Batty ends 2016 season with more titles than ever14 October 2016
By any measure, 2016 has been an excellent season for University of Stirling golfer, Gemma Batty.
The Business and Sport Studies third year student won Scottish, British and European Universities titles as part of Team Stirling.
And as she nears the end of the season she feels rightly proud of winning individual titles at the Slovenian Amateur Championship, English Open Matchplay and Stirling International.
“2016 was the best season so far and I didn’t really have a bad performance,” said 22-year-old Gemma.
“A lot of people find they just have one good tournament then that will be it. But this year I continued to just keep playing well throughout the whole summer.”
If there’s an overriding reason for her fine run, it’s the psychological benefits that came with a good beginning to 2016.
“I started the season with the St Rule Trophy and finished sixth which was a big improvement on last year’s tenth place,” said Gemma, who currently plays off +2.
“To hit the ground running gave me a confidence boost and I just kept going.”
A passion for the game, combined with being part of the University’s golf academy, led by coach Dean Robertson, play a major part in her success.
“I don’t put pressure on myself - I practice golf because I love it,” said Gemma, who has a refreshingly relaxed approach to life.
“I looked at English and Scottish universities but when I found out more about the scholarship programme at Stirling and saw the beautiful campus, I said to myself that if I didn’t get accepted here I wasn’t going to go to any other university.
“Stirling has an incredibly professional set up and it’s a great environment with such a team focus. Dean creates the environment which has a strong work ethic and it’s only ever been positive.”
Gemma is one of 148 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes.
Through the programme she receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.
Eighteen Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.
“I like the independence that having the support of Winning Students gives me,” said Gemma.
“The funding helps with travel and meant I was also able to buy new clubs after I got support from Titleist last year.
“The clubs have literally changed my game and that’s one of the reasons I did so well this year - my distance control is so much better.”
With two more years until she completes her degree, Gemma is keeping an open mind about what lies beyond.
In the meantime her main goal is to represent Scotland. Having moved from Yorkshire to Scotland in 2014 she has six months to wait before she is eligible to represent the country.
“When I graduate, if someone offers me the opportunity to turn pro with the financial support, I would take it,” she said.
“But there are so many opportunities for females within the golf game. I’d like to go into event and player management, whilst continuing to compete in elite amateur tournaments for as long as I possibly can.
“My main focus now is on studies and enjoying golf and over the last 18 months I’ve got a lot out of it.
“I’ll work as hard as I can to maintain a plus handicap and just enjoy what I am doing right now because I am loving every minute of it.”