Celebrated golfer Julie Otto, (formerly Hall), has decided that the time is right to try her luck on the Ladies European Tour having received an invitation to play at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco.
Following a successful amateur career and significant involvement in the administration of the game, Julie turned professional two years ago at the age of 44 to pursue a career in golf tuition.
Having played in five Curtis Cup matches for Great Britain and Ireland against the United States of America, she hung up her clubs in 1996 as the reigning British Champion and as part of the victorious Curtis Cup team.
She followed this by moving into the administration of the game, with the Ladies Golf Union and then Assistant Director – Rules at golf’s world governing body The R&A. She has refereed at nine Open Championships, a Solheim Cup, Walker Cup and numerous tournaments on the men’s PGA European Tour.
Julie is currently an assistant PGA Professional at Elie Sports Club in Fife whilst working towards her PGA Qualification. She is married to former NASA scientist Dr Steve Otto, who is the Director of Research and Testing at The R&A and has three children.
On making her LET debut, said: “This is a one off for me. As part of your PGA you are required to play so I feel more comfortable among my own peer group playing in women’s events rather than assistant professional events.
“There’s a lot of personal pride left. I can joke and laugh and say that it doesn’t matter; well, it doesn’t matter so much. I’m married, I have children, we have a house, we’re established, Steve has a job; it’s not the be all and end all,” she said, “but there’s a lot of personal pride in this for me and if I don’t do well, I’ll be disappointed.”
Julie competed in the Women’s Bank Open in Finland on the LET Access Series last year and finished in a share of 14th place. This is her first LET event, at the age of 46.
“Realistically, my chances of success are fairly slim, as I played my first round of golf yesterday and I had hip surgery in September, (I would have played but we had horrendous snow!) Yesterday was my first time on the golf course. It was a long way yesterday and quite a shock when you haven’t played for such a long time,” she said.
“Before I had my hip fixed I was hitting it quite well and getting back into it, after Finland, but then being on crutches changed that.
“I’d like to make the cut; I’d be chuffed if I made the cut, but then if I make the cut I’ll want to do even better, because that’s what you do! Realistically, I played nine holes this morning and was one over for the nine. The course condition is nice, it’s a little long for me and was raining this morning so lost a little length. You’ve got some big second shots and you’ve got to hit it well off the tee to get in position. It’s not the same pressure as what I used to have and I don’t see it in the same way, but I think I will be very nervous on Thursday morning, because I was always nervous playing golf! It’s an experience and I guess there are not too many people in the world who played a high standard of amateur golf and go back and decide to do something different but I’ve never really left the game, I’ve just been working in other areas.”