An interesting Journey – Gillian Hammond moves from “learner to champion”
Note from Jeff – Gillian Hammond has been playing golf for a few short year’s and has come from “Improving Golfer” to “Champion Improving Golfer” because, while she is learning everyday, her skills and determination saw her through to the African finals of the Windhoek Lager competition in Namibia. The following is her story and it’s a nice one!
This fantastic journey started when Helen said to me “You are my partner so go pay your competition fee “ when I asked what it was all about she said “ don’t worry we are going to Spain”! I later found out that we had enrolled in the Windhoek Larger African Jacket Competition and had qualified for the Regional event in George. It was a fantastic day and one of those days where not too much went wrong for me. The first lesson learned, spend the entrance fee, you never know what you missed as if you’re not in it you can’t win it!
The outcome was that last week became one of the most surprising and rewarding times of my life when against all odds I formed part of the team representing South Africa in the Windhoek Larger African Jacket Challenge in Namibia. I always feel that I am a lucky player rather than a good one as its so enjoyable meeting the girls and sometimes the fella’s that I must admit I lose concentration!! I see many who are driven to win but to me it’s about having Fun and beating yourself and the rest will take care of itself.
At the Regional finals in George Helen and I were pleased with our rounds and just missed out in winning the pairs event but it was a greater surprise when it was announced that I had won the regional singles and qualified for the SA finals at the Serengeti Golf Estate in Johannesburg.
Although I found Serengeti very different, it makes me appreciate the quality of the Links and I found I was trying too hard and not playing well in the 1st 9 Holes. After texting Jeff and my husband John their responses were unanimous – simply relax and enjoy the experience – surprise surprise I played a stunning back nine – well enough to win the SA ladies event and I was on my way to Windhoek for the International Finals !!
I was beyond chuffed with myself! Panic, fear, excitement, euphoria all in equal measure was the order of the day as John rushed around changing flights for a planned trip to Scotland, to visit daughter Kimberlee and finalise last minute wedding preparations for her wedding in November.
I needed to come back a few days early in order to attend the Windhoek tournament. My thoughts were that I should not bother as I had no chance of beating the other 10 winners from other African countries; John was adamant that I had to go at least for the experience if not for the game. Getting my golf kit to Windhoek was another story but all turned out well.
From Landing at OR Tambo from Aberdeen Scotland and flying off to Windhoek was so very exciting and an experience I could never have again.
Windhoek Larger the tournament sponsors pulled out all the stops and provided all transport and 5 star accommodation, our Tournament Shirts, Jackets etc. We were thoroughly spoilt. We were also privileged to visit the Windhoek Larger Brewery where I had my first ever Windhoek Draught!
The Namibian course proved a challenge and the learning curve was quick and fast with one or two holes never to be repeated and after the first day I was very happy to see I was lying 3rd, and an even greater surprise and happiness when on the 2nd day Johan Stoltz our SA Team Leader called me after coming off the 18th with his arms open ready for a hug and I was certain I was again in the top 3 !! What a great surprise when he told me I had won !! To win this event has been more than I could have dreamed of. Thanks to Helen and Jeff – my mentors I have had an incredible time.