"Being a golf club member is really rewarding"

Pamela Pretswell

These days, Pamela Asher visits the likes of India, China, Dubai, Turkey and the Czech Republic as she competes on the Ladies European Tour.

Her journey to the highest level of women’s professional golf began, however, in a quiet pocket of South Lanarkshire when, at the age of 14, she joined Bothwell Castle Golf Club.

A gifted tennis player, Asher (née Pretswell) turned her back on the court in favour of the course when she was identified as an exciting young player by the Lanarkshire Junior Golf Association.

A coaching session with the LJGA at Bothwell Castle, led by the club’s head professional Alan McCloskey, proved to be a pivotal moment in Asher’s early career.

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“At that session, I asked a member called Fiona Scott how I could go around joining the club,” she recalls. “Within minutes, I had the necessary application forms in my hands and, a couple of days later, I was a member. It was as quick and as simple as that.”

At the time, Bothwell Castle, right, didn’t have an especially large junior section. Asher, in fact, was one of only two girls who played there, the other of whom left around a year after she joined.

“To be honest, that didn’t bother me a huge amount,” she adds. “I didn’t mind playing with the junior boys and, in any case, the lady members at the club were great with me and would always make me feel welcome if I ever wanted to play alongside them.”

Bothwell Castle Golf Club

Being a member of a club was, says Asher, instrumental in helping her on her way to becoming a top professional.

“I won some club competitions, including the club championship, which was great for my confidence and helped teach me how to win,” she says. “But there were other things that I learned there that I’m not sure I would have had I not been a member. Things like etiquette, the rules of the game, knowing what to do in different circumstances and, of course, how to play fast golf.”

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In 2010, Asher was made an honorary member at Bothwell Castle after representing Great Britain & Ireland in the Curtis Cup, one of two appearances she made in the biennial match. “That was a great honour not to mention a massive help,” she adds. “Not having to worry about paying my annual subs was great and allowed me to put that money towards other things that helped get me ready for turning pro.”

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She made the switch in July 2012 after the second of her Curtis Cup experiences and, though she now plays a globetrotting schedule, she still goes back to Bothwell Castle whenever she can.

“I love going back there any opportunity I get,” says Asher. “Being a golf club member is really rewarding. It’s not just a great way to learn the game but it’s a brilliant way to make new friends and develop new skills, both on and off the course. I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

• This article first appeared in issue 144 of bunkered (December 2015)

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