Sian Whitbread loves competition and her golf clubs took her to Portugal to play in the pro-am of the European Tour’s GolfSixes Cascais.
She and playing partner, Paul Dimmer, won England Golf’s national qualifier and they set off to rub shoulders with Tour players and other amateurs from around Europe. Sian, a 21-handicapper from Haste Hill in Middlesex, tells us her golfing story…
I love the competitiveness, the friendship and being out in the fresh air. I’m not one for jogging or going to the gym, but four hours of walking is great. I don’t like being indoors!
Why did you start playing?
I didn’t take it up till I was nearly 50, when a poster went up at work about a company golf day – all geared to men! But I spoke to my director and he told me to put my name down. My husband is a golfer and I went home and told him he had to teach me to play golf and that I only had three months to learn! I did go to the golf day and I was dreadful, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was good fun and I carried on and played in the golf day the following two years and I got better and better.
What happened next?
I joined Haste Hill Golf Club where my husband is a member and, while I was still working, I played with a group of ladies every Sunday. I retired last September and now I play at least twice a week. We play in all the competitions like the Ping Fourball Betterball, the Coronation Foursomes and the England Golf Trust Stableford – and, of course, GolfSixes.
Tell us about your GolfSixes Cascais experience
We ran men’s and women’s qualifiers at our club and when I won it made my day! Then we got the invitation to play the England final at Centurion Club and it was amazing. When we won, it was very exciting, to know we were going to Portugal to represent England and be part of it all.
We played with England’s Paul Waring and Tom Lewis in the pro-am and they were lovely. In the amateur final we were disappointed that we didn’t play as well as we could but the winners, from Holland, were very, very good. We played with them in the pro-am as well and they were excellent.
It was a really great experience and it’s given everyone at the club a bit of a buzz.
Any other big golfing experiences?
I played in the final of the UK Public Golf Courses Championships at St Andrews and came third!
Getting more involved
I’ve joined the ladies’ committee – I organise the tee sheets for every week and I like to mix up people so lower handicappers help the higher players to learn more about the rules and etiquette. I’m also on the Haste Hill board which we created this year to deal with various issues with the council (Haste Hill is a municipal club). That seems to be going very well and there’s definitely lots more communication now.
A word for any women and girls thinking about getting into golf?
Do it! It’s the most wonderful game ever. I just can’t imagine life without it.
Caption: Sian Whitbread and Paul Dimmer at the England final of GolfSixes. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography)