We all know the pressure of the first tee shot in a big competition, the grip is a bit tighter, the outcome unsure, the head filled with unhelpful thoughts.
Next major competition Sunday try closing your eyes at that point and executing your swing with no visual assistance!
That’s the proposition for a blind golfer every time they step on the tee, indeed every time they address the ball. Drives, irons, chips, pitches and putts.
If I was to play a round of golf with my eyes closed I’d be pleased to break 150, so I was intrigued about the match that awaited as I headed down to Ham Manor Golf Club on the Sussex coast.
We’ve been working with Andy Gilford for a few months, supporting him with CBD products to help ease the nerves and anxiety that’s inevitable when you’re playing golf without one of your key senses.
Andy is top 5 in the world in his category, represents England and is the secretary of the Blind Golfers Association.
We worked out the shots and stepped onto the tee, after I’d hit a solid 3-wood into the left rough Andy stepped up with Mel, his wife of 20 years and Guide on the golf course.
Andy takes his stance, Mel squares the club behind the ball and gives the green light. The first drive I watched Andy hit was a ripped driver with a touch of draw that finished middle of the fairway 40 yards past mine. Impressed didn’t quite cover it.
The iron play operates the same way, Andy tells me it’s pretty straightforward if his ball is in the fairway as he can guarantee the strike (I wish I could 😊) It’s much more tricky when he’s in the rough as he can’t gauge the likely contact.
Sighted players can tell if a ball is sitting down in the rough and needs digging out or if the grass is lying with the ball and it might fly, Andy doesn’t have this data but controls his shots remarkably well without it.
I expected the short game to be the hardest facet of the game when you need to visualize the shot and use your eyes to judge distance but that wasn’t the case.
Andy demonstrated excellent skills around the green hitting pitches and chips. He tells me he thinks of the club sliding under the ball and maintaining his rhythm.
On the greens Andy paces out the putt before Mel lines up the putter. The distance putting is impressive, and Andy tells me he was using aimpoint techniques to read slope and break with his feet, long before it became popular on tour.
So with all the skills there to play great golf I was intrigued about the impact Golfers CBD has had. Andy tells me the biggest improvement has been pre-round nerves, particularly at big events.
4-5 drops of 3000mg oil or 2 applications of spray and he feels completely relaxed, at ease to execute his swing. Mel adds that he also reacts better to setbacks and poor shots, no shafts have been snapped since Golfers CBD went in the bag!
Most pleasing for us is the impact on Andy’s mental wellbeing. He used to feel anxiety that he’d be holding up players behind while being lined up and self-conscious away from the course in social situations like restaurants.
The anxiety caused by his disability has diminished using CBD and life is less challenging.
We are always delighted to hear about improvements our products make to players golf scores on the course but CBD also offers so many positive improvements to life away from golf.
We look forward to working closely with Andy & Mel this year and helping Andy achieve his targets . With the skills he demonstrates and Golfers CBD in the bag I think we have a partnership that can achieve World Number 1 in his category.
If you are interested in learning more about the Blind Golfers Association, you can contact Andy Gilford at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter via @AndyGilford