A Day With: Golfer Caroline Martens

Matt Jones - Editor 11:33 21/07/2016
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Abu Dhabi-bound: Caroline Martens.

Although Caroline Martens adores being a professional golfer, her career hasn’t always left others feeling green with envy.

The Ladies European Tour pro has had some darks days, dislocating both shoulders three years ago while she was left struggling to walk after being diagnosed with an illness she refused to reveal the full extent of.

She bounced back strongly to win the LET Qualifying School and is nally getting back into the swing of things.

Martens was in Abu Dhabi earlier this year to promote the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open, a new edition to the LET which comes to Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in November, and spoke to Sport360.

Why is coming to Abu Dhabi so significant for your tour?

We’ve been waiting a long time to come to Abu Dhabi and now to have that opportunity is really exciting for the tour. We’re a global tour and being able to expand it to new regions and countries is good for our brand. Also, being able to inspire youngsters and get more kids involved is important for us and the future of the sport and the future of children here in the UAE.

I think it’s important we get to show people what we do and why we love this sport. The opportunities out here now, to be able to play this event in Abu Dhabi, is incredible, and I’m really looking forward to showcasing what the tour is about.

Have you ever played at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club before?

I have on a few occasions and I love coming to play here. I was here earlier in the year for the Gary Player Invitational which was amazing. I’ve also been here with the Norwegian national team for training camps.

Abu Dhabi is a fantastic place to come and practice in the winter time and off months. The facilities they have to offer and the climate makes this region incredible for sports. It’s one of the most beautiful courses I’ve played.

Having played the course before, will that give you an advantage in November?

Yes and no. You see people coming out and winning an event without having played a course or a practice round. Sometimes it’s a benefit having home course advantage if you know it very well. Sometimes it’s beneficial not knowing anything because you have no expectations. I’ve played it three times which makes me familiar with the outline and I’m very comfortable with every hole, but come

November, it depends what shape my game is in. If I’m playing as good as I hope I will be in November and with the knowledge I have on the course, hopefully the outcome will be very good.

Golf is back at the Olympic Games. Is it a priority for LET professionals?

The Olympics is fantastic and the fact we’ll see golf back there after 112 years is incredible and does give us a sense of pride. It’s very important for a lot of girls on the European Tour, every athlete dreams of competing in the Olympics, and I know a lot of girls are working really hard to qualify. It’s difficult as it’s only two players per country. It’s huge for the tour too.

How focused have you been on the Olympics?

It’s difficult to just focus on it. The Olympics is the pinnacle for every athlete, to compete and especially taking medals, but golf hasn’t been in the Olympics for 112 years so it’s different for us.

It’s one event so not making it onto the team is not the end of my career, I will continue to focus and work hard and focus on the rest of the year to achieve my goals. To make the team would have been a fantastic bonus and I would have loved every second of it but it’s one tournament and in terms of my long term plan, I want to be captain at the next Olympics.

Is being captain in 2020 a more realistic aim?

Yeah. Suzann Pettersen is No. 1 in Norway so is the No. 1 person on the team. I want to be in her position at the next Olympics. I want to be the No. 1 player in Norway, which everyone aspires to. I want people to say “Caroline’s on the team, we have a chance of winning a medal”. That would be a dream come true.

You’ve had some really unfortunate injury and illness issues in the past. Do you draw on them for inspiration?

Having to have gone through what I have, with the illnesses and injuries, you become strong, mentally more so than anything. I am very resilient and I bounce back quickly.

I have a hard time giving up so I think that’s obviously a benefit. I refuse to sit down and not be successful, so it’s a benefit, definitely.

Some people say ‘you dislocated your shoulder, you’ve been sick, doesn’t that put you in a lesser position?’. But you can’t change things. I’ve been unfortunate to have those things happen to me, but I’ve used the things that have come out of it to my benefit and I choose to look at it as a positive.

It would be very difficult to do what I’m doing if I was to think negatively about the things that happen around me.

Your mother Ingrid is a former Miss World and has often been your caddie. How important a part does she play in your career?

She doesn’t caddy for me much anymore. She would but she’s got a full-time job. She comes with me when she can and we speak every day, if not two times a day. She is my closest and best inspiration even though she’s not out there with me. She’s my rock.

Who were your sporting idols as a kid?

My dad was a soccer player, my mum was a windsurfer, I snowboarded, so there was always something to do with sport. I was inspired by athletes who were hard-working and successful.

Anyone from David Beckham to Tiger Woods to Ernie Els. Golfers and non-golfers were inspiring because I did nearly every sport. When it comes to golf I’ve always had great respect for Tiger Woods in terms of his hard work.

Annika Sorenstam as well, what an inspiration to women and the golfing world.

What is your career highlight?

Winning the Ladies European Tour Q School in 2013, that was huge. Winning is huge but it was after my disastrous year.

I was very sick, dislocated my shoulders. My life disintegrated but I came back and I worked so hard, so to come back and win, it’s hard to top that because of the story.

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