Rebecca McGinley: Drive like a girl
When you think of the world’s longest hitters, the likes of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson spring to mind. But hitting 300-yard drives is all in a day’s work for Rebecca McGinley.
The North East golfer is a two-time winner of the American Golf UK Long Drive Championship and has finished third twice in the World Long Drive Championship. You don’t want to get in the way when she’s teeing off, that’s for sure.
How was your second time at the World Long Drive Championship in America?
It was good fun. I kind of knew what to expect this time and I knew some of the other people going. So it was more relaxed but the competition was a lot tougher and there were more competitors.
Were you nervous about competing?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. But American Golf sent some of their guys out there with me and they talked to me and made sure I was feeling relaxed while I was warming up.
Were you upset that you didn’t win?
Obviously you always compete in things because you think you can win, if you didn’t think you could then what would be the point in doing it? You don’t go and play golf thinking, ‘oh as long as I’m competing’. People say that it’s the taking part that counts but it’s really not.
It’s tough, some of the girls out there have been doing it for years and they constantly train just for that competition. It was only my second time doing it, so I can’t complain too much really about coming third twice.
Are you going next year?
Yes definitely. I’ll go over and try to defend my title and hopefully get third year lucky. Representing American Golf is obviously an honour in itself really, considering the company that it is.
Have you spent a lot of time in America?
Yes. I went to East Tennessee University, but I didn’t stay for the full term because school isn’t really my forte. I realised that all I wanted to do was play golf and I didn’t want to learn about general studies and things like that. So I came home, worked hard, practised, finished my amateur career and then turned pro.
Do you spend a lot of time in the gym?
Not at all, I don’t even have a gym membership. A lot of people say that I should but I think it just depends on the type of person you are; if you have the motivation to go to the gym or to stand and hit golf balls. Personally I don’t rate the gym at all,
I don’t think that all the best golfers are obsessed with going. Back in the day I don’t think Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus went to the gym.
So you keep fit by playing golf?
Yes, but I don’t spend hours and hours on the driving range. I hit balls when I need to work on something but the rest of the time I just go out and play some holes.
Do you have a strict practice routine?
Not really. I don’t think there’s any point if you’re not going to benefit from it. Some days I go to the range and hit a basket of balls and that might be it for the day, but another day I might do 27 holes, or two hours’ putting, or I might just read a book about golf.
I don’t think you should have a set routine because some days you might just not feel like doing what’s on your schedule. Sometimes I take my little god-daughter out for the day and don’t hit a ball at all. One day off isn’t going to ruin your year or even your week.
Are you as good at putting as you are driving?
The worst part of my game is probably short pitches and chipping around the green. My putting isn’t too bad but obviously my driving is one of my strongest points. People say you drive for show and put for dough, but if you look at the top male golfers in the world they’ll be the longest hitters too. Putting is obviously important to save you scores, but I think if you can hit it a long way you are going to become a better golfer.
How do men react when you hit it really far?
They don’t like it. Even my dad doesn’t. He’ll still brag if he’s managed to hit one past me. On some of the golf days I go to the
guys will try and hit it further than me and they’ll start losing balls everywhere.
It’s funny because they’re used to guys hitting it far so they find it quite interesting when a girl does. But it’s just normal for me. People say, ‘wow you can hit it a long way’. But because it’s me I don’t mind it that impressive anymore.
It’s quite nice when people comment on it though.
Rebecca plays on the Ladies European Tour Access Series. Follow we on twitter: @bexmc1990