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Garrett swinging back into action

A LITTLE more than a year ago Aussie golfer Nikki Garrett decided enough was enough.

The Ping clubs she had used since she was 15 - secured after her late grandmother wrote to the company, asking it support her wonderful granddaughter - were headed for a new year's garage sale.

Garrett had dedicated herself to the game she loved for a decade - a game that would have tested the patience of Job.

But after a horror 2013 which left her hating the game, the 31-year-old from the New South Wales Central Coast, admitted she was ready to quit.

That was until she played a social round of golf at Christmas on her home track at Shelly Beach with rugby league great Terry Lamb.

"I first met Tezz (Lamb) at one of Jack Newton's tournaments," Garrett told APN as she prepared for the upcoming Australian circuit, beginning with the Ladies Masters at Royal Pines on the Gold Coast on February 12.

"We became very good friends. He is a terrific guy.

"He told me to make sure I didn't walk away before I was ready ... made me realise I needed to put 100% into one more shot at it, to get fully fit and healthy, which I did with the help of my physio Sean Fyfe, who's worked with people like Bernard Tomic.

"He said if I did that, if I gave it everything I had and still didn't like it, then I could walk away from the game."

It was great advice from a guy renowned for perseverance and seeing things out to the end during a decorated career with Wests and the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Until Broncos great Darren Lockyer came along and played 365 NRL games, Lamb held the league record of 350 - the last 262 for the Dogs before retiring in 1996.

When Garrett started her golf journey a decade ago she hit the fairways with a bang, finishing the year as the European Tour's 2006 Rookie of the Year.

Two tour victories in 2007 had the golfing world seemingly at her feet, and drawing comparisons with another young Aussie a few years earlier, Karrie Webb.

But golf is a game that can destroy even the strongest mind, and by the end of 2013 Garrett was battling her own inner demons.

Her promise to Lamb may have been a turning point, her confidence returning after shooting a five-under-par to win a pro-am at Yamba last month.

"A win is a win," she said smiling. "I'll take it anywhere I can."

Garrett, who recently got engaged to well-known rugby league media man Frank Barrett, hopes another might follow either at the Masters or Australian Open to be played at Royal Melbourne later this month.

But she won't be following a trend of hyphenating her name.

"I'm not sure Garrett-Barrett would look that good," she laughed.

Whatever name she uses, it would look pretty good on the Ladies Masters or Australian Open trophy as a reward for her refusal to quit.


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