Caitlin Whitehead is ready to win again and help the England girls’ squad achieve their 2020 vision.
The 17-year-old is gearing up for a big year after putting golf on the backburner for a spell last season to concentrate on her school exams.
With the stress of GCSEs now over and a solid winter of practise behind her, the golfer from Kendal is keenly anticipating the new season.
Whitehead is no stranger to the winner’s circle. In 2018, she was crowned European Young Masters champion after a fine performance in Norway.
That victory earned her a place at the Asia Pacific Junior Championships in Hong Kong – which she duly won as an individual and also claimed top prize in the team event alongside Finland’s Sakke Siltala.
Now Whitehead is itching to get back onto the circuit as well as playing her part in national team triumphs.
“Last year I had my GCSEs so that cut a large proportion of the season out,” confirmed Whitehead who spent last week in Portugal training with the girls’ squad.
“I felt I was behind before the season really started.
“Obviously it would be amazing to have a career in golf, but I do believe I should take time out for education. You need a back-up plan in case things don’t quite go as well as planned.
“I did get on track with a good finish in the English girls’ last season
“This year I hope to hit the ground running in March and have a better start.
“I want to have more consistent finishes and play in women’s and girls’ events. I’d like to win a girls’ event and have top 15 finishes in women’s events.
“Splitting them is the best way to do it, I believe.”
Whitehead is a member of both Kendal Golf Club and Carus Green Golf Club having been inspired by her dad to take up the game as a child.
Fell running and football were her other passions before golf took over and now the whole Whitehead family is hooked. Caitlin’s younger brother is also mad keen and playing county golf off a handicap of five.
Whitehead has now been a mainstay of the England girls’ squad for two successive Home International campaigns.
Last week’s coaching camp at Quinta Do Lago resort on the Algarve was geared towards preparing for the season’s main team events.
Having helped England win in 2018 and 2019 she’d love the hat-trick this season when the event is staged at Royal St David’s in Wales.
“I love being part of the team and competing,” added Whitehead who was part of the winning team skippered by putting coach Mike Kanski (pictured below) during a fun session on the Algarve coast.
“The whole experience of going away with the girls to play practice rounds is much more inciteful,” said the teenager.
“I look to gather more detail than I otherwise would do on my own and I can take that onto the course.
“Overall, I feel as if I’ve developed as a player. I’ve had ups and downs and these have made me resilient. I can cope with pressure better and I know what I want to achieve.
“I definitely know how to handle myself and manipulate the golf ball to get a low score.”
Whitehead is currently exploring options with American universities and contemplating a course in either business studies or psychology.
“In 2021 I’m looking to go to university in America and I’m just starting to put together some schedules for visits just now,” she confirmed.
“I don’t have a clear idea of where I want to go, but I will be going to America.
“I think a lot of the American schools are business-minded and that’s what I’m doing for my A levels.
“But that’s for the future and right now I’m excited about what lies in store this year.”
Photograph credits: Leaderboard