Sophie Powell on the struggles of women’s professional golf and how she hit the headlines for her campervan adventure

Professional sport can be tough at the best of times.

Whether it be the pressure of football or the financial pressure of competing in a sport where the riches aren’t as great as others.

Sophie Powell from Manchester is one of those who knows all about how tough competing professionally can be.

She began playing golf when she was 15, turning professional at 22 before going on to compete on what is the women’s equilivant of the Challenge Tour, the one below the European Tour.

After a difficult first year since turning professional she has enjoyed some success, but while playing abroad the Covid crisis struck earlier this year.

In the summer she returned to action and hit the headlines on the Rose Ladies Series when she travelled to the south of England and slept in her friend’s campervan while competing.

It gave the golfer a lot of exposure with the story covered by the national media, and she is hoping to now kick on and get amongst the prizes in her upcoming competitions with a big one coming in South Africa in the new year.

She explained: “It was an experience to be honest.

“All the hotels were filled up by NHS staff who had priority at that time because of Covid.

“So I was going to go down and stay in my car, and it didn’t bother me that all the competitions were down south.

“Anyway a friend said it don’t be silly you can use my campervan, so I put an airbed in the back and it was great, I actually quite enjoyed it.

“There was a fire near the course when I was playing at Wenworth too and it stopped our round, so it was quite a trip to be honest.”

The online exposure led to a generous donation towards Sophie’s costs from an Australian couple.

“The story got out there and I got some good exposure in the end, and it led to a randon couple from Australia sending me £600 go to towards food and other things.

“I don’t know why they did it, I guess they were golf fans.”

Sophie has given a glimpse of what life is like when playing professional golf in the women’s game.

The riches aren’t as big as the men’s game, which mean sponsorship deals are paramount.

She currently has one but she has revealed that without one it is difficult.

She explained: “My first year was tough. I had problems at home but I got a sponsor and that is a huge help.

“It is difficult financially if you are not in the money regularly, so sponsors are a big help.

“Even on the full women’s pro tour some still don’t have caddies because they cost about £1,000 a time.”

With South Africa set to be the next port of call for the Manchester based golfer, she is now setting her sights on a full tour card by 2022.

And then it could be the name S. Powell we could be seeing on the leaderboards at top tournaments across the world.

She added: “The costs that all come together do mount up like travel and paying for coaches.

“So that is why a good sponsor is key.

“My ambition is to get my full tour card by 2022 and they just keep going forward when we’re all back to normal.”

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