Gemma Batty, the newly-crowned Scottish Women’s champion, has no intention of turning professional after re-discovering her passion for golf once she’d decided to buck the modern-day trend by staying as a career amateur.
On her 24th birthday, the Leeds-born player who has lived in Moffat for the last four-and-a-half years beat Craigielaw’s Gabrielle Macdonald by one hole in a thrilling title decider at Elie on Saturday.
The victory completed an historic double for the West Linton member after also winning the English equivalent two years ago, but there is no danger of Batty changing her career path as she prepares to start a job with supermarket chain Lidl through its graduate scheme.
“It was around January-February last year when I was going through a rough spell,” said Batty, a University of Stirling graduate, of when she ruled out pursuing a career in the paid ranks. “I wouldn’t say I had fallen out with the game but I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I should have been.
“I’d been putting myself under too much pressure playing golf and that’s when I started to look at grad schemes. I knew that the opportunity to do something like that was a better option, especially as in the ladies’ game at the moment you are struggling to make a living unless you go to America. I didn’t want to do that. I want to have a home, I want to have children, I want to have a nice career. I’m happy with the decision I’ve made and I will come and play in the Scottish Women’s Championship as long as I can.”
Though admitting it had been unfortunate to seal victory due to her opponent sending her approach out of bounds at the back of the 18th green, Batty was delighted to emerge triumphant at the end of a long week on the Fife coast.
“All the players in the Scottish Golf squad this year have been told to think of one word and my one was enjoyment,” revealed the winner. “David Patrick, my coach, texted me last night and simply said, ‘enjoyment’. I have really enjoyed every single round I’ve played this week on a course that was exceptional.”
Macdonald, disappointed to lose for a second time in three final appearances, is eyeing a professional career. “I still want to try and give it a go,” she said. “But I’m staying amateur at the moment.”