16-year-old golfer Immy Williamson is a rising star on the international golf scene. She became the Cheshire U18 County Champion at just 12 years old and, since then, her success has continued to soar. Immy has been part of the England Golf Development pathway as a member of the England U18 NW Regional Squad. She has been selected to play for the England U16 Girls on four occasions and the U18’s for the Home Internationals in 2022. Here, Immy talks to us about how she’s using Red2Blue to help her perform under pressure, both on and off the course.
Immy’s interest in golf began when she was just five years old. Her dad used to take her along with him to his local golf course where she used to like playing in the bunkers. By the age of seven, she was playing in mini junior competitions. Even then, Immy admits she was very competitive and wanted to get better and better. Those early days sparked an ambitious dream – to become professional and play on the LPGA tour.
Leveraging mindset to control emotions
She began coaching lessons when she was seven and the pressure grew. Immy struggled with controlling her emotions on the golf course after a bad shot or a bad hole. “I’d always let it carry on and it would affect the rest of my round because I’m such a perfectionist,” she says. One of her Strength and Conditioning coaches, who had connections to Gazing through rugby, recommended Red2Blue, which Immy says has helped her ever since.
She continues to have tough moments that test her mindset, but Immy now uses Red2Blue constantly – preparing for tournaments and both on and off the course. When she was struggling with her putting at an event earlier this year, Immy found that Red2Blue helped her put everything into perspective: “After I’ve hit that putt, I can’t control if it goes in the hole or not. The goal is not to let the result of that putt affect me mentally over any other putts.”
Cultivating a match-play mindset
She also uses Red2Blue to deal with pressure, especially match-play mindset, which is obviously very different to stroke play. “When I come down to the last few holes if it’s a tight match, I tend to get very nervous.” Her Red2Blue training helps her to embrace that nervousness and use it to her advantage. “We’ve been doing a lot of ‘What Ifs’ before match-play, writing down everything that could make your match go wrong. And then writing down the ways to control that with Red2Blue.”
As a teenager, Immy has to balance her studies with her training. When she has a tournament coming up, she’s become adept at planning and getting work done in advance, to avoid adding unnecessary stress. This means sometimes skipping activities with friends, but instead of seeing it as missing out, she views it positively: “This is what I want to do. And this is what I need to do if I want to achieve my goals.”
She sometimes plays golf socially with her friends to relax but admits it’s difficult to tone down her competitive streak. “I once broke my wrist playing mini golf because I was playing it so competitively – stepping back to line up a putt I fell backwards over a wall and spent eight hours in A&E,’ she says!
Nonetheless, Immy knows it’s important to enjoy what she’s doing and finds ways to keep the golf training fun. “If it starts to feel like a task that you have to do, you won’t be as willing to work at it; it will just become more of a job and that’s not fun.” The other advice that she lives by is “Do something every day, even if it’s really small, that puts you one step closer to achieving your dream or your goal.”
Embracing the uncomfortable
So, what does the year ahead hold for Immy? Her biggest challenge, she says, is managing pressure as she moves into bigger events. Now she’s on the brink of selections, she has the added stress of selectors watching, but uses her Red2Blue training to embrace that, rather than pretending they’re not there. “Obviously they are there, and if you say they’re not there, it’s like saying don’t think of a pink elephant. It’s about embracing it and saying, they’re here because you got to this stage.”
Another challenge Immy’s addressing is being able to leave behind any of the bad things that happened last season. “This is a new year and whatever I did poorly last year has no effect on what I do this year.”
Having represented England at Under 16 level over the past few seasons and at the Home Internationals at Under 18 level in 2022, Immy’s delighted to have already achieved many of her goals. This season is all about playing consistently well in events and trying to put herself in a position to get selected for more higher-level events and squads, but also to support her in achieving her goal of a golfing scholarship in the US.
When it comes to her heroes, Immy cites golfer Lydia Ko as inspirational: “I think her dedication and her work ethic is a big one for me,” she says. It’s clear to see that those are two qualities that Immy already possesses herself. We can’t wait to see how the year ahead pans out for her!