Irish International and Lisburn star Paula Grant picked up a golf club at the age of 10, as her father was a keen golfer and she decided to follow in his footsteps. Little did he know she would catch up on him and surpass his golfing abilities in a short space of time.
She joined Lisburn Golf Club under family membership and was offered training with the ILGU Ulster panel. Three years of competitive golf and dedicated practice paid off as she was selected to play for the Irish Girls’ U18 team at the 2009 Home International Matches when she was 15.
Grant was always a competitor as she found herself in the middle of all sports from a young age, explaining: "I was always involved in different sports, especially netball and Gaelic, but I loved golf straight away. My sister Laura, my Dad and I played together all the time and it was great fun."
Her big break came in 2013 when she won the Irish Women’s Close Championship at Ballybunion Golf Club.
"It was a surprise to win that tournament, there was a really strong field. I liked the course straight away and really felt at home there," she said. "I just took every match as it came. My first match actually went down the 19th as did my final match against Lisa Maguire, so it was really special to get the win."
Now living in Kirkcaldy, Scotland which is located between Edinburgh and St Andrews, Paula is working as a pre-registration optometrist with Specsavers.
She knows it can be difficult to balance everything, adding: "I realised I needed to be organised because of working full time so my practice sessions are really structured and it’s about planning in advance. I have exams in May so I am preparing for those at the moment too."
Speaking about keeping in contact with the High Performance Panel at home, she said he doesn’t feel out of the loop in Scotland.
"David Kearney put me in contact with PGA Professional Sandy Smith over here so I have been going to him. Johnny Foster, the ILGU short game coach, has been over twice and David himself came to see me. I was also at the Spanish Amateur earlier this year and put some solid practice plans in place thanks to Donal Scott, the ILGU's putting specialist."
Grant has just played at the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Strokeplay Championship, where she finished in a tie for 14th position with scores of 70, 76, and 79.
For her the game is extra special, commenting: "I love being outdoors and competing against the best players. I get the opportunity of playing so many different courses and it’s the best way to see the world."
Recent Results (2015 & 2016)
- April 2015 R&A Foundation Scholars Tournament St. Andrews, Scotland 5th
- June 2015 British Ladies Amateur Championship Portstewart Last 8
- June 2015 Irish Women’s Close Championship Rosapenna Last 8
- April 2016 Irish Women’s Open Championship The Island Tied 13th
- April 2016 Scottish Women’s Open Stroke Play Championship Troon, Scotland Tied 14th
Next event — British Women’s Amateur, 21 – 25 June
Q&A with Paula Grant
- Golf Club: Lisburn
- Handicap: +2
- Women’s WAGR: 698th LGU Order of Merit: 6th
- Age you started — 10
- Most Memorable Achievement — Winning the Ladies Irish Close C'ship at Ballybunion GC
- Favourite Golf Course — Royal Portrush GC
- Dream Fourball — Henrik Stenson, Lydia Ko, Adam Scott
- Favourite Club — 9 iron
- Best Part of your Game — 3/4 punch shots
- Lifelong Career Ambition — No plans to turn pro at the moment, mainly keep a good work-golf-life balance and see where it takes me
- Best Shot/Putt (Course, Club & Why?) — Holing a 30 foot putt on the 18th at the Old Course St. Andrews to win the R&A scholars tournament by one shot
- Hobbies outside golf — Meeting up with friends, recently trying to teach myself the ukulele (unsuccessfully), watching sports, and drinking tea.
- Stroke Play or Match Play — Stroke Play
- Putter or Driver — Putter