When you’re golf obsessed, you need outside interests. Meghan MacLaren’s distraction is Newcastle United. The Magpies, she admits, don’t always help her stress levels, but at St James’ Park she’s in a different environment – no swing thoughts, no worries about her playing schedule and no dwelling on negative comments doing the rounds on social media. However, the escape never lasts long when you live and breathe the game; it’s always back to the bubble – and the 26-year-old has lofty ambitions.
The last four years have been a bit of a rollercoaster – playing wise and emotionally. In May 2016, MacLaren graduated from Florida International University with a degree in English, but her plans to compete on the LPGA Tour “unravelled” at Qualifying School. Self-doubt crept in and there were some dark moments. The key was to trust that she was heading in the right direction – and she was.
Learning the ropes
Victory in Spain on the LET Access Series – a development tour to the Ladies European Tour – was “the kick that I needed”. A year later, she topped the Order of Merit to gain her full card. “I was a little bit lost asking myself questions like ‘am I good enough?’ ‘Is this the right thing to do?’ All these thoughts suddenly appeared,” she says. “But it never crossed my mind to walk away from the game. However down I got about it, that’s never been the thought.
“I want to be one of the best players in the world. There are a lot of people who want that, so you go through spells of what makes me different from those other people. I think it’s a case of having the right people around you and going back to the things that you do well.”
That support network is very important, and the MacLaren team is a solid one. Her parents are both good golfers, as is her sister, Rebecca, who carries the bag occasionally. It’s a role her father David, general manager at JCB Golf & Country Club, has also occupied. The most memorable of these occasions came in 2018 at the Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia, where Meghan won her first Ladies European Tour title.
“You tell yourself that you’re good enough to win and believe you’re good enough to win, but there’s a little something at the back of your head that doesn’t go away unless you actually do it.
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