Carys Irvine plays her golf at Craigielaw in East Lothian. Coming from a non-golfing family where neither of her parents played golf, Carys first experienced the game in school at 11 years old. Enjoying the challenge that golf provided, she asked her parents if she could start going to group lessons at her local club.
Carys enjoyed these group lessons because the coach did not just work on technical aspects of golf, but instead also focused on developing some of the other skills required for golf like balance, coordination, speed, power, agility, and problem solving.
She soon started to play in some fun competitions and joined the Stephen Gallacher Foundation where she got to play lots of local courses and met lots of new friends by playing in their flag event competitions.
Six years on, Carys is now a member of Scottish Golf’s Young Person’s Golf Panel and has just finished competing in her first International Senior National Championship at the 2019 Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open at Royal Troon.
Carys wanted to blog about her experience at this year’s Championship as well as providing an update on how things are progressing with the Young Person’s Golf Panel.
Carys Irvine Blog – 2019 Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open
I love all aspects of golf and I’m excited to be a member of Scottish Golf’s Young Persons Golf Panel where we are working to encourage other young people to get involved and stay involved with golf. I have had loads of great experiences so far from being involved in golf and I hope others can get that experience too.
I am constantly trying to enhance my golfing skills and experiences so I decided to enter the 2019 Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open Championship this year to give me a chance to see what it was like at the next level of competition; my first International women’s WAGR event. I had heard what a great time everyone has there so I was delighted to gain entry as a competitor and I was really looking forward to playing with some of the best amateur lady golfers in Europe. Together with my new coach, Colin Fisher, I had been working really hard over the winter season concentrating on lots of drills to better my approaches into the green as that is where my golf stats needed to be improved most and I was looking forward to putting my hard work into practice on the long courses at this event.
I couldn’t believe it when I saw the weather forecast for the tournament dates and I was delighted to play golf in such sunny and hot weather. I was really happy to step on the tee for my first practice practice round on the Portland course to find out I was playing with Tara McTaggart and Kate McIntosh; both former Scottish Home International players and experienced players in the Helen Holm. I already knew Kate as we are both members of the Midlothian county ladies squad and I recently met Tara when I played against her in an intercounty friendly match. They made my round so enjoyable and it was great to hear their experiences of the tournament and be able to watch how they approached the course; it certainly made me think more strategically about how I would play some of the holes.
My other practice round on the old course at Royal Troon was played with Jasmine Mackintosh, another former Scottish Home International player who I have known for a few years in the performance academy. I really enjoyed the course and I was particularly excited to play the iconic postage stamp 8thhole with a tee shot which landed 3 feet from the pin. It was such a great course but it needed to be played with careful thought of where to place the ball to avoid the many hazards.
So practice rounds done, notes made and I was ready and excited for my first day of competition. I was in the last group to tee off on the first day which made the day seem really long as I really just wanted to get out there and get started. My playing partners were both experienced players in the tournament and they were such lovely ladies and made me feel at ease straight away. I wasn’t nervous at all as I hadn’t set myself any particular goal with regards to my score; my main goal was to enjoy the experience and challenge myself playing on a longer course and in a very strong International field.
I felt very pleased with how I played overall on both rounds; I made a couple of mistakes which added to my score and I hit some putts too long on the first round but then was more cautious on the second round and left so many just an inch away from the hole. It was frustrating to have those extra tap in putts add to my score but that’s the nature of golf I suppose and on other days those putts would have dropped. It was great to see the experience and confidence of my playing partners with how well they struck the ball and how accurately their ball was placed in position. I learned a lot from them over the two days which I’ll build into my own game.
Unfortunately I didn’t make the cut to the final day but as I went to the tournament with no expectation I wasn’t too disappointed about that. I still had a smile on my face as I genuinely had an amazing experience from start to finish. What wasn’t to love? The weather was amazing, I was getting great exercise, the views were lovely, the courses were challenging and everyone I spoke to both on the course and off was lovely (especially the ladies in Troon ladies golf clubhouse who provided fantastic food over the four days).
I will definitely be back again to experience the amazing atmosphere again and hopefully my experience might encourage some other promising junior girls to also take the chance and push themselves outside their comfort zone and enter next year. All I can say is manage your expectations as this is a high level competition but I promise you won’t be disappointed. I know I had a blast!
I’d really like to thank Scottish Golf and Royal Troon for putting on such a fantastic and well organised event, it was an amazing experience for me and one that I’ll remember forever.
To find out more about the Scottish Golf Young Person’s Golf Panel, please click here.