Celebrated golfer Julie Otto, formerly Julie Hall, has decided that the time is right to try her luck as a professional.
The exceptional amateur only turned pro last year at the age of 44 and competed in the Women’s Bank Open in Finland on the LET Access Series last month.
She played incredibly well considering that she had only played eight rounds of golf this season, finishing in a share of 14th place with rounds of 75, 72 and 70 and improving every day!
Julie is a former English and British international golfer who not only had a successful amateur playing career but more latterly has been involved in the administration of the game to the very highest level culminating in the position of Assistant Director - Rules at The R&A.
She has refereed at nine Open Championships, a Solheim Cup, Walker Cup and at numerous tournaments on the men’s PGA European Tour.
She is currently working as a PGA assistant professional based at Elie Sports Club in Fife and, with a young family, is building up a career as a golf coach.
Julie played in five Curtis Cup matches for Great Britain and Ireland against the United States of America from 1988-1996, on four sides which were successful and rates her British Amateur Championship victory at Royal Portrush in 1995 as the highlight of her illustrious playing career.
Despite having won numerous international events across the world, Julie eventually decided to leave the competitive game as the reigning British Champion after the 1996 Curtis Cup Match and chose a different path, moving on to a role with the Ladies' Golf Union in St Andrews before joining the staff of The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews.
When asked if she ever regretted retiring from playing early rather than turning professional at that time Julie responded: “I just chose a different path within the game and firmly believe that you can never regret a decision that is the best decision at the time. I now have three young children and as they all grow older and are in school I hope to find time to see where golf takes me once more.” Golf is definitely in the family as Julie is married to Dr Steve Otto, The R&A’s Director of Research and Testing.
She now hopes to play some competitive golf again next season to compliment her studies to become a qualified PGA Professional. “Four years ago I was told by a surgeon when I ruptured my wrist that it would be unlikely that I would ever play golf again, I certainly enjoy a challenge so those comments were like a red rag to a bull!” she said. Julie enjoyed her time competing in the recent Women’s Bank Open at Hillside Golf Club in Helsinki and said: “It was quite strange in some ways in that I haven’t competed in so long so it felt quite strange but as the competition started it felt like yesterday again. It was certainly enjoyable and I was quite pleased to have played reasonably well and proved to myself that I could still bat it round. The event was very well run and a compliment to the organisation of the LET Access Tour.” She even ran into an old friend from her amateur days in Ana Larrañeta.
“Years and years ago when she was playing for Spain we competed against each other on numerous occasions. In Finland, I was walking along a path and she looked at me and I said: “I’m back!” She laughed in the only way Ana can!”
Julie has a tear in the cartilage of her hip, which requires surgery in the coming weeks. However, if her recovery is as swift as her progress during the recent Women’s Bank Open, then the younger players may need to watch out for the new star on tour next year!