Life of a pro golfer; What I would have told my younger self part 2
Posted on 09 December 2015
Alright, we are going to pickup where we finished off last week with me and my sad, depleted confidence self. I went ahead after finishing up school in Arkansas and turned professional, I started playing on the Women's Canadian Tour that May with my first event in Vancouver. I had a dreadful week shooting both rounds in the 80's and will never forget one shot I hit, shanking it out of the trees while trying to simply chip the ball back onto the fairway, stuff nightmares are made of! I plugged along however hoping my game would come back and luckily from shear will power alone I was able to muster out my best finish ever as a pro at the next Canadian Tour event in Toronto a T-2nd and a $7000 cheque, man was I pumped. The final event on the Canadian Tour was held in Quebec and I needed a top 20 finish to gain enough points to get into the top 10 for year-end points and receive exemptions into the LPGA qualifying school, I missed out of the top 10 by 1 point. Instead of trying for the LPGA tour I decided to head over to Europe and try out for the Ladies European Tour, I packed my bags, rented a hotel room and sent off. The caddy that was going to join me on the journey for the month long qualifying tournament in Spain went snowboarding a week before we were to leave and broke his arm in about a million different places, leaving me to find a caddy last minute, so I truly did head over on a solo mission and hired a caddy that I had met once before and who had only seen my play about 14 holes of golf. He ended up being a massive saviour and even though I didn't make it through the first stage, I hung around and watched the final stage and learned a ton about my game and slowly started to regain my confidence. The next season I headed out and played on the LET Access series in Europe, again solo. I started to make a few friends on the tour and had a good showing at the Dinard French Open of 9th place, I went back to the European qualifying school that year with the same caddy as the previous season and really felt like my game was in shape to make the tour. I had at some point along the way however grown bit of a chip on my shoulder and was becoming a bit impatient with my game, probably after all the grinding over the past 2 seasons. During the 3rd round of qualifying school that year I was even par going into the 11th hole (10 pars in a row), I got to the 11th hole and in the middle of my backswing my caddy called me off the ball and told me I didn't have enough club, I instead stayed with the club and swung hard at the ball pulling it left and just above pin high on the green, I had a tricky slider and 3 putted leaving with my first bogey on the day. I was extremely pissed at my caddy after that and didn't make a single putt coming in, I ended up shooting 74 that day but could have been 64. I let that one incident really get to me and my relationship with my caddy suffered as did my mindset on the course. After 10 rounds I missed full status on the European Tour that year by 1 stroke. I had completed LPGA Futures Tour school that year given myself full status on the Futures tour so alas I head back to North America and did a season on the Futures Tour. I really did not enjoy my time in the U.S.A, it was a lonely, tough experience with long drives between events and placement of events in small towns that were hard to enjoy compared to my experience travelling through France and Great Britain. I went back to Q-School in Europe a third time, this time taking my brother along to caddy, I played well but my putter let me down and I did not make it to final stage. I did have a great experience there with my bro though and had made quite a few friends in Europe but fully knowing in the back of my mind at this point that I was probably coming to the end of my run....
Nicole Mendelman - Former touring pro