EARLIER this month Manchester Golf Club’s Rachel Connor embarked on the adventure of a lifetime.
She turned professional, flew to Florida and joined the IMG Golf Academy.
And her decision to do so was further reinforced when the English Women’s Golf Association’s Order of Merit was posted last week.
Rachel took top spot with 643 points, 27 points clear of her nearest rival Charlotte Wild, in a field of 364.
Her aim, now, is to qualify for next year’s Duramed Futures Tour, via the qualifying school which starts in November.
And, to keep us informed of her progress, Rachel has agreed to keep write a ‘blog’ to be published in the Guardian, the first of which follows ...
Hi everyone back at home from a very sunny Bradenton, Florida.
I’m now into my third day at the IMG Academy and all I can say is It’s Awesome! There are upwards of 800 pupils at the Academy and the facilities and structure are unbelievable.
I’m working with seven players who are classed as post-graduates.
Two of the guys are from Hale and another is from Alderley Edge so no problems with the accent! There is just one girl on the same programme as me and she is from Morocco. The other guys are professionals.
Every day we have an itinerary to work to which includes sports psychology, gym, lessons and of course playing golf.
They are full days starting at 7am and finishing at 5pm but I love it!
Over the next few weeks my plan is to play some of the courses that act as pre-qualifying courses for the Duramed Futures Tour.
Played just 13 holes this morning and then practised.
In the afternoon we did ‘Game On’ which is psychology but fun!
It’s amazing! The guy who worked with us is an actor – he was in American Pie – and I had to explore a side of me that I don’t normally show, so I was Mrs Serious for the day. It was fun – I love it here.
One of the coaches that I don’t know well came over and asked me to hit some balls for him. Then he called another coach over and said ‘check this out’ – all the coaches have been so complimentary about my swing – it feels good.
I’ve had a great week here at the IMG Academy.
My group has been joined by Julietta Granada who I played with in the British Open Qualifier this year. Julietta was the first woman to win a million dollars in one event on the LPGA so I’m keeping good company!
We’ve been working really hard on fitness with coach Trevor Anderson using a medicine ball.
I’ve been playing at Sara Bay Country Club for my course practise – this is a stunning golf course where Tommy Armour was once professional. His playing partner during this time was none other than the legendary Bobby Jones – it is such a privilege to be playing on such courses.
It has been a tough week at the Academy.
Getting up at 5.30am and finishing at 7pm can be hard on anyone but in 90 degree heat, just that little bit harder.
But I feel as though I’m adjusting well to the heat, which is important when you consider that Q School isn’t that far off now!
There have been a few changes in my group of post-graduates with players coming and going as they work around their playing schedules, but there is a real camaraderie there now.
We’re all working towards similar goals and supporting each other to improve.
# Rachel would be interested to hear from any individuals or local businesses who might be interested in sponsoring her. Details and a sponsorship pack can be obtained from Brian Connor at Manchester Golf, telephone 0161 643 2638.