There’s no place quite like home, so it’s no surprise that Scotland’s top female golfer Catriona Matthew relishes any chance to play in her own back yard.
But it’s not just the opportunity to play on the courses where she honed her skills as a teenager that makes Scottish tournaments so appealing.
For Matthew (46) it’s the chance to spend a few extra days with her young family before she packs her bags and boards another flight.
She’ll be enjoying home comforts when she takes part in the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open at Dundonald Links in North Ayrshire next month.
“It’s very different now that I am a mum and both the girls are both in school. I used to travel so much, but now I never travel for longer than three weeks at a time and then I make sure I’m home for two weeks,” says Matthew, who is based in North Berwick.
“It’s great to be able to come home and to play in Scotland: I guess everyone enjoys any opportunity they can get to return home and play in their own country. My time off is valuable because I can spend it with my family.
“I really enjoyed the layout of Dundonald last year, but how well you play on any links course really comes down to the weather. If it’s not windy it will be a great course, but if the wind picks up it will be a tough test.”
Matthew, who is an ambassador for Aberdeen Asset Management, won her Women’s British Open title just 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, and the girls regularly travelled with her before they started school.
Although daughters Katie, aged nine, and seven-year-old Sophie now remain at home, her husband, Graeme, is often with her on tour. A former scratch golfer, Graeme is Matthew’s caddie – a role he has scaled back recently – and will be alongside her at Dundonald from July 22 to 24.
She hopes he’ll also be by her side when she embarks on one of the major milestones of her 22-year professional career this summer. Matthew will represent Team GB in the women’s competition, along with English youngster Charley Hull. It’s the first time that golf has been played in an Olympic Games in 112 years and may be her only chance of becoming an Olympian.
Matthew’s daughters and husband will be in Brazil – and she’ll join them in watching some of the other sports in action – but she intends to soak up the full Olympic experience by living in the athlete’s village.
“Winning a gold medal would be fantastic: I watched the Olympics growing up but as a golfer taking part was never my goal when my sport has not been a part of it,” she commented.
The 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open takes place at Dundonald Links on the West Coast of Scotland in North Ayrshire, from 22-24 July. The event now occupies a prime spot on the Ladies European Tour calendar, sitting just one week ahead of the Women’s British Open and offers a prize fund of €500,000.
The event’s unique pro-am format sees 80 amateurs and celebrities tee it up alongside a limited field of 80 of the top female golfers in the world. The 54-hole tournament is played over three days and is the only annual professional Ladies European Tour event in Scotland.
The event is free to attend with fun for all the family.
For more information visit www.ladiesscottishopen.com and follow @AberdeenLSO #AberdeenLSO