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Golfer Gemma shares her love of the game

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By Fiona Reid
Golfer Gemma shares  her love of the game

UNIVERSITY of Stirling golf scholar Gemma Batty has had an excellent 2016 season including becoming English Women's Open match play champion at Holme Hall in Lincolnshire. And she won six points from six in helping Dumfriesshire to win the Scottish Women's Country Championships at Aboyne Golf Club in Aberdeenshire last month. Gemma is a member of The Moffat Golf Club, along with her dad David. She told DNG Media about her love of the game.

How did you start playing golf?

My parents and sister are golfers so the game is very much a family thing! I used to tag along when I was growing up and was encouraged to play when I became a little more confident.

What has your time at Stirling University taught you?
Golf can be fun. I often put a lot of pressure on myself to perform well, however with the help of Dean Robertson, coach at the university, and psychologists who work with us, I have learnt to love the game and enjoy it every single time I play, whether I’m doing well or not!
Practice can also be fun, creating games for myself often means I can spend more time practising without getting bored.

How many hours a week do you spend practising?
Roughly 15-20 hours depending on my schedule and university timetable. I like to do something everyday usually. I focus the majority of my attention on my short game and work on specific swing drills when required.

Do you think that there is anything that golf could do in Scotland to get more young people interested in playing the sport?
I feel clubs in general need to be more welcoming to young people and allow them the opportunity to get involved as early as possible: open days and group taster sessions are great examples of initiatives to introduce people to the game. Growing up I was discouraged a number of times and the only reason I kept playing was because of my parents and a handful of people around me.
More and more young people are getting forced out of the game because of traditions that are very much outdated and this needs to change.

Do you have any golfing heroines or heroes?
My dad. I grew up watching him play and always admired his swing hoping one day mine would be as good. I still watch him now and can ask him for help when I need it. He was so encouraging as I was growing up, taking me along to lessons and dropping me off at the golf club to practice, never once forcing me to play if I didn’t want to.
We often play a friendly game when I’m home and he still manages to beat me.
My favourite golfing memory is playing the kids’ course in North Berwick with my dad when we used to holiday there. I’d love to go back and play it now and see how much my game had changed.

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