Bronte Law: Top amateur on preparing for life on tour
When Bronte Law showed up for the English Amateur in July, it almost wasn’t a case of if she would win, but rather by how many.
The England Golf international is considered one of the brightest young talent in the ladies’ game – she’s ranked seventh in the world among amateurs. She’s also won four times on the US college circuit and has already played in two Curtis Cup teams, despite only turning 20 in March.
At Hunstanton, in Norfolk, Law crushed the opposition by 16 shots, becoming the first player to successfully defend the amateur trophy in 20 years.
Karl Hansell spoke to the Stockport golfer about how her experience at UCLA in California is translating into success on the fairways of England.
First of all, congratulations on retaining the women’s amateur in July. It must give you great confidence that you have a successful career ahead of you?
Winning it back to back means a lot to me. I like to just take things in my stride, but, yes, my aim is to compete with the best in the world in the future.
Dame Laura Davies has praised the US college circuit, saying it exposes golfers to a high level of competition and prepares them for life on tour. Is it something you would like to see more people try?
Going to college was one of the best decisions I have ever made, not only because it has helped my golf hugely, but because I have grown as a person.
I have learned to do things I would never have done if I was still living at home. I can’t just call up my parents to ask them for help because of the time difference, so I have to figure things out for myself.
I have made friendships that will last a lifetime, I have learned so many valuable lessons and I wouldn’t change my experience for anything.
I understand that some people don’t like studying, but for four years extra, it’s something I think many people who pass up on it will regret not going.
What’s it like coming back and meeting up with your England team-mates for the summer after so long away?
I think living in LA is something many people would like to experience, but some people don’t like spending time away from their parents. Most of the girls back in England choose not to go down that route because they like being at home.
But I chose to make a sacrifice, and that was that I wouldn’t be able to see my family as often because I knew it was going to propel my career by coming to college.
Do you have much contact with England Golf throughout the winter?
I keep in contact with England Golf regularly, checking in with the performance manager on a monthly basis.
They are very supportive of my college commitments and have helped me so much throughout my career. I would say working with England Golf is a very similar experience to that which you get when travelling with a college team.
You’re now in your third year at UCLA and head coach Carrie Forsyth has praised your attitude, saying you have embraced all aspects of college life, and that you seem to be enjoying yourself. What’s life like for a foreign student in America?
Being English in America is very interesting, since you meet someone new and before you can even finish a sentence they are already staring at you in awe of your accent. They follow by saying: ’OMG, you have an accent, do you know the Queen?’
But it’s part of the fun of living in America. I don’t mind at all – you just have to accept the fact your friends will repeat anything you say in their best British accent, and then ask how their accent is.
You’ve described winning the 2012 Curtis Cup as the biggest thrill in your career. What lessons did you learn from that and the loss in 2014?
Obviously, winning the Curtis Cup when it was my first appearance meant it was always going to be hard to top.
But I feel with every golfing experience I learn something new, often from the times where I am less successful. I try to always take something away from each event I play in, even if it is as small as tracking how much sleep I had that week and how my performance was to previous events.
I have a journal where I keep a note of all the things I think are relevant to my performance at each event.
You’re very familiar with team golf, having played the Junior Solheim Cup in addition to two Curtis Cups. You’re also on the UCLA team alongside girls from China, Sweden, Israel. What is it like playing in a team with a wide mix of cultures?
Playing on a team with girls from around the world is definitely something that makes you open your mind to different cultures and their way of thinking.
But when it comes to golf, I think all the knowledge is universal and is out there for everyone to see. I don’t see anyone doing anything different to anyone else because of where they are from.
How do you think this cultural experience will help you, when you eventually make the step up to the professional ranks?
I think going to college is the perfect way to expose yourself to many different cultures to prepare you for when you make that step up to the next level. There are people on tour from all over the world so it helps being accustomed to their different ways and knowing how to communicate with them.
You’ve been very vocal with your support for schemes such as Lady Golfer’s #ThisGirlGolfs campaign, which aims to encourage more girls to take up the game. Why do you think more girls should play?
I think more girls should get into golf because of the endless opportunities that it provides. I have travelled all over the world because of golf and been to the most amazing places. I have met friends who will last a lifetime and got to a play a sport that is so rewarding when you are successful. I hope that other girls can have golf experiences like I am having.
I also think golf is a sport that is very influential in the business world. Many of my friends at college ask me to help them out with their golf because men are very impressed when they see business women competing in golf days.