Saturday, July 06, 2013

RACHAEL McQUEEN - Ayrshire girl starts PGA training in Tennessee

Rachael McQueen, former Ayrshire women's county champion and a Scotland girl international in 2008, has turned professional in America where she has been a student at McLennan Community College, Waco in Texas for the past two years.
(Writes The Calcarson Golf Agency)

Her best season on the US college golf circuit was 2011 when she had one tournament victory and six top-10 finishes.
Rachael, 23, was born in Irvine and is a former pupil of Marr College. 

She has begun her US PGA training at The Golf House, Tennessee which is a practice facility attached to the Vanderbilt Legends Golf Club.

Rachael takes up the story:
"I am now living in Franklin,Tennessee just south of Nashville. I've only been here for a few weeks and I love it. Everybody has been so welcoming. The Golf House Tennessee has a public driving range, short game area, putting green and a nine-hole par-3 course. It is the Head Office for the PGA Tennessee, Tennessee GolF Association and the Tennessee Golf Foundation, so it is a very busy place.

"In my last year at McLennan, which is a junior college, I had lots of offers to transfer to other colleges but I decided that I didn’t want to play any more college golf. At McLennan I was extremely lucky, we travelled all over playing Division 1 tournaments and went to the NJCAA National tournament every year.

"Deciding that I wanted to apply for a OPT work visa was not easy. As part of my Visa I had to graduate which meant in my last semester I had to take 24 hours which is double the hours an average student takes. As a student at McLennan you are not supposed to take more than 18 hours but I was allowed because of my circumstances.

"Playing college golf and taking that many hours' studies was not easy, but I was able to graduate with a 4.0 and finished joint second at the NJCAA National tournament.

Did you always want to become a pro and felt that being trained as an assistant pro would be better than taking your chance on the pro tour

"I knew that I wanted to work in golf in some way. Right now, starting my PGA training is the right step for me. I really enjoy coaching and I can't wait to give private lessons. I know that some people think, that as soon as you decide to do your PGA training you're suddenly giving up on the Tour Pro dream but that is not the case.

"I am making sure that I am practising harder than I ever have before, even with a full time job. Later this month I will be playing in my first tournament as a professional - The Tennessee Women’s Open. It is open to both amateurs and professionals and I'm excited at the prospect.

Do you think there are more opportunities in America than back home in Scotland?

"I think there are more opportunities in America if you now how to look for them. You can’t sit back and think they will come to you. I made sure I was networking all the time and trying to meet new people as you never know who you will meet and who they know.
"Scotland does have its perks, being the home of golf and the facilities we have are great but we definitely don’t have the weather. In Texas I was able to practise all year round and it helped my golf tremendously.
"Coming to college in the States was the best thing I have ever done and I highly recommend it."

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