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Lockdown With Gabrielle Macdonald

What a strange 6 months! The COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK just as I arrived home from South Africa in March, halting my season in Europe before it even got started. The 11 weeks of strict lockdown was the longest I’ve gone without playing golf, and as I live in a one bedroom flat in Edinburgh, it was certainly a challenge to avoid boredom! I managed to stay as active as possible, going on long walks exploring every route surrounding my flat, doing workouts inside, as well as joining Strava and running more than I have ever before. It kept me busy, and like most other people I also made a fair few banana breads and kept in touch with family and friends over zoom calls and weekly quiz nights! 

From the start of June when golf courses opened again, I played nearly every day, making up for lost time and getting prepared for whenever my season might start again. Most weeks events were cancelled or postponed and I did wonder if we would start competing at all this year. I was therefore very welcome to hear that there was a new Tartan Tour starting up in Scotland, a mixed tour playing alongside the men for equal prize money. The first event was at Carnoustie, an Open Championship venue and I finished 33rd and 3rd placed out of the women. Since then I’ve played two other events on the Tartan Tour, and although it’s been difficult to beat the men, I’ve loved competing in Scotland and very grateful for the opportunities set up by Paul Lawrie. 

As restrictions were eased at home, and Pure Spa reopened, I was sooo happy to come in for a full body massage and pamper session! It was amazing and my body felt so relaxed afterwards! As I’m golfing and training most days, it really helps my body to recover and to feel mentally refreshed. 

In the last couple of weeks the Ladies European Tour Access Series has started which has been fantastic. My first event was in Switzerland and despite a poor first round, I played well in round 2 to make the cut, and I finished 34th after 54 holes. It was very strange to be back, with lots of new protocols in place due to COVID-19. We have to receive a negative test before travelling and then we are in a strict tournament bubble, only being allowed to go to the golf course and the official hotel.  There is very little socialising with other players and no contact like handshakes or hugs are allowed. We have daily health checks and so far no one has tested positive for Covid-19 (touch wood this continues). 

Despite the new normal, I’ve loved being back playing and getting the buzz from competing. We are really lucky to be able to return to work, and it’s due to the hard work of the tour and the sponsors making it possible for us to earn a living again. 

This week I’ve been in Prague in the Czech Republic, and I recorded my best ever finish on the LETAS, coming 3rd with a total of 6 under par. I played great all week and really enjoyed being in contention on the final day. Hopefully more of this to come as I’m now back in Switzerland for the next event. I’ve being feeling pretty tired after a busy few weeks and lots of 6am flights so I’m now trying to recover over the weekend whilst quarantining in the hotel. I’ll definitely be in need of a massage at Pure Spa Newhaven once I’m home post-quarantine! 

This season is very short with only another two events left in October. Hopefully they both go ahead as things are changing every week. For now I’m just happy to be back doing what I love and hopefully there’s plenty more birdies out there for me this week! 

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