Cooney and Black

The golden girl of golf appeared happy and contented. But personal problems meant that Carly Booth had hit rock bottom. Now she’s back, older and wiser, and ready to justify all the hype

Carly Booth

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CARLY BOOTH was the golden girl who seemingly had it all – model looks, a bubbly personality and bags of talent.

The youngest-ever Scot to qualify for the Ladies European Tour at the age of 17, six years after becoming the youngest ladies’ club champion in Britain, Booth justified the hype when she won twice in 2012.

But then it all started to go wrong for the girl who stripped off the following year for an ESPN photo-shoot, culminating in a split with her long-time boyfriend, Argentine professional Tano Goya.

During her dramatic form slump, the 22-year-old, from Comrie, in Perthshire, says her self-belief disappeared. Booth continued to give the impression via social media that she was happy and contented.

But deep down she was struggling and admits: “I wasn’t a happy person. I was in a bad place and I hit rock bottom earlier this year, just after Mission Hills, due to personal things.

“I don’t really want to go into it. But it went on for about a year and a half.” Even through the dark times, Booth still managed to appear as if she was enjoying life.

She confesses: “I did it very well, didn’t I? I’m very good at that and I wanted you all to think that. But it was hard, a grind and I was trying to find ways to make it all better.”

Booth was accused of having too much fun off the golf course to the detriment of her game.

But she says: “What fun? It was more of a cover. Well, maybe not a cover as such, but it was an impression I gave. I wasn’t a happy person and I was in a bad place.”

However, since her China meltdown, Booth has begun turning the corner, to the extent that she claims: “I have started to find my feet and I’m finally in a good place; a happy place, both in my game, and in my mental side.

“It’s all just starting to come together nicely and it’s a shame there has been a break since Turkey last month because I felt I could get into a nice rhythm.

“I have changed my coach to Daniel Haughian and everything is simpler. He has made everything more centred. I think that the style of swing my previous coach wanted me to produce was just not fitting for me. Now I feel I’m more in control and I have more idea where the ball is going to go.

“Daniel has actually become my best friend and a shoulder for me. I can talk to him about anything, and he is such a positive person. He is so upbeat and fun to be around. He brings out my good side and Turkey was great.

“I swear it was the first week in a couple of years where I actually enjoyed being at a tournament. Without going into too many details, it has been a learning process.”

Speaking at a media day to promote next month’s Ladies’ Scottish Open at Dundonald Links, in Ayrshire, which marked her maiden win on the LET Tour, Booth says she never stopped working hard to turn her game around.

But she reveals: “While I was working hard; doing my best, in my golf and my fitness, I think I lost it on the mental side. My belief had gone. But it is something I’ve gradually started to overcome and I’m now on the right side of it, I feel.

“I have a good team around me and I’m in a better, happier place off the golf course. That’s why my golf is starting to come along.”

In spite of the mistakes she readily admits she has made, Booth is adamant that she has no regrets.

“Yes, there are loads of things where I can say, ‘oh, I wish I didn’t do that’, but you know what, I am who I am today. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and it’s a whole process,” she stresses.

“You try to do things differently and try to make them better. You need to be positive instead of thinking, ‘oh God, that was bad.’”
She also believes she can get her game back to the standard she achieved in 2012, explaining: “Now I can just focus on me, and put myself first.

“Golf is now my priority and I want to get back in the winner’s circle very soon.”

It sounds like Carly has grown up, but she adds: “Yes and no. I actually think I’m a very mature 22. This is my sixth year on tour and every day is a learning process: to have the nous to learn and improve – that’s life.

“I feel like I’m 30, I’ve been out here so long. So I actually feel like I have age on my side.”

Meanwhile, it appears that former Manchester United star Dwight Yorke is in the process of carving out a new career as a professional golfer, according to Carly.

She revealed that the ex-midfield ace has plans to join the European Tour’s senior circuit when he turns 50.

“I met Dwight at the Gary Player Invitational in South Africa in 2010 and we’ve stayed in touch,” she added.

“We have the same coach, and Dwight’s trying to get ready for the senior tour. He’s 43 and he’s got time. It will be interesting to see.”

   
PICTURE BY: Andre Engelmann

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