Kelowna’s Jen Woods has done a lot during a five year collegiate golfing career at UBC Okanagan, from winning provincial and national championships with her team, to being named a national collegiate all-star and the City of Kelowna’s female athlete of the year.
What the 22-year-old Kelowna-born athlete hasn’t done is play in the Royal Canadian Golf Association’s college and university championships, the biggest tournament of the college and university season.
Until this year that is.
Woods will leave next week for Ste-Sophie, Quebec to compete as an individual at the RCGA Canadian University/College Championships that will be held May 28 to 31 at the Club de golf Val des Lacs.
“I’ve been trying to go this tournament the last five years but the timing hasn’t worked out,” said Woods. “This is an RCGA event so the calibre will be high. This is my first time playing the event so I don’t know exactly what to expect. It’s a little extra special because my dad is coming with me. For him to come and watch me play is going to be great.”
Last fall Woods closed out her golf career at UBCO by helping her team win the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association national championships. With no spring golf at UBCO the team won’t start play again until the fall. So Woods applied to play as an individual in the nationals and was accepted into the event.
It will be her final collegiate tournament of a storied career that saw her finish in the top three of every tournament she entered after beginning her career as the lone female golfer at UBCO.
“The experiences I had at UBCO were so great,” said Woods, who graduated high school from Rutland Senior and has helped coach the golf team at both Rutland middle and the high school over the past years. “The things that stand out for me the most were the meaningful relationships I had with the other competitors on the teams and with my coaches.”
Woods has just one class remaining to finish her schooling in health studies that could lead to work in health promotion or health policy. But for now she is focussed on her golf game, getting set for the RCGA university/college nationals as well as playing on the Vancouver Golf Tour, an amateur tour for up and coming players.
“For me now that I am done school I can put more time toward golf which is a personal goal of mine,” she said. “I want to be healthy, I want to be more competitive, I want to offer more to the game. I love volunteering with junior golf when I can and I want to play more. I still have a lot of things I want to do with my amateur status. I just need to start playing more. Other than the university team I haven’t played in a lot of tournaments.”
A member at the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, Woods also enjoys playing privileges at the Okanagan Golf Club where she also works. She is playing five to six times a week and practicing hard as she turns the page from student golfer to amateur player. With other players from Kelowna enjoying success and with a solid collegiate career to build from, Woods is ready to see where the game can take her.
“I’m so excited right now,” she said. “I’m living day to day; the plans are always changing. The only thing I know is I wake up every morning and when I play golf I am happy.”