Last week, I was invited to try my hand at playing golf for the very first time. Monarch Airlines put together an event which was held at the N1 Golf centre, newly opened in North Greenwich, just a hop across from the O2 Arena.
As a golf newbie, I have to confess that I completely underestimated the sport. It is certainly a lot harder than it looks! Having watched some YouTube video demonstrations of the perfect golf swing, I thought I would be more than prepared with a few practice swings of my own in the bedroom.
Once we arrived at the venue, we were led upstairs to the open patio launch pad where each station looked out onto the grassy golf range. The pro golfer instructor elegantly stepped out onto the patio, and demonstrated the perfect golf swing with ample amount of patience as we looked on. Everyone thought it looked easy enough.
Next, armed with my newly gained confidence, I took my golf club and decided to have a go at this with my other two blogger friends/teammates (Roma from RoamingRequired and Jess from FlyawayAmerican). They were both new to the sport but Roma had played a few times with her brother when she was five (she turned out to be the ultra pro!).
First swing was an empty shot as I narrowly missed the tiny little golf ball. Then, the second swing unfortunately followed suit yet again. It wasn’t until the third swing that I managed to just barely touch the golf ball, and we all watched it slowly rolling out and dropping off onto the grassy patches below. Embarrassingly, it was time to put me back into golf school again and get another 1-on-1 lesson from our pro instructor.
Here are some of the tips I took away. I was too tense in my upper body and shoulders. Taking a few deep breaths and then letting the tension go will help the swing fall through naturally and smoothly. Next, I must stand in parallel to the line of projectile of the golf ball to be correctly oriented. Lastly, adopting the correct stance will help to create the perfect balance an poise through the swing.
After taking all of these tips on board, under the kind instructions of the pro golfer, I took my swing. Not only did my golf club made contact with the ball, it projected forward and much further than I imagined. I couldn’t believe it! High five across to everyone! Even Mr. New Yorker had a few successful swings himself!
With an hour of practice under our belt, it was time for the competition on who can hit the furthest for a shot at (excuse the pun) Monarch’s flight for 2 to any destination! Despite my best intentions, I made it a total of 20 yards. However, the highest from the winner was a whopping 144!
After all of that golf, I was looking forward to the food and wine tasting during the second half of the evening. We were seated at the Vinothec Compass, which is a casual wine bar serving over 600 wines with an attached fine dining menu featuring a Mediterranean affair. The interior of restaurant adopted a cool and industrial feel with exposed concrete ceilings and wooden communal tables. Floor to ceiling windows allowed all of us to take in views of the golf range and Canary Wharf night skyline in the distance.
As the plates of food arrived, I had a chance to get to know fellow blogger friends at the table, including vblogger Emma Inks, Digital Marketer and travel blogger Hannah, and Laura Thurgood from Monarch. Each plate of food was presented with an artistic flair, quite a pleasant surprise for a casual wine bar in an off-the-beaten track location!
My standout dish was the herb crusted lamb and onglet steak served at just the right level of medium rare! The chocolate brownies were served with our last tasting wine of the day, which washed down perfectly with the dessert wine. I wished that I wrote down the names of the beers and wines provided during the tasting, all of which were hard to remember as the restaurant favoured small producers and unusual wine labels from all over the world. It was a fantastic selection, as clearly demonstrated by their very well stocked wine rack.
I want to thank Monarch Airlines for inviting us to an innovative and fun evening. It is certainly another skill I can now cross off my bucket list and I look forward to returning to N1 Golf again to practice my newly learned golf swing!