We got a hold of Megan in Kelowna to learn a bit more about what it’s like to be a professional golfer and what sponsorship means to her.
You were born and raised in Kelowna, British Columbia, but you went to university at San Jose State in California. What made you choose San Jose?
They recruited me to play on their Division 1 Women’s Golf Team on a full ride scholarship. San Jose was a great choice for me because I could play golf all year round and it was easy for me to travel to and from Kelowna.
What was your area of study?
Recreation Management. It’s event management in the sports industry. I was originally in hospitality and recreation, but the programs split and I had to choose one. I felt that I could do more with recreation.
Who introduced you to golf and how old were you when you started playing?
I started playing when I was eight. My dad got me into it and my grandmother was a golf fanatic. It was great because I got to play golf all summer long. I played in my first tournament when I was 12.
Was golf your only sport?
No. I also played Triple A hockey. But I had to decide between hockey and golf. I love hockey, but I saw more career longevity in golf. I can play much longer competitively.
How did you know you had reached the level to play golf professionally?
The LPGA has always been a big dream. In my senior year of college I individually won 2 tournaments. After graduating, I went to Q-School and that’s when the LPGA became a possibility.
Bothwell-Accurate is a new sponsor for you. How did that happen?
I was on George’s (Vassallo) team for the Championship Pro-Am the day before the CP Women’s Open in August. It’s the charity tournament before the Open starts. I was the designated pro on the front nine so George and I met on the first tee. We chatted between holes and a few holes in, he asked me if I had a sponsor. I told him I didn’t. That I had had some limited partnerships, but had been funded by help from my family, some generous donations, and from my home course- Kelowna Golf & Country Club. Then he asked me if I would like a sponsor. I was super excited! The next day my mom and I met George again and some of the Bothwell staff. They were great to both me and my mom. After that I felt it would be a great company to represent.
What does a sponsor allow you to do? What does it mean for your career?
Thanks to Bothwell, I can play a full schedule for the first time! I can hire professional caddies full time, and I can go to back to Q-School if necessary.
Sorry, I forget that not everyone is speaking my lingo! Q-School is a series of tournaments that seed a player’s status for the upcoming year. It is what allows players to qualify for the Symetra Tour and LPGA Tour.
So if you don’t go to Q-School you can’t qualify for Symetra or LPGA?
In 2019, I had to forego Q-School because there just wasn’t enough money left, and my family had contributed everything they could. Q-School is almost $6,000 in entry fees alone. Then there is travel, accommodations, food, etc. I was fortunate to be given a sponsor’s exemption to the CP Women’s Open, which is where I met George. If I hadn’t got the exemption, I wouldn’t have been playing in it. And I wouldn’t have met George. The timing blew my mind.
Literally the day before I met George, I had made a plan to work full-time in 2020, play as much as I could, and save as much money as possible in order to play full-time in 2021. My life did a complete 180° turn in a day. Now I can continue to compete and work towards my goal of competing on the LPGA Tour.
So what’s next for you now that Bothwell is your sponsor?
Well, the 2019 season is over and while it was a hard year for me, it’s ended really well! I’ve got a sponsor and I just got back from the Gary Player Invitational in New York. In January I’ll start to play in LPGA Monday Qualifiers. I’m planning out the 2020 season with confidence.
You mentioned that 2019 was hard year and that the LPGA has always been a big dream. Have you ever become so discouraged that you ever thought your goal wouldn’t happen?
LPGA has always been the goal and it hasn’t happened yet. It can be hard when you are working so hard and still haven’t reached the goal. But I know my potential and others have seen it. So I’m just going to keep working toward it.
What drives you? Because it sounds like you have a lot of drive.
I’m really competitive. When I have a goal, I run full force at it. When I’ve got that kind of fire, competing fuels it. I work even harder for it. It gives me the motivation to want to be the best.
What’s the best piece of advice or guidance you’ve been given?
I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from my parents. They taught me to never quit. And that trying and failing is better than not trying at all. My comfort zone is never a place to grow, so I push my boundaries.