SNOWED in at her Cockleford home near Cheltenham, Charlotte Ellis could not wait to fly out to Australia last Friday to get some decent practice in ahead of her opening tournament of the 2013 Ladies European Tour.
But when told by the Standard that her destination, the ‘Sunshine State’ of Queensland, was being hit by tropical storms, she replied: “It can’t be any worse than at home.”
Wrong. The remnants of Hurricane Oswald have swept through Queensland and the Royal Pines Resort which hosts the Volvik RACV Ladies Masters faces a major clean-up operation ahead of its starting date on Friday.
Before jetting off, Charlotte told us: “It has been impossible to get any practice in, although I did go up to Minch (Minchinhampton New Course) to hit a few balls in the snow.
Like a lot of amateur golfers right now, Charlotte’s practice regime has revolved around putting on the carpet at home. But she has used the down time wisely, meeting up with renowned golf psychologist Karl Morris.
Among his clients, Morris can count Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Paul McGinley, and David Howell.
“I went up to see Karl at the Manchester Golf Club last week,” said Ellis.
“I did not feel quite mentally focused in the last few tournaments of 2012, but I had a really helpful session with Karl and I now have a clear plan for the first two tournaments down under.”
After her Queensland outing, Charlotte moves on to Clearwater Golf Club in Christchurch (Feb 8-10) for the ISPS New Zealand Women’s Open.
Then she will try to qualify for the Australian Women’s Open.
Ellis failed to win enough prize money in her rookie season to earn her playing rights this year, but she turned on the style at the Tour’s Qualifying School in Morocco during December with a top-ten finish which earned her exemption on the tour for 2013.
Since last season, of course, the news has emerged that long-handled putters – like the one Charlotte has used successfully for seven years – will be outlawed by the R&A in 2016.
“I am going to carry on with my belly putter for now,” said Charlotte. “About seven years ago, I was really struggling with my putting and the last straw was when I took four putts from ten feet one day,” she said.
“I was getting a spasm in my right arm and I thought about putting left-handed or giving up the game altogether.
“Then I tried a second hand Ping belly putter that I found in the back of the pro shop of Littlestone Golf Club where I was playing in a tournament and I bought it for £40.
“My putting was sorted out virtually overnight.
“I have only used the same putter since, although I did upgrade to a new model.”
While, the putter in the bag remains the same, the man carrying the clubs has changed. Charlotte will be working with a new caddy this season, the experienced Texas-based Jake Cantu.
“Jake caddied for me on a one-off basis in Tenerife last year when I had my best tour finish in 29th place,” said Charlotte.
“He’s a lot of fun and he keeps me amused, which is half the battle.
“He said then that if I got my Tour card for 2013 he would like to work with me and so now we are a team.”