Competing: It’s work and play for Emma

Competing: It’s work and play for Emma

Golf and competition take up a lot of Emma Anderson’s life.

Personally, she’s a keen golfer who plays competitively at Sherwood Forest Golf Club and for Nottinghamshire. Professionally, she’s recently joined the England Golf Championships team as an Events Officer. She runs a range of one and two-day competitions and helps at bigger tournaments – always trying to give players a great experience. Here’s her story…

#WhyIGolf

I love the challenge. No two days are the same on the golf course and while it may be frustrating at times it always leaves you wanting to come back for more! I am also pretty competitive and love challenging myself to play better than the last time.

I also find golf a great way to de-stress. When I go out on the golf course, it gives me a chance to escape anything else that is going on and just have a bit of time to myself.

How did you get into golf?

My parents both played before I was born so they were very keen to get me and my brother playing so they could get out on the golf course more! It clearly worked, because I am now much more likely to run into my family at the golf course than I am at home. It has been great for us as a family, as we can take time out from our busy lives to play golf together – we recently won our first trophy as a four which was a special moment.

How competitive are you personally?

Very – and that is a family influence too. We actually have all of our handicaps on magnets on our fridge. When one of us drops our handicap, updating the fridge is the first thing we will do! It became quite notorious at our golf club and I take great pride in informing anyone who will listen that I am currently top of the fridge.

When did you start running events?

When I turned 18 and could no longer play for our county junior team, I got involved with our county association as a volunteer. I took on the role of Junior Competitions Secretary and began organising the competitions for the girls. It was great experience and I enjoyed being able to give something back to the county that had supported me through my junior days.

I also did an event marketing module in my second year at university. As a class we had to run an event based around football and the First World War and my classmates nominated me as in charge. This taught me a lot about the planning and preparation involved in events, attending meetings with multiple stakeholders and the considerations of the event attendee’s experience. As a result of this, I also ended up organising a book launch for politician Alastair Campbell and former professional footballer Paul Fletcher. This had a large amount of press coverage and opened by eyes to the relationship between the media and those running events.

Now, you’re running competitions as a career. What appealed to you about the job?

I love being out and about, and what better place than a golf course! The fact that every day is different really appealed to me. I have also always loved problem solving and with the unpredictable nature of British weather this is something I have already been able to do in my role.

The idea of working in golf, especially at the start of my career, has always appealed to me. Whenever I had come into contact with those working in the sport, I had always felt very well supported and as though they wanted me to succeed – which is definitely not the case for young people in some other sports. Since joining England Golf, I have become even more sure that I made the right decision.

What’s involved?

The off season is a lot of planning, meeting with clubs about the events they will be hosting and managing the entries.

When the season kicks off it all gets a bit hectic! It then becomes a combination of going out to events and preparing for the next one. Before an event, we have to make sure we have everything we need to take with us, that start lists are created and that competitors have all the information they need. We will normally arrive at an event the day before to have a look round the course and set up registration, score recording etc, as well as writing any local rules required for the course. On a competition day you never know what may come up and you need to be ready to react so the whole experience is as easy and stress free as possible for our competitors.

What’s important to give competitors a great experience?

You want to make it as easy as possible for them to get where they need to be, so they know when they have to register, where their scorecards are and where they need to return their scorecards. All our referees and volunteers are really important in this too, to keep play moving and answer any questions they have. It’s little things like making sure there is food being served when they want it, or a starter who gives a good welcome to the course, that make a real difference to players.

It is really important for us to have a good relationship with the club we are at, as it is their facilities we are using. They are also the best people to ask about detail regarding the course and are invaluable to us during an event.

Best and worst moments?

These probably both came at my first event on my own at Wallasey. When I arrived at the club on the Monday afternoon, we were in the middle of torrential rain and the 18th green was completely flooded. I wasn’t too optimistic about getting 240 players around the course over the following two days at that point!

Fortunately, the course drained incredibly well and we managed to get two full days play in. After it was all finished, it was great to see the players still enjoyed it despite the challenging weather.

How could we get more women and girls playing in competitions?

I think it is all about making them aware of what is on offer to them and making sure they realise that England Golf events aren’t just for elite players! While there are several events that are just for women and girls, we also have mixed events like the England Golf Captains and Senior Series. It would be great to see more females playing in these events as we move towards an era where your gender doesn’t matter – as long as you are enjoying playing golf!