Vanessa took her first swings as a five year old at The Briars Golf Club in Sutton. She was a member of the Wednesday Junior Golf program and spent many days playing with her father. Golf has always been a part of her life, but she never took it seriously until two years ago when after contemplating a career in swimming – she decided to commit to golf instead.
She joined PEAK Performance Golf in Vaughan where she met her current coach, Reggie Millage. Vanessa entered her first tournament shortly after and noted the improvements. Her coaches recognized she needed to work on her short game and tweak her swing. She explains, “Before I got to where I am today, shooting for par was ideal – so I would grind for pars. I had to change my mentality to try and grind out birdie putts as well.”
Vanessa also has a strenuous training schedule that has her working on her swing four times a week, and hitting up the gym as many as six times a week. She also meets regularly with a sports psychology coach.
Her commitment on and off the course has paid off immensely. After lowering her handicap from a 15 to a 1, she won the Ontario Junior Girls’ U19 Match Play Title last year at the Diamondback Golf Club, and finished fifth at the U17 Ontario Juvenile tournament at the Sawmill Creek Golf Resort.
A combination of good finishes throughout the summer qualified her for the World Jr. Championships in San Diego, California, where she finished in the middle of the pack. “I think I played the best golf of my life there. I was very happy with how I finished.”
Her success ended up getting her an invitation to Team Ontario, who she will be representing this summer. By chance, Team Ontario’s coach is also her coach at PEAK. Vanessa’s parents were very excited to find out she was asked to play. “I thought I might make the team, but it depended on some other golfers in front of me in the standings. Coach Millage called and I was extremely excited – I told my parents right away.”
Over the March break, Vanessa is playing with Team Ontario in a Match Play tournament versus the South Carolina Junior Golf Association in Myrtle Beach. She will also compete all over Canada including the Canadian Junior Championships in British Columbia, and aims to qualify for the US Jr. Girls’ Championship in Pebble Beach, California.
All of her recent successes haven’t diminished one of her proudest golf achievements. “I can beat my dad now. The first time I did was on vacation, and it was also the first time I broke 80. He shot an 84, I shot a 79. I did not stop chirping him.”
Vanessa is currently in California preparing for a tournament with Team Ontario, we wish her all the best this season!