Gabrielle is delighted to have signed with sports management company, Momentum Athlete Group and looks forward to working with team MAG over the next few years. More details can be found at https://www.momentumathletegroup.com/gabriellemacdonald
A win, 3 missed cuts, and the Coronavirus
I got back from South Africa last Thursday and it was the quietest I have ever seen Edinburgh Airport! Which would be great if it wasn’t due to the coronavirus pandemic. I was slightly apprehensive about travelling home but fingers crossed I haven’t caught anything and my flights went ahead as normal, so it was a relatively smooth experience. South Africa is only just starting to have cases of the virus, so during my time I felt as though I was escaping all the panic and mayhem that was happening back home.
I started my trip in Johannesburg 4 weeks ago, and I was travelling with two girls from the UK and we were all getting put up by a lovely host family at Ebotse Links. It was so exciting to be out competing again on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, where I had started my professional career almost exactly a year ago. After a few days adjusting to the heat and altitude I played my first competition, over the brand new 18 hole par 3 course at Serengeti Estates. Having never played a par 3 tournament before, it was a great new concept and lots of fun. It was also a pro am team event, where we played as team of two pros and two amateurs. After the two rounds we finished tied for the lead, and needed to play-off for first and second place. It was exciting to be involved in a play-off with a fair sized crowd watching, and I admittedly felt pretty nervous! Luckily for me, my partner holed a great putt on the 4th extra hole to crown us the Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge winners! It was a fantastic way to start my trip, and I finished in 11th place individually.
After that I had two more events in Johannesburg, the first was at Soweto Country Club. Soweto is one of the largest township areas in the city, and the golf course was recently upgraded and refurbished by the city. The course proved difficult due to the thick rough and bouncy greens and unfortunately I missed the cut by 2 shots. It was disappointing for me but I was optimistic about my golf by the following week at Glendower Country Club. I had a solid first round of 73 but after getting off to a bad start in round 2, I was battling to make the cut again. I dropped a couple shots at the end of the round and missed it for the second week in a row. I felt like my golf wasn’t that far away as I was striking the ball well, but my putter was costing me.
The tour then moved to Cape Town for the final event, the South African Women’s Open which is also a Ladies European Tour event. The field was strong with all the regular tour players over for it. My boyfriend also came over to caddy for me… and to see all that Cape Town offers! I felt a lot more comfortable in this environment than the previous year but there are fine lines in sport and again I missed the cut by 2 shots. I felt a bit deflated to finish my trip on a disappointing note, but I know I’ll come back stronger, I just have to keep working hard.
I had a few days to explore Cape Town before flying home, and it really is a beautiful city and part of the world. We went to Cape Point (the most southerly part of Africa), saw the penguins on boulders beach, went on a wine tour, explored the V&A waterfront and relaxed on the beach at Camps Bay. We had been planning to go up Table Mountain and hike Lion’s Head but there was a fire that broke out on Lion’s Head and the mountain was shut for the next few days whilst they tried to put it out, before eventually being closed due to coronavirus!
Now that I’m home, like everyone else I’m not sure what lies ahead. My next few events have been postponed until later in the year so at the moment the earliest I will be competing is May. However, I think it is highly likely that those events will also be cancelled or rearranged. I plan to use this time to rest my elbow injury which has been lingering since October, so I will be limiting my practice to short game over the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed we know more soon, and I hope everyone stays as healthy as possible!
Unfortunately due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic I have postponed my golf day for the time being. I am hoping to rearrange for later in the year and will be in touch once I know more. For now I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.
After a successful event last year, I will be hosting another golf day this year on the 12th June at Craigielaw. The format will remain the same, being a 4 person Texas scramble. Team entry is £300. Following the golf there will be food and a raffle. More details to follow, but I’m sure it will be a fun filled day with lots of great prizes on offer. Save the date!
I’m delighted to be a brand ambassador for Pure Spa & Beauty and I’m really grateful for their support. This partnership is a great fit for me as a professional golfer as it’s important for me to take care of my mind and body and Pure Spa is the perfect place for me to do so. They have three spas in Edinburgh as well as others across the UK. It’s great to have access to the Spa, and I have loved being able to relax after training in the David Lloyd Newhaven Spa. I also have benefitted from regular massage treatments, which are great for muscle recovery and for keeping me flexible.
