Ladies European Tour professional and Castle Stuart Golf Links ambassador Sally Watson recently decided to give up professional golf after four years on tour and started work this month on a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
Here she explains what led to the decision and how she went out on a high, playing in both the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
There were a lot of different factors that led to my decision to stop playing professional golf and to begin the journey of earning my MBA.
It was by no means an easy decision, but I am confident that the time was right for me to change careers and I could not be more excited to be starting at Chicago Booth. I love being intellectually challenged and I am confident that Booth will provide me with all of the necessary tools and experiences to prepare me for the future.
I am still considering a variety of different career options - it's definitely an exciting time exploring all of the different paths out there - but whatever I decide to pursue, I look forward to the new challenges that I will face and the new people I will meet.
I will miss the competition on tour, but will no doubt find other ways of exercising my competitive spirit (there is a huge number of clubs, golf included, at Booth for students to join so I look forward to taking full advantage of those opportunities.)
I have also been incredibly fortunate that golf has allowed me to travel around the world, the only drawback of travelling for business was that I didn’t get to experience the culture of places I visited as fully as I would have liked to. I am hoping that over the next couple of years I will find some time to do a little more travelling, either back to countries I have already visited or to new places and fully enjoy all that is on offer.
Bringing the curtain down on my golfing career could not have been planned any better. My last two tournaments (The Scottish Open at Dundonald and the British Open at Kingsbarns) were probably two of my favourite events as a professional golfer.
All of my family were amazing in coming out to support me, taking days off work, spending holiday time and waking up at crazy times (3:45am), all to cheer me on. It was truly incredible and I am so grateful for all of their support.
My dad also caddied for me in both the Scottish and the British which I loved. To be able to share the experience with him after all the help he has given me over the years was truly special.
Aside from the amazing support, it was great to be able to play on two great Scottish links and, given I knew these would be my last two events as a professional, I made sure to soak up every moment, feeling and emotion - the nerves, the excitement, the thrill of playing in front of a crowd.
Looking back, I wish I had done a better job during my career of enjoying every experience, good or bad, because it is such a privilege to be able to play professional golf.
I would like to finish by saying a thank you to everyone who has supported me in my golf career- my family, coaches, sponsors (Castle Stuart in particular who have been great over the last four years).
I have been incredibly fortunate to have had all of the support that I have and I am very grateful for the experiences that golf has provided me with. Golf has consistently given me amazing opportunities throughout my life - opportunities to travel, to represent my country and continent, to compete against the best players in the world, to study at Stanford University and now it has helped me to earn my place in the Chicago Booth Class of 2019.
I owe the game, and everyone who has been a part of my golfing journey, a huge thank you!