Women and Girls’ Golf Week: Gloucestershire’s Caley McGinty on the pleasures of competition

Caley McGinty, 17, plays off a handicap of plus-two at Knowle Golf Club in Gloucestershire. She’s a keen competitor and a regular player at England Golf events – and has just achieved her latest aim of a top 10 finish in the English girls’ championship. She tells her golfing story

What do you love about golf?

That you get out of it what you put into it. I like how you can always improve and you can play it until any age.

Best golfing experience?

Probably at English Women’s County Finals last September when I got my first hole in one in front of the club house!! It was a great feeling.

Worst golfing experience?

Probably when I played in the Scottish girls’ championship, it was snowing and I was so cold I couldn’t even feel the club in my hands!

When and why did you start playing golf?

I started playing golf when I was 7 years old because my older brother fancied giving it a go. So I just went along with him to one of the junior club nights they had running at my home golf club.

Did you enjoy it straight away?

I got hooked pretty much straight away, I loved the challenge of it! I got my first handicap when I was eight, I think it was 54.

How quickly have you progressed?

Quite steadily since I started. I think the last 18 months has been where I have improved the most. My home golf club has supported and encouraged me since I started playing, which I am very grateful for. I’ve also had the same coach since I was seven, which has been great!

What do you remember about your first competition?

It was a junior county stableford at a golf course called Minchinhampton Old which has lots of cows on! I just remember thinking “is this what all golf courses are like?”

What do you enjoy about competition?

I like competition because you get to meet new friends who come from all over, which is always so interesting. It’s also good to see how you compare to other girls your age.

Do you have a favourite competition – and why?

My favourite competition is probably County Week because I get to spend a week away playing competitive golf with my friends. There’s always a lot of laughs and it’s so much fun.

What’s been your best win so far?

Being part of Team Gloucestershire who won county finals in 2016 was amazing. I also won the under 18 trophy at the St Rule Trophy this year which has been my biggest individual achievement.

What are your golfing goals?

One of my goals for the end of this year is to get my handicap down to +3 and to one day get a national selection. I would just like to go as far as I possibly can. I wanted a top ten at the English girls this year because last year I finished 11th. I was ninth so it was great to go one better!

Do you encourage other girls to play golf?

I sometimes take some of my friends who haven’t played before to the driving range. We always have a lot of fun.

What would you say to girls to encourage them to play?

I would just tell them to give it a go!! You have nothing to lose by trying it.

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