OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Pro-ams are some of the coolest experiences a recreational golfer can have. Getting to tee it up on a pro-level tournament course with the best in the world? You won’t find that in your weekly skins game.
At this week’s Aramco Team Series, some lucky amateurs get to take the experience to the next level. Not only do they play alongside the top women in the world all weekend, but their score actually counts toward the team scores as well.
Playing in front of the best in the world is already nerve-wracking, but doing so with stakes on the line? That’s a whole different type of pressure.
Luckily for the amateurs in this week’s field, the ladies on their teams have experience playing with recreational golfers in weekly pro-ams, so they’re experts on how to help keep them at ease.
At Glen Oaks Club this week, I asked some players what advice they have for their amateur playing partners. Here’s what they said.
“I would honestly say ‘We’re on the same team, so don’t suck.’ [laughs] It’ll be a fun day regardless. I know they’ll be nervous, but we’re nervous too. We’re playing for something bigger than us, especially in these team events. I know they’ll be getting some shots, so we’ll be relying on them, so ‘don’t suck,’ would be my best advice.”
“Just try to have fun. Try to enjoy the moment, it’s something very different and we’re all going to be nervous, because we’re not just playing for ourselves, we’re playing for our team too so it’ll be fun if we all keep it pretty light out there.”
“When you play with amateurs in tournaments like this, they want to contribute and do well for the team, because they want us to do well. With that mindset, they want to do well so badly that sometimes it backfires and they get too tense and stressed out. I just want them to be relaxed. Sometimes they play it too safe because they think that if you play it safer there will be less mistakes. But at the end of the day, you can pull a 4-iron just as far as you can pull a driver. So just hit driver and get closer to the green so you have a chip. Just hit driver and be as aggressive as you want.”
“I try to talk with them about a lot of things that don’t pertain to golf. It’s important to get the feeling that you’re out there to have fun. That’s what this week is all about. Let’s just go out and have a good time. If we play well, we play well. If not, then it’s not a big deal. I just want to them to be in a good mood. That’ll help them play better. Don’t focus on the game too much, but instead just have some fun.”
Anne van Dam
“It’s important to be comfortable and talk with them. I try to compliment them when they hit a good shot and tell them it doesn’t matter if they hit a bad shot. Ask about their personal life and help them relax a little bit.”