Cara Vanderham knows she loves the game of golf but how she’s going to turn that into a career is still up in the air.
The 20-year-old Innisfail product has spent the past year hitting the books and golf balls at California University of Pennsylvania.
“It was good. It was really busy. You have to be on top of everything,” she said about her first year at school. “You have to be very dedicated and you don’t have a lot of time for anything other than school and golf.”
Vanderham was recruited by the coach of the golf team and accepted what amounts to a two-thirds scholarship to go south of the border.
She wasn’t sure what classes she wanted to take to begin with but settled on the four-year professional golf management program.
“I didn’t find anything else that I enjoyed so I always liked golf so I thought I might as well do it as a career.”
She admits being on the management side of things will cut into her playing time but it was the management component aspect which played a role in her choice of courses.
“I’m hoping I can teach,” she said.
“I’m not really sure where I want to go with it yet. I just want to get through college.’’
She is doing an internship at the Innisfail Golf Course until she has to head back to school and says it’s helped her get a feel for things.
She’s a graduate of the popular McLennan Ross Sun Junior Golf Tour in Alberta and was quick to praise the tour for what she gleaned from it.
“It helped me in competing, knowing how to compete in tournaments under pressure,” she said.
Vanderham won the junior tour championship in 2011 and posted an 18th place finish in the same year at the Alberta Ladies Amateur so she knows what it takes at the next level. But what that next level is for her is still a bit of a mystery before she graduates.
“I don’t know. I might come back to Canada and work. I’ll see where my game is, I might want to play more golf. I might stay there, I’m not sure.”
But one thing does seem certain. Whatever she decides, golf will be a part of the mix at some point.