Meghan MacLaren, the reigning British Women’s Stroke-Play champion, does not pretend that the three great years she has done thus far at the Florida International University have been entirely pain-free.
“The hardest time,” she says, feelingly, “is November-December. “ Because the NCAA regulations do not allow for regular college practices, you tend to notice what everyone in the outside golfing world is doing. Some of the girls will be winning their players’ cards and that, of course, sets you thinking that you could be on the point of making a living from your golf.
“I tend not to study the qualifying school scores until the end of these events,” she continued. “Then, I force myself to look further ahead and say, ‘OK, these girls may be about to make money now but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be any better placed than I am in 10 years’ time.’”
In spite of the odd moment of doubt, Meghan, who was given the signal honour of captaining the university team in 2014, says that she has never given serious consideration to coming home ahead of schedule.
“To do that,” she notes, “would be to make the years I’ve already done out there pretty pointless. Yes, I’m taking aim on playing as a professional but I’m also keen to get my English degree. I don’t know whether I’ll ever use it but I do know that the process of doing it is good for me. As much as anything, it’s taught me to be disciplined because you simply can’t be anything else when you’re trying to juggle golf and studies.
Meghan’s golf has definitely benefited from the American university regime. The results she is getting both in the States and back home prove as much, as indeed do the results of those of her old friends who have chosen the same route as she has.
In which connection, she cites the three biggest UK stroke-play tournaments of 2014 and points to how all three were won by members of the above group. Bronte Law won the English Women's Amateur at St Enodoc, Hayley Davis won the English Open Stroke Play at Tandridge and Meghan won the British Stroke Play at Ashburnham.
This is an extract of an interview with Meghan MacLaren by Lewine Mair, published in the March/April issue of Women & Golf. To subscribe visit: https://www.subscribeme.to/women-golf-magazine