Mel Reid is cool, interested, genuine, funny and normal. This year will be her rookie year on the LPGA Tour and, if there was one golfing story this year that I would like to play out properly, it is this one.
We meet for a coffee bang on noon in her home town of Loughborough and are still chatting away an hour and a half later. She seems happy and, above all, excited.
For whatever reason the conversation begins with fears, silly or otherwise. While I begin a list that soon goes into double figures, nothing appears to overly faze Reid.
What’s the plan for the big move?
I’ve got a couple of really good friends out in West Palm Beach so I’ll probably just live with them for a bit and see how the rest half of the year goes. I’ll probably just commute back and forth to the UK for the first year.
Some players stay with families during a tournament, will you be doing that?
I’ve been texting Laura over Christmas and we have always said I would try and stay with them as much as possible as she always organises a house.
How do you think you will fit in?
It’s funny, the Brits and the Aussies stick together. My really good mates are the caddies, I’m quite like Laura in that sense.
I like being around but if I’m doing a boot camp with my coach Kev (Craggs) then I like to stay on my own.
Not that you are off to a new school but are you good at making friends?
Yeah I would say so, I would say I’m a relatively nice-ish person!
I think you’re alright…
Thanks, I think I’ve got great banter (laughs). I think I find it easy, it’s a little bit different out there because it’s a bit more business-like and so not everyone is as friendly as the LET but I don’t think that’s a bad thing to be honest.
I think the LPGA 20 or 30 years ago was very different, these days people bring their entourage. In my opinion it is very important to find your network of people that you’re going to hang out with most weeks, play practice rounds with and make it fun because you’r away a lot of the time.
And you have got a relatively new caddie?
Yes, I’ve been with Benji since last September. His dad, Stuart Brewer, is a very established coach. So he’s a good player himself, he goes out with Whitney Hillier on tour and he’s just a great lad. Because he’s a golfer himself he can see what I’m trying to do – if that makes sense.
He can see the shots I’m trying to hit. I feel like we’re very much on the same wavelength and I feel like it was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
How does a job interview for a caddy work?
He had caddied for Laura at St Andrews and she was really impressed with him. You just meet up on the first day, it always helps to be early, then you basically just go ‘here are my yardages’. Kev explained before how I like to work. I could tell him how I like to work but that’s probably how I think I like to work. Kev knows how I actually work.
What will Kev have said to him?
Reduce the noise and get in and out of the tournament. Let her do her work then get her out. That’s when I work best, when the noise is reduced and I kind of go on my instinct.
So quality over quantity?
I’m there to do a job, to win a tournament. If you’re not careful you’ll be at the course for 12 hours and you’ve not done anything. You see girls who have been there since 6.30am and I’ve done the gym and will be ready for dinner at 6pm and they are just getting in. I don’t understand what they are doing.
What are you really looking forward to about playing the LPGA?
I’m really looking forward to competing against the best players in the world. I want to learn, I want to see how good I am and feel like I’m good enough but I want to see.
I know what my weaknesses are but they will show up a lot more on the LPGA. It will also show my strengths as well. I’m just excited about getting better.
Part 2 coming soon