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In 2016 Mandy Bruck won the women’s scratch championship at Woodcote Park Golf Club in Surrey for a 19th consecutive time. Overall, it was her 21st victory in the event, with her first two wins coming back in 1980 and 1981. Mandy talked to Golf Monthly about her incredible, two-part, golfing career.
Mandy began playing golf as a teenager in the 1970s, teeing it up with her brother Billy Mcadams, who played the game professionally, her mother and her father, also called Billy Mcadams; a professional footballer who played for Northern Ireland in the 1958 World Cup, as well as for Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers.
“My brother was a good golfer,” says Mandy. “And my father too. Although he was a professional footballer, he was a good golfer as well.”
And Mandy clearly had an aptitude for the game too.
“I started to enjoy playing,” she says. “I got down to three and played for Surrey girls. I think I won the Surrey Girls’ championship – It was quite a long time ago! That would have been around 1979. I won the scratch championship at Woodcote Park in 1980 and 81, but then moved away from the game when I got married and had children.”
Mandy concentrated on family life, bringing up two daughters Andrea and Natalie and it wasn’t until the late 1990s that she picked up the clubs again.
“I didn’t really miss it. It wasn’t on the radar,” she said. “But I continued to watch the sport and, when I met up with an old playing partner, and my youngest had gone off to school, I went back to golf.”
It didn’t take too long for Mandy to find her game again. She re-joined Woodcote in 1997 and put her three cards in to regain a handicap; initially it was 13.
“But I came down quite quickly after that,” she says. “And in 1998, I won the club championship. I started playing for Surrey in 1999. And on and off, I played for Surrey for eight or nine years. I won the Surrey Championship in 2003.”
After claiming the scratch title at Woodcote in 1998, Mandy never looked back and has won the event every year since, this year for a 19th time. Despite her success, Mandy admits it doesn’t get any easier and the stress of trying to retain the title builds a little each year.
“It’s 36-holes of strokeplay and it’s quite exhausting – mentally as well as physically,” she says. “I’ve won it so many years in a row now, there’s always that pressure on me to do it again.”
Generally, Mandy now enjoys the social side of golf, although she retains the will to win that all great champions possess.
“I’m probably less worried about my score than when I was a youngster,” she says. “Golf is about friendships for me and my social life is really at the club and I enjoy playing there with friends… But, don’t get me wrong, I still like to win!”
As a youngster, Mandy was influenced by stars like Seve Ballesteros and she had the chance to play with Laura Davies when she was starting out in her golfing career.
“I played junior golf with Laura and I actually played one of my first Surrey matches with her,” she says. “When I won the Surrey champs, Laura does a day when she plays with the Surrey champion and the Surrey junior champion, so that was fantastic to catch up with her. She’s been a great ambassador for golf.”
Mandy is keen to share her experience with younger players and for them to challenge her position as the woman with lowest handicap at Woodcote Park.
“I think if I had to give some advice to younger players I’d say be patient perhaps,” she says. “They want to get their handicaps down so fast, but it can take more time than that. They want to hit the ball as far as possible and that comes at the expense of course management. Let it come, don’t force it.”
And would she be happy for a younger player to win her championship?
“Yes, I’d like for someone to beat me, rather than me losing it. But I’ll continue to do my best. I have to get to 20 in a row don’t I?”
Fergus is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and it was concentrated by his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin (also of Golf Monthly)... Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?
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