putt, but like many others, penning the drama as it unfolded, I was in the media centre watching on the big screen. As you can imagine, there were plenty of gasps and cheers as the match turned around in Europe's favour over the last 45 minutes, along with plenty of chuckles when Charley Hull used an expletive when she missed her final putt - knowing that all of us would have done the same! I felt really emotional when I sat and watched the winning European team in the interview room, especially when players paid tributes to Suzann Pettersen, who had just announced that she was retiring.


It’s a relief that the match was such a thriller as it was in real danger of being completely overshadowed by the subject of slow play.

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in Women & Golf Editor's Blog 184 0

It seems crazy that since my last blog when I mentioned a golf lesson, I've only played once, so that's almost a month ago. Shocking - this won't help any improvement this year! As you can see, it's a myth that those who work in the golf industry play golf all the time - well, some do! I'm not sure when I will play next as today I'm off to Ibiza for a week - no golf, just plenty of much needed R&R!

I have just signed off the latest issue of Women & Golf and this is accompanied by a free magazine - The Solheim Cup with PING - so don't miss it! It has also been a busy few weeks for the pros. I headed to Royal Portrush for a couple of days during the men's Open week. This was my first visit to this fabulous venue, but as I was attending meetings, along with an R&A women's forum, I didn't get to walk any of the course, so I was pleased to get back home and have half an eye on the TV to see what the players were up against. The coastline is stunning - and I also wish that I'd had time to visit the Giant's Causeway.

Closer to home was the recent AIG Women's British Open at Woburn and like so many golf fans, when eventual champion, Hinako Shibuno smiled, you couldn't help but smile back! She is a breath of fresh air for women's golf. Other than when taking a shot, an infectious smile rarely left her face and she embraced and delighted the crowds with plenty of high-fives at every opportunity.


Over recent years, players in the East have dominated leaderboards, but as youngsters, particularly the Koreans, they are encouraged to keep their emotions in check, so other than playing fantastic golf, their on-course personalities do little to bring the game alive. It’s nothing personal, but for those non-golfers in the UK looking in, you can’t blame them for perhaps thinking the game is a little dull.

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in Women & Golf Editor's Blog 267 0

I wrote my last blog from Miami but that seems an awful long time ago now. Whilst there I had a lesson with renowned instructor Jim McLean as his school is based at The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. Funnily enough it was the day after Gary Woodland, once a pupil of Jim's, won the US Open. In the school office there are pics of some of the best professionals with thank you messages to Jim including Lexi Thompson, Cristie Kerr and Keegan Bradley.

Anyway, back to my lesson ... first of all, what a lovely guy, charming and easygoing so it was easy to relax. He changed my grip slightly. I have a tendency to grip the club too tightly, so my right hand has now moved over a little and I'm trying hard to not even notice my right thumb and index finger being on the club - at the moment it feels weird but I will persevere. He also gave me a series of drills that should help my weight transfer - as always, plenty to think about, but what a treat to have this lesson.


Back in the UK, I did check out Pachesham Golf Centre in Leatherhead, Surrey. I'd never heard of this place, but the facilities are fantastic. There's a 28-bay covered and floodlit driving range, and what I really liked was the short game area which has targets at various yardages. I had a go in the putting lab - really interesting looking at the different stats and confirmed that more often than not I miss putts to the left!


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