Ask Emma: How can I keep motivated this winter?

Tips

PGA professional Emma Booth answers your burning questions, including how to cope with slow play and how you know you're ready to play your first round

How can I make winter golf more enjoyable?

Question: I never feel like playing golf now that it’s so cold and dark outside. How can I keep myself motivated through the winter? Natalie, London

Answer: I realise that winter can seem like a depressing time, but it actually provides you with a massive opportunity to improve.

First of all work out which areas of your game need some work. Then set yourself some new goals for next season and think about what you need to do to achieve them.

Having something to focus on will give your practice sessions much more purpose. Work out how many times you can actually play and how many range sessions you can fit in.

Be realistic with what you want to achieve and how to get there. There’s no point putting yourself under too much pressure as you will only end up resenting going out to practise.

Or if you feel like you need the help of a professional, why not go for an evaluation lesson? He/she will be able to guide you with any improvements that need to be made. If you do want to make some big changes then now is the perfect time to work on them. So start making the most of those dark winter nights!

Am I ready to play with my friends?

Question: I’ve only been playing golf for a few months yet some of my experienced golfer friends keep asking me to come out and play with them. I’m scared of showing myself up but should I just be brave and join them anyway? Kathryn, Portsmouth

Answer: No, don’t play with them – you will never be able to do it. You won’t be good enough and you’ll make a complete fool of yourself. Your friends will laugh at you, the rest of the club will hear stories of your terrible golf and strangers will point and snigger at you in the street.

Of course I’m joking.

However, it is easy to let fear stop us from doing the things that we want to do. You should definitely go and play with your friends and have a good time.

All golfers were beginners once and if they really are your friends then they will be helpful and encouraging when you go out with them for the first time.

Be honest and tell them that you are nervous. Aim to play a minimum of five holes and if you start doing badly, just pick up the ball and walk with your friends until the next hole.

Your first game won’t be perfect but it will still be fun and enjoyable, so get out there and give it a go!

Should I ask her to speed up?

Question: My friend plays really slowly and it’s starting to annoy me! How can I ask her to speed up without offending her? Rachael, Nottingham

Answer: Well, is your friend slow because she walks slowly, takes too long to hit the ball or faffs a lot?

If she walks slowly or faffs, she might speed up if you tell her that you only have a certain amount of time to play the round. Hopefully that will give her a bit of a kick up the bum!

But if she takes a long time over the ball that’s trickier, she may need a lesson to break the habit or it might just be something that you have to accept.

Lastly, have you considered that maybe your friend is quite happy playing at the pace she does? If that’s the case, perhaps you should try playing with people that better complement the speed of your game.

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