When Immaculata student Lauren Rutherglen decided to hand in her competitive figure skates for golf clubs at the start of 2012 she was like a lot of new golfers: Struggling to break 100.
But in the span of six months, thanks to her dogged determination and a golf bag full of natural ability, the 16-year-old had trimmed as much as 30 strokes from her game and was routinely firing rounds in the 70s.
And in the two years since taking up golf full-time, Rutherglen’s game has taken off. She was named top female golfer at the B.C. High School single-A provincials and won the ladies club championship at the Harvest this summer. Then she nearly knocked off the Pacific Northwest’s top-ranked female player in the Pacific-Northwest Golf Association’s junior girls amateur championships, a prestigious match-play event featuring the best junior golfers from B.C., Washington and Oregon.
On top of that she has continued with a near straight-A high school report card and she has secured an NCAA scholarship to Adam State University beginning in 2014 where she will continue to play golf and focus on her post secondary education.
“It’s amazing the progress she has made in a short period of time,” said Chad Scott, Rutherglen’s coach and the head pro at the Harvest. “It’s really the amount of work that she put in. She’s driven to succeed. She has unlimited potential.”
After years of focusing on figure skating, Rutherglen switched gears in 2012, finding the individual sport of golf more to her liking. She controlled her results rather than being judged.
“Figure skating got to be too much for me,” said Rutherglen adding that all of the mental training as a skater helped her switch sports. “At first I found the mental part of golf hard but I just tapped into the experience I had from skating. I had to skate by myself in front of judges and with golf I have to get into a zone but I know I’m not being judged. I just get in a mental place where I know what I can do and from there I try to stay in the zone.”
Rutherglen’s work ethic goes beyond the practice range. Along with her golf and school schedule, she also holds down a part-time job. And she didn’t sit back and wait for college coaches to find out who she was. Rutherglen was proactive in sending out swing videos and information to NCAA schools as she looked for an opportunity to turn her golf talent into a scholarship. She ended up with some choice in the matter but after an official visit to Adam State in Alamosa, Colorado, she fell in love with the campus in the small university city.
“It’s a lot like B.C. climate-wise and there were tons of mountains,” she said. “It was the atmosphere and the coach and hearing how passionate he was about winning and making the team better. I’m just really excited to get down there and get the coaching. I love playing golf and I’m really thankful that I can get an education while playing it.”
Rutherglen begins her post secondary career in the fall of next year. In the meantime she will play with Immaculata’s high school team in the spring and will continue to work on her game at her home course the Harvest.