NEWLY turned professional golfer Amelia Garvey has returned to home-town Hyde to prepare for the start of Q-School in August as the 21-year-old bids for a place on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour (LPGA).
Amelia, whose family emigrated to New Zealand when she was aged five, has been taking to the fairways at Werneth Low Golf Club where her cousin and caddy Jamie Tipper is professional and director of golf.
He is helping Amelia, who until she turned pro was one of the world’s leading amateur players, fine tune her game in readiness for Q-School which begins in August at Palm Desert, part of the Mission Hills Resort which is a two-hour drive from Los Angeles.
And as Jamie lives in an apartment at the golf club, Amelia can get on the course when it is deserted.
Amelia will again have Jamie on her bag as he was for her two appearances in the US Open – the two majors she has contested – and the Augusta National Women’s Amateur (ANWA).
The dynamics work well as Amelia explained: “It is really cool to have someone I am comfortable with and who I can trust.
“We have a professional caddie/player relationship on the course and have really good conversations about shots.
“But at the end of the round, Jamie is back to my cousin, and he is more like a big brother to me.”
Amelia took the decision to turn professional after graduating from the University of Southern California.
She had originally intended to compete in the British Amateur Championship at Kilmarnock (Barassie) in June.
Q-School will be challenging and there are three phases at three different venues and in the first at Mission Hills Resort involves six rounds over six days on three different courses.
Amelia hopes the experience of already playing in two majors and at Augusta will stand her in good stead.
And if she is unsuccessful, there is also a chance her results will good enough to land a place on the Symetra Tour which is one notch below the LPGA Tour.
She admitted it will be a case of adapting to a new way of life and far removed to university life.
Amelia, who will be living out of a suitcase and in hotels for much of the year, said it will be important to balance playing with having time off for her mental health and wellbeing.
She added having hobbies will be important to relax from the intensity of competition golf. That could be reading, learning to cook, doing workouts and watching programmes on Netflix.
Amelia began playing when her father, who only plays social golf in New Zealand, bought her a set of plastic clubs.
She was a sporting natural as a child also playing football, cricket, basketball, tennis and squash as well as being a decent skateboarder.
Amelia was in the national training academies for football and golf at Under-14 level and then had to make a choice between the two sports, but golf was always going to be her choice.
Her last visit back to Hyde was pre-pandemic in 2019 when she prepared at Werneth Low for the British Amateur Championships at Royal County Down.
Amelia, whose extended family remain locally, can still remember he childhood in Hyde and being a pupil at Godley Primary along with her sister and especially the purple uniform.