Sophie Mills, 21, has just graduated with first class honours and won the prize as the top performing student academically on the Applied Golf Management Studies Course at the University of Birmingham. She talks about her studies, her career plans and inspiring more women to play golf.
Congratulations on a fantastic result on your university course. Was it important to you to get a first?
Absolutely, I worked so hard throughout my time at university. I have always been extremely determined with my golf and I wanted to prove myself academically as well and push myself to achieve the highest level possible.
Why did you decide on this course?
I had heard so many great things about the Applied Golf Management Studies Degree and for me it was the perfect route to take as it enabled me to continue my studies in something that I am extremely passionate about. The course is so well regarded throughout the golf industry so I felt as though it would give me that platform I needed to excel within the industry, which it has.
Tell us about some of the great experiences it offered you.
My course at university has been great it has opened so many doors for me. I have been lucky enough to complete work placements at Des Moines Golf and Country Club for the Solheim Cup as well as Woburn Golf Club for the Ricoh Women’s British Open. It has given me such great experience and enabled me to develop a large array of skills that are vital for working in the golf industry.
What are your career plans now and how has the course supported this?
I am currently completing a work placement with the Ladies European Tour tournament operations team. I would love to pursue a career in event management and tournament operations as I am extremely passionate about this aspect of the industry.
The University of Birmingham and members of the PGA have been so supportive throughout my time at university. The AGMS course has given me the knowledge, confidence and experience that I need to be successful in my chosen career path. The degree covers such a diverse range of modules relevant to the golf industry allowing you to discover your true passion.
When and why did you start playing golf?
I started playing golf at the age of eight years old. My dad used to be a golf professional and he introduced me to the game and I fell in love with it straight away. It was great because it was something that we could all do together as a family.
What do you love about golf?
I love so many different things about the game. I love that it has enabled me to meet so many amazing people from whom I have learnt so much from and it is something that I can do with my whole family. I also love that no round is ever the same so whilst it is such a rewarding game it is also so testing and constantly pushes you to better yourself and work harder.
What would you change about golf?
I think when young individuals first start getting involved with the game, there is such a strong emphasis on adopting the right technique and learning the rules and etiquette of the game but I think the sole focus at a young age should be on having fun. When I was twelve years old I became a member of Wyboston Lakes Golf Club. The members there were absolutely incredible and are still so supportive of my golfing career, they made every round so relaxed and enjoyable for me from a very young age and I think that is key in helping to encourage continued participation.
You say you’re passionate about growing the women’s game. Why do you think it’s a good game for women?
I am extremely passionate about growing the women’s game, it is such an incredible sport to be a part of and it would be great for participation levels to continue to grow. It’s such a social sport, so it’s a great way to make new friends whilst exercising and having fun.
Are you involved in any way in encouraging more women to play?
During my second year at university me and other members of the university planned and ran an event aimed specifically at encouraging more women to get involved with the game of golf whilst raising money for charity. The event was a great success and I am still in touch with many of the ladies involved to check up on their golfing progress which is so rewarding for me.
What would you say to women and girls to get them golfing?
Get Involved! Golf may seem daunting initially but once you get involved you realise how incredible the game actually is. So don’t be scared, go out there and give it a go, you won’t regret it!
• Inspired to try golf? Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about free and ow cost beginner activities across the county.