As a member of Forrest Little and The Island, Julie McCarthy’s golfing talents really shone through in 2016.
The start of the season proved difficult for the talented +1 handicapper, as she practiced at the French International Lady Junior U21 Championship and suffered tearing and bruising to her left wrist. “It was in a cast for six weeks and I couldn’t move it, so I spent that time looking over the courses I would be playing during the season and tried to prepare other ways. It was coming up to summer exam time as well, so it wasn’t the worst timing school wise,” laughed the 17 year old.
After the six week confinement, she was ready to get back to her practice regime, but was restricted to chipping and putting only, “I was really doubting what was going to happen with my game as I had no long game practice in 12 weeks but it turns out spending a few weeks concentrating on chipping and putting only, really paid off.”
Julie played in the Ulster Girls Championship a week after getting her cast off and secured first place, she then won the Leinster Girls Championship, followed by her second Irish Girls Close Championship title at Kilkenny Golf Club. She closed out July on a high after notching the top spot at the Connacht Girls Championship, ten shots clear of her closest competitor.
In August, she was part of the Irish Girls Team who won the Home International Matches for the first time ever at Conwy Golf Club, Wales. When asked if individual or team success was better, she added “Individual and team success really differ. I enjoyed winning the Close for the second time. It was a full four weeks on the road in July, with Ulster, Leinster, European Team Championships and the Close, so to finish with a win in Kilkenny on the 20th was pretty great. The Home Internationals was just incredible. We have all been so close as a team for the last few years and it was extra special as it was my last year playing under 18 as it was for Niamh (McSherry) too.”
It is Leaving Cert exam year for Julie but a strict focus on gym and study Monday to Friday and practice at the weekends means she will still be prepared for the 2017 golf season. Only two weeks ago, she officially signed for Auburn University in Alabama and she shared her excitement, “My family and I went over to Auburn in October 2015 and we all fell in love with it straight away. We visited a few other universities while we were there but I knew Auburn was where I wanted to go.”
Julie will finish her exams in June 2017, spend the summer competing in National and International tournaments and prepare for university life next autumn, before she starts at Auburn in January 2018.
Exciting times lie ahead for the Irish International and she is taking it all in her stride, “I would advise younger and up and coming players not to be too hard on yourself. Take each shot and each season as it comes and just enjoy it!”