Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kelsey the pro golfer could have been 

Kelsey the goal-getter

If Scots golf star Kelsey MacDonald wasn’t making her mark on 

the Ladies European Tour, there’s a fair chance she would be 

scoring goals on the football pitch. As a sports-daft teenager she 

had trials with Scotland U17s and trained with last season’s 

Scottish League Cup winners, Ross County.

But her love of golf - influenced by the fact that she lived right across the road from the Nairn Dunbar Golf Club in her home town of Nairn - meant she gave up on her dream of becoming a professional footballer.
As Kelsey prepares for the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open from July 22-24, she’s been getting in plenty of practice, spending hours in the gym - and ensuring she gets some rest by following the action in Euro 2016.
“It’s been a great tournament with some really fantastic games,” she says. “What an achievement for Wales – I am beyond delighted for them. I think it’s great that teams like Wales and Iceland, that on paper should not progress very far, made such an impression on the tournament.
“They have such a great team enthusiasm and spirit. Being part of a team is one thing I really miss about football and I’ve even noticed a huge difference going from amateur golfer to professional.
“As an amateur, I used to play in lots of tournaments as part of a team but as a professional you are pretty much on your own. I have some really great memories from my time as an amateur and being part of a team.
“As a professional golfer you still have a team around you, but it’s a very different team. It’s important to have very good relationships with them and make sure that you use the people around you to the best advantage.”
With its image of a sport played by older gentlemen approaching retirement, it’s hard for the general public to understand the work that golf pros like Kelsey put in behind the scenes.
When she’s not practicing on the course, Kelsey is pumping iron in the gym and working on her cardiovascular fitness to ensure she is in the best possible physical condition.
The effort on developing all-round fitness – popularised by Tiger Woods who also wanted to change the way people perceived golfers – has been fully embraced by Kelsey, who says it has had huge benefits for her game.
She adds, “It works for some players, but it’s not for everyone. I’ve found that spending time in the gym has really helped me massively over the last couple of years as I’ve been able to identify my strengths and weaknesses.
“I focus on strength training – only lifting heavy weights when I’m not at a tournament - but the cardio is just as important. You can be on the golf course for five hours a day and can walk five miles; each shot only lasts about 40 seconds, so there is a lot of switching on and off mentally.
“I’ve found that working on my cardiovascular fitness has helped bring me some balance so that I don’t have dips during a game. Your heart rate can be high and adrenaline can going right through you, but now I feel more in control.
“Being motivated to go to the gym was never an issue for me because I’ve always been active. It was something that I was really encouraged to do: my PE teachers were great and really made an impact on me.
“If golf or football hadn’t worked out for me, then I definitely would have been a PE teacher. Being able to pass on skills and encourage young people to be active is something that really appeals to me, as it had such a positive influence on my own life.”
Kelsey, an Aberdeen Asset Management ambassador, is looking forward to heading to Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire for the Scottish Ladies Open, and being back on home turf.
It is one of the few tournaments on the Ladies European Tour where Kelsey’s family and friends are able to come and watch her play, and she relishes the special atmosphere that it creates.
Kelsey says, “A lot of my friends who aren’t even into the sport will come along. There’s something really special about walking down the fairway knowing that I have so many friends and family out there watching me.”
The 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open takes place at Dundonald Links on the West Coast of Scotland in North Ayrshire, from Friday to Sunday this week, July 22 to 24. The event now occupies a prime spot on the Ladies European Tour calendar, sitting just one week ahead of the Ricoh Women's British Open and offers a prize fund of €500,000.
The event's unique pro-am format sees 80 amateurs and celebrities tee it up alongside a limited field of 80 of the top female golfers in the world. The 54-hole tournament is played over three days and is the only annual professional Ladies European Tour event in Scotland.
The event is free to attend with fun for all the family. For more information visit and follow @AberdeenLSO #AberdeenLSO