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Coasting : Issue 5 Nov 2009
4 central coast • new south wales CENTRAL Coast professional golfer Nikki Garrett loves Europe; it's the living out of a suitcase for months at a time that she finds hard to take. "That's the one thing I hate about what I do," Garrett said. "This year I've had 13kg of clothes to live in for six months. You hate those clothes at the end of the six months. There's only so many combinations that you can mix and match..." Now in her fourth year on the Ladies European Tour (LET), Garrett, 25, of Shelly Beach, said Europe had quickly become a second home. "A absolutely love Europe. I love going to a new country and trying to pick up the language and the culture. This summer I want to try to learn Spanish." Now in her fourth year on the LET, the Magenta Shores touring professional has won two tournaments and had eight top10 finishes to earn more than EUR327,000. As happy as she is to walk the fairways of Spain, France and Ireland, Garrett has her sights set on making the US Tour. One bad week cost Garrett any chance of making the final stage of the US Ladies Professional Golf Association Qualifying School in 2007. But she has since regrouped and is on target to tee it up on the US Tour next year. She has again reached the final stage of qualifying, to be held in Florida in December, and with the benefit of two more years of experience on board, she's feeling good about her prospects. "It's probably every golfer's dream to play in America and to play against the best," she said. "I don't want to die wondering if I was good enough to ever play there, so I'm going to give it a crack." Two of a kind If Garrett is successful in her quest to qualify for the US Tour, one of the first people she'll phone with the news will be long-time coach Darren Chivas, the club professional at Everglades Country Club. "I was about 12 or 13 when I first started seeing Darren for lessons," Garrett said. "He was working at the driving range at Bateau Bay and I've been working with him ever since." Both are laid-back characters who enjoy a joke. And the chemistry is right. "We have a great working relationship," Garrett said. "I only speak to him a little bit during the year and when I ring he's like 'Oh, now what do you want? You must be playing bad if you're ringing me!' That's the response I get every time," she said, laughing. LOCAL TIES: Nikki Garrett at Magenta Shores Golf and Country Club. Picture by Phillip Hearne. "He'll say 'So, you're obviously hitting it bad. I don't hear from you when you're playing well!'." But Chivas knows Garrett, and her game, better than most. And Garrett wouldn't swap him for any coach. "He's been not only a coach but a really good friend and a bit of a mentor over the years. He's seen my go from a little pup to the person I am today, and I can't see myself wanting to go to another coach. "I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without him. That's for sure." Email has helped Garrett to maintain a vital long-distance link with Chivas. "I'll sometimes send Darren five or six 10- second clips of my swing on email and ask for help," she said. "I remember one time this year I was hitting it really badly, and I phoned him from the driving range before the first round of a tournament in Portugal and I described what shots I was doing and he said 'Just do this...' So I did it, and the change worked, and I went out and played really well that day." COASTING COVER STORY NIKKI GARRETT European vocation By DAVID STEWART Favourite Coast hang-outs Gloria Jeans, at Stockland Bay Village, Bateau Bay. "Even though we don't drink coffee, we're always going for iced chocolates there." Local golf courses. "My boyfriend is obsessed with golf so he's always suggesting that we go and have a game."
Issue 4 2009
Issue 6 Dec 2009