Rookie diary: Memorable experience overseas

March 22, 2010

For this week’s blog, all I can say is “WOW!” This trip was really an interesting experience. Honestly, even though golf is obviously a very hard game, it was really the easiest part of the trip. I shot 73-72-71 to finish tied for 23rd (at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Mohammedia, Morocco). Not a bad start in my Ladies European Tour debut.

My trip started fine. We flew from JFK to Casablanca, and there was transportation for us to the player hotel. It took a little more than an hour, and on the way there, we saw many interesting sights. The thing that amazed me was the fact that there was all kinds of livestock roaming freely. There were cows, sheep, and all kinds of other animals everywhere, and they were right next to the road!

The player hotel was a really nice resort and spa, but it was fairly secluded so we couldn’t really go exploring or eat outside of the hotel. One day, however, my dad and I walked a few blocks to get some bottled water and snacks, and I turned around and there was a flock of sheep walking down the road with cars passing by. I had never seen anything like it!

Blackwelder’s Rookie Diary

Ever wonder what life is like for a LPGA rookie? Well, Mallory Blackwelder is here to tell you. Blackwelder, 22, will file a weekly diary on Golfweek.com to give you an insider’s view of life on the LPGA, LET and Duramed Futures Tour. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/MalBlackwelder.

I was pleasantly surprised that the “plague of attacking mosquitoes” was an exaggeration and they were not that bad. I have a few bites, but it was nothing like what I expected!

This week, I really got my first taste of how difficult it is going to be traveling to different countries to play professional golf.

The language barrier is so hard to overcome when dealing with travel. This morning, we were supposed to have a 7:30 am shuttle to the airport, and everything was great except when we brought our luggage down, the bellman put my golf clubs on the 7:00 am shuttle and we did not realize it until after they had already left. Thank goodness my dad did realize it so the hotel could call the driver and have them come back. I have a feeling if we hadn’t caught the mistake I would have never seen my golf clubs again!

When we got to the airport, we had to go through MULTIPLE different security checkpoints. I don’t know how many exactly but it was at least six different ones. We finally got to the check-in counter and then had even more trouble. Golf bags are only allowed to weigh 16 kilos on Royal Air Maroc airline, and mine weighed 28 to start out. We dumped shoes, balls and everything extra out of the cover but it still weighed 22 kilos. Luckily, the people in front of us had played in the men’s European Tour event over there and were dealing with the same thing, so somehow we got through it without having to pay fines!

After going through all of this, I have decided it is not wise to bring a tour-size bag when I am playing on the LET. The baggage allowance just isn’t enough for it, so I will probably just use a stand bag for the rest of the season over here!

I am finally now at an airport hotel in New York after missing my connecting flight to Detroit. The Casablanca flight was an hour and a half late, so we missed our flight and are now flying through Atlanta tomorrow morning. It has been an 18-hour travel day and I have to be back at the airport in the morning at 4 a.m. Needless to say, it’s been a bad day!

I am looking forward to getting to the resort and playing in the Futures Tour’s Riviera Nayarit Challenge. I checked it out online last night and it looks great! My one hope is that they will have American sports channels so that we can watch the NCAA tournament. Otherwise, I’ll be watching on my computer like I did last night.

That’s all for now ... going to bed! GO CATS! :)

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