Why going to the US should be taken into serious consideration for aspiring golfers
When I was offered a full scholarship to a college in Texas, it didn't take much time for me to grab it with both hands. I always wanted to pursue golf in the States but I needed a full scholarship in order to make that dream a reality.
Luckily for me, one of my lecturers at Elmwood College was starting a scholarship consultancy company and he was contacted by a college in Texas. They were looking for a female golfer to join their team and, after receiving a breakdown of my achievements on and off the golf course and a swing video, they were sold and off I went.
This is, of course, a very abnormal and fast-tracked route to a scholarship and I highly suggest to anybody considering college in the States to hire a consultancy company and to take time in researching every college offer they receive and also to go out to visit their top choices.
In August 2011, I hopped on plane to meet a coach I had only Skyped with and to visit a college I had only seen in pictures. It was a huge risk but the pay-off was completely worth it.
I had the best experience at McLennan Community College, a junior college based in Waco. Junior colleges are considered a stepping stone onto a four-year college but I wasn't really there for the education. I was there to play golf.
At the time, the women's golf team were ranked second in the USA and had already won national championships. This meant we were invited to play in all Division One tournaments, making it extremely competitive. The only junior college events we played in were Regionals and Nationals.
I left McLennan with a second place finish at Nationals and a college win under my belt.
Even though I said I wasn't there for an education, I still left with all As, was part of an honours society and won a national award for my academic achievement in golf. I honestly surprised myself. Shortly after graduating, I turned professional and pursued playing on tour.
The weather was the main reason I moved to the States and, while my experience of heading there was an overwhelmingly positive one â€“ I learned a lot, met some amazing people and played in 11 different states â€“ it's not for everyone. Being away from family and friends is not easy and it can be a bit of a culture shock.
The one thing I would have done differently is I would have went out to visit the college and met my future coach in person before making the move.
Apart from that, it could not have gone any better and I highly recommend a scholarship to any young golfer with aspirations of forging a career in the paid ranks.