Eliza Bartlett at a Swing Fit session at the Women’s Australian Open in Feb 17
If ever there was a case of someone catching the golf bug, it’s Eliza Bartlett.
Bartlett is 25. She’s a cricketer, registered mental health nurse, wine lover, type-one diabetes/JDRF ambassador, extreme charity walker and traveller. Oh, and she’s now a golf addict!
Bartlett grew up in country South Australia and, like most kids, tried her hand at just about every sport. Except golf.
“I remember hanging out at the local golf club as a kid; both Mum and Dad were members and we used to head down to the club as a family,” she said.
“I never really picked it up. I wish I took it up earlier, it was something I’ve always wanted to do my whole life but never really took that step. “But the family was definitely a bit of an influence, because none of my friends had ever played.”
Bartlett is from a sporting family with her father a 343-game club legend of the Adelaide University Football Club and brother Tom having also played for the Blacks and Sturt in the SANFL.
“Dad plays a fair bit of golf, especially since retirement and my brother plays, too. I’ve always wanted to play, but never sort of took the step, until January last year, when I decided to go buy golf clubs and that was kind of the start of it.
“I basically woke up one morning and said, `I’m going to go buy some clubs’, then spent about $2000 on golf gear, so kind of had to play.
“Two months later I was going overseas for four months to play cricket, so planned to take my golf gear with me.”
Kitted out with a set of Cleveland Bloom Max ladies’ clubs and stylish clothing, Bartlett had two months to fine-tune her game, or to be more accurate, learn it.
“I’d never played golf at all before I bought clubs, never hit a ball in all my life. But I’m very competitive and once I decide I want to do something, I want to do it to my best.”
When you’re new to golf, the first thing to do is get some lessons and hit some balls, so to fast-track her progress, Bartlett visited Daniel Blackwell, teaching professional at Royal Adelaide where her father is a member.
“I had a few lessons with Daniel at Royal Adelaide before I went to the UK and l went to the driving range a fair bit,” she said.
“I was over in the UK to play cricket, but I managed to sort of play golf during the week and even went up to Scotland and was able to play Prestwick and Western Gailes and watch The Open Championship at Royal Troon.”
Bartlett was hooked.
Back in Adelaide late last year, Bartlett continued to hit the range to improve her game and then, in February, came out to a Swing Fit “come-and-try” session during the Women’s Australian Open at Royal Adelaide.
“I thought it was lots of fun and I think it’s even a good reminder for me, who has had those few lessons and gone through the basics, it’s a good reminder of exactly what you need to do. I found it lots of fun.”
Swing Fit teaches the basics of the golf swing and how to putt over a six-week program, while also getting your whole body moving through golf-specific conditioning and movement exercises.
“The ability to wear activewear is a good incentive to come out. Girls, especially younger girls, like to wear it whether they’re active or not”.
Bartlett was impressed with the professional golfers on show in Adelaide.
“I watched a bit in 2016 (at The Grange) and they are absolutely amazing golfers, so it was really good to watch and try and pick up a few tips.”
Now a veteran of 18 months, Bartlett has continued to work at her game throughout winter with the aim of trying to cut her scores.
It’s no surprise that Bartlett has the motivation to keep improving considering she once completed a grueling 800km three-week walk from Adelaide to Melbourne and, in doing so, raised $25,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
In February, Bartlett said: “I’d like to join up at a club and sort of start playing a few competitions in the future.”
Two months ago, Bartlett and her brother Tom joined Royal Adelaide as under-36 members and, in their first competitive mixed tournament as a sibling duo, took home the club’s Brock Trophy.
With Golf Month in October just around the corner, expect to see Bartlett hit the fairways even more and share the golf bug with her family and friends. And Bartlett’s mother, Jane, has also since joined RAGC to make it a family affair.
Royal Adelaide, too, has embraced Golf Month by structuring the afternoon of Sunday, 22 October to allow members to bring a friend, family member or work colleague (up to three guests per member) to enjoy the club and introduce or reintroduce them to golf over nine, 13 or 18 holes.
“I’ve taken a lot of my good friends to a par-3 course a couple of times. They probably don’t enjoy playing with me because I’m a bit too competitive, but I’m trying to get them into it, because walking around the golf course is a fun way to spend a few hours with the girls, it’s a nice way to catch up.” Bartlett said.
What’s the bet Eliza’s friends, female and male, will hope she shares the golf bug with them at Royal Adelaide on 22 October.
October is Golf Month. Share the golf bug with your family and friends and you can win the ultimate golf bug adventure to Barnbougle, Cape Wickham and Ocean Dunes courtesy of Air Adventure Golf Tours. Head to www.golfmonth.com.au for more details.
Eliza with brother Tom at Royal Adelaide GC