I’m thrilled to be representing Pure Spa & Beauty as I compete across the world. If you want to find out more about Pure Spa, have a look at their website:https://blog.purespauk.com/6669/introducing-pure-ambassador-gabriella-macdonald
Five weeks ago I flew out to George, on the Western Cape of South Africa to start my professional career and now I’m sitting waiting to board my flight home. I can’t help but reflect upon my time out here. Having never been to South Africa I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’ve had a great time. The trip has been full of new experiences from hitting my first shot as a pro; playing in my first pro am; playing 5 weeks in a row; playing in my first LET event and being chased by a baboon at Cape Point. The latter being the most nerve-wrecking out of all these experiences!
I’ve played 5 events on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, with some satisfying results. My first event was the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and I could not have picked a better place to start my career. The courses at George and Fancourt were stunning and the hospitality was first class… with a daily selection of cake and ice cream in the players lounge! However, I wasn’t too distracted by the hospitality and I managed to get myself in contention after shooting 68 in round 2. It was such a buzz to have a chance at winning in only my first event as a pro and although I finished in a tie for 6th I was really pleased with this result. More so, as this was my 1st competitive event since early November and also since my mum passed away. I was a little emotional, knowing how much my mum would have loved to have seen me do well, and I guess I missed having my family around to support and celebrate.
Next up was Durban, to play in the SA Women’s Masters and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge. If I was on a high from the Di Data I was quickly brought back down to earth when we arrived at our digs! Life on tour really isn’t glamorous! After surviving a night with bed bugs we managed to find a new place to stay on site at San Lameer and we lucked out with a fab host family! Despite struggling a little with my game that week, I finished in 14th place and another cut made.
It was a tight turnaround as we then went straight into the practice round and Pro Am at Wild Coast Sun. The course really is wild! It covers some amount of land up on a cliff top and is on the edge of a wildlife reserve. It’s really exposed to the wind and we were all warned of high winds forecast. Fortunately it wasn’t quite like a windy day at Craigielaw and I seemed to cope with the trickier conditions that we had in round 2. I played some great golf that week, and finished outright 3rd. Again it was exciting to be in contention and I felt like maybe it could be my week when I teed off in the final round. However, I didn’t take advantage of my good approach play on the front 9 and my short putting let me down.
My final stop of the tour was Cape Town for two more events. After playing 3 events in a row, I was ready for a few days off! Luckily we had time to relax and do some site seeing which is actually quite rare on most of my golf trips. Cape Town really is incredible with the striking Table Mountain and scenic coastline. I know how lucky I am to visit such amazing places like Cape Town. After a few days off I felt mentally refreshed and raring to go again at Royal Cape GC. It wasn’t my best golf week but I am proud how I grinded it out after a poor opening round. In some very typical Scottish weather, I managed to move up each day and finished tied 13th in the end.
It was then onto Westlake for the Investec South African Women’s Open which was a co-sanctioned LET event. This event had the highest purse and so I was eager to have a good week! As it would happen, I was probably too eager! Although, after hitting two great shots on my opening hole and sinking the putt for birdie, I actually felt right at home in my first LET event. Unfortunately, after a shocker of a bunker lie on my 9th hole my golf started to slip and I let my mistakes get to me more than I normally do, thinking I had played my way out of the tournament. This was my biggest lesson learned of the trip – never think it’s over- as had I saved a few shots in my last few holes I would have been around the cut mark with a lot less to do in round 2. To be honest, I actually felt a little embarrassed with my score and also disappointed with myself and my attitude on the golf course. I needed the afternoon off to clear my head and the views along Chapman’s Drive and Hout Bay definitely helped distract me.
By the next day I was ready to give it my best shot at making it to the weekend, and I got off to a good start with 2 birdies in the first 4 holes. However, a double bogey on the 14th hole proved costly and I ended up missing the cut by 1. I was gutted, it was the first cut I’d missed on the trip and missing it by 1 is a tough one to take. However, I was happy with the way I had played in round 2 and how I had recovered from the double bogey, playing the last 4 holes in 1 under. They say you learn more from your mistakes than your wins and that has probably been the case on this trip!
Overall, It’s been a fun few weeks out here and a great start to my pro career. There’s nothing quite like playing competitive golf and to have that week after week has been such a good experience for me. I’m now looking forward to going home and spending time with my family and sleeping in my own bed! It will also be good to get some practice in before my season starts in Europe on the LET Access Series. Let the adventures continue!
