My road to the LPGA started in Tamworth, Australia my home town. I have always loved sports and golf gave me another opportunity to compete against my siblings. I had immediate success, primarily due to the fact that I was the only girl who played in the district so winning was just a matter of turning up. At that time I never thought about playing the game professionally, I just enjoyed the challenge. During my undergraduate degree I played in some Australian national events- fairly poorly. Then during my senior year I was faced with a choice, enter the work force or pursue golf. I decided on the latter, but still only as an amateur. By now I was reasonably established as an amateur and within six months of graduating I was ranked number one in Australia and won a scholarship to spend a week with Karrie Webb at the 2009 US Open. I remember watching the US Open and being inspired by the passion of the LPGA players. I also remember Karrie signing a flag for me that read “good luck Julia, in whatever you choose to do”. Had you told me that in 3 years I would be an LPGA member, I would have laughed. Ironically, the next part of my journey was equally unexpected. While in the USA I took the opportunity to play in some events with some success, and following a win at the Women&aposs Trans Amateur I was recruited to play golf at Texas A&M University. I only had a year of eligibility but this provided me with an opportunity to play and study- two things I still value very highly. Moving to Texas would be a culture shock to any sane person, let alone an Australian. Having never visited the place, I had images in my mind based on old western movies and had you asked me what a &aposlong horn was, I would probably have guessed some kind of musical instrument. I laugh when I think back to my first few awkward weeks, but now Texas is home. With only one year to play on the team I had a good start in winning the first event, one more in the fall and another in the spring. As a team we won 4 events including an amazing win to capture the Big 12 title. We finished the year at Nationals. In my second year I took on the role of voluntary assistant coach. I loved my role and l am sure I learnt more from the experience than the girls on the team. It was during this time that I realised that, at least for now, I wanted to be playing the game rather than watching from the sidelines. Therefore, after graduating with my master&aposs degree I prepared for Tour school, and on my 26th birthday I turned pro. Having missed my LPGA card by only a single shot at Q-school in 2010, I was disappointed. But looking back now I can see that &aposdoing my time&apos on the Symetra Tour (the LPGA&aposs development tour) has been the best thing for me. On the LPGA Symetra tour I learnt how to manage my travel, energy levels, and a full schedule. Midway through the season I won the Four Winds Invitational and with it took away the biggest prize check in Tour history. This was highly convenient considering I had $28 in my bank account at the time. This win, along with a steady season, meant I finished 8th on the Symetra tour money list and more importantly, that I would be on the road of the LPGA. My road to the LPGA wasn&apost direct. It took many twists and turns and even some u-turns, but it&aposs my road. Sometimes I wish I had decided earlier in life to become a professional golfer, but then I realise that I would have missed so many experiences that have shaped who I am as a golfer, and more importantly as a person- and the irony is, as I look forward I can see that the road has only just begun. Julia Boland is a former National Squad member and current member of Golf Australia&aposs Rookie Professional Program. She has an LPGA Tour card for the 2013 Tour season.
Author: Julia Boland, Golf Australia Rookie Squad