Gabrielle has today announced that she has turned professional. Gabrielle will be continuing her journey with
Gabrielle spent time with some of the juniors at Craigielaw and reflected back upon her time playing for the junior team; “It was great to be part of a strong junior team and a club which welcomed juniors to play as much as they wanted. Craigielaw had only been opened for a few years when I joined and had a modern approach to club competitions, as both ladies and juniors could play in all medals with no restrictions. I also loved playing in the East Lothian Junior League, and being part of the team’s success at the Home Nations Finals in Spain. These competitions definitely helped me gain matchplay experience and likely played a part in my success in the Scottish Amateur Championship. Hopefully, the junior section can keep growing, and it’s great to see the juniors here today enjoying themselves despite the cold weather!”
Gabrielle is heading out to South Africa next week to play on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. She will play 4 events and hopes to qualify for the co-sanctioned LET event before flying home. She will then get her season started on the LET Access Series.
Gabrielle would like to thank everyone who has helped and supported her over the years.
“Big smiles today as I am excited to announce that I am turning professional! I can’t wait to start this new chapter in my golfing career and I’m delighted to have Craigielaw’s continued support. I want to thank the club and to everyone who has helped me along the way, I’m very grateful for all the support I have received over the years. Ready to start my 2019 season out in South Africa in just over a weeks time.”
In a dramatic conclusion to the 100th Scottish Ladies’ Championship, Gabrielle Macdonald (Craigielaw) beat Connie Jaffrey (Troon Ladies) with a par four at the first hole of the sudden-death play-off in the final at Pretwick.
At the 19th, Jaffrey hit her second shot left and had to hit her pitch over a bunker and failed to get up and down while Macdonald, two-putted for victory.
“I’m delighted to win,” said MacDonald, a 21-year-old St Andrews University student. “I was nervous all day and that match was up and down. But it’s a tough course and the match was always going to go one way and then the other. “
In her third year of a geography degree, MacDonald is intending to turn professional sometime in the future. “But it won’t be for a few years,” she said. “At the moment, I just want to enjoy this win.”
On a bright but windy day, 17-year-old Jaffrey made a encouraging start in her attempt to become the youngest ever champion, winning the first hole in par. But MacDonald levelled with a birdie at the long third and then won the fifth and sixth and was still two up at the turn.
Jaffrey, the Scottish Girls’ Champion, launched a fight back with wins at the tenth and 11th and moved one up with a birdie at the long 12th.
But there was another turnaround with MacDonald taking the 13th and moving one up with a terrific birdie at the 16th where she hit a wedge shot to a foot.
At the 17th, it was the Ayrshire girl’s turn to make birdie to draw level and pars at the last sent the final into extra time.
For Jaffrey, it was a disappointing end to the week, but she underlined her promise as she looks forward to heading to a golf scholarship at Kansas State University this autumn.
For both finalists, a summer of golf lies ahead. “I have finished university for the summer,” said the new champion.
“Everyone at the University is so supportive. Kevin Hale is our first team coach and he is great.”
Jaffrey was disappointed but pleased to play her part in a great final. “I just ran out of shots at the end,” she conceded.
100th Scottish Amateur Champion 2014, Old Prestwick Gold Club
Scholar Profile 1: Gabrielle MacDonald, Saints Golf In 2010 Gabrielle played for Scotland in the Girls Home International team, before going on to win the East of Scotland Girls Order of Merit a year later. She followed this by setting a new Course Record of 66 at Ladybank Golf Club in 2012 and was runner up at the 2013 British University Championships. In the same season Gabrielle took 5th place in the St Rule Trophy in St Andrews and also played for Scotland in the Ladies Home International team.
Now in fourth year, Gabrielle starts the new academic year on the back of her most successful season to date, the highlight of which was becoming the 100th Scottish Ladies Amateur Champion at Prestwick Golf Club earlier in May. Other successes from Gabrielle’s 2014 season include:
• 2014: Runner-up in the Scottish Ladies Junior Open Strokeplay (U21s)
• 2014: 15th in the British Ladies Open Strokeplay Championship
• 2014: Played for Scotland in the ladies team for the European Ladies Team Championships, Slovenia
• 2014: Played for Scotland in the ladies team for the World Amateur Team Championships, Japan
• 2014: 4th in the SLGA (Scottish Ladies Golfing Association) Ladies Order of Merit