A season on the Ladies' European Tour's Access Series means it's now a case of access all areas for Pamela Pretswell.
Having served an impressive apprenticeship on the developmental circuit during the 2012 campaign, the 23-year-old from Hamilton is now set to stride out into the bright lights of the main stage. And it doesn't appear that Pretswell will suffer from stage fright when the curtain comes up on the 2013 season in Australia in January.
Composed and quietly confident, the former Ladies' British Open Amateur Strokeplay champion is relishing the prospect of life among the star attractions of the European women's professional scene.
Given the way the Bothwell Castle member's season has panned out, there is no reason why the Lanarkshire lass should feel daunted by what's to come. Having failed to earn her tour card as an amateur in the qualifying school final back in January, an undeterred Pretswell opted to compete on the Access Series and seek promotion that way. She stated that her target was the top three on the order of merit and, after talking the talk, she walked the walk. Victory on the tour in Sweden in May – she was the first amateur to claim a title on the series – propelled her to the top of the rankings and, with five other top-10 finishes throughout a consistent campaign, the order of merit crown would be hers come the end of the year.
"It's one thing saying what you want to achieve and another thing doing it," said Pretswell, who enjoyed Curtis Cup success with GB&I at Nairn in June before making the plunge into the pro ranks the following month. "That win in May gave me the belief that I could do it. Once I did that I changed my goals and set them a bit higher. I didn't just want top three, I wanted to win the order of merit. If you try to defend a position it can sometimes do more harm than good. It's best to keep setting targets and be positive."
As it turned out, falling at the final hurdle of the qualifying school has been something of a blessing in disguise for Pretswell. A remodelled swing, which was dismantled and built back up again with her coach, Alan Murdoch, was still bedding in at the start of the year and taking an unfinished article into tournament golf at the highest level would have been something of a perilous stab in the dark.
"I'm glad I didn't get my card then," she reflected. "I realised I was nowhere near ready. The way I've approached it has been much more beneficial. It's been stepping stones really instead of one big leap from the q-school. Look at Carly Booth. She won on the Access Series and then had two main tour wins not long after. It shows what can be done."
Booth is now firmly established at the top table and Pretswell is keen to hit the ground running in her own quest to gain a foothold. Early-season trips to Australia and New Zealand won't come cheap but, in the cut throat business of pro golf, you have to speculate to accumulate. Pretswell was forking out "maybe £600 to £800" a week on the Access Series and, given that she was an amateur in almost half of the 12 events she contested, you don't have to be a leading business analyst to understand the financial sacrifice.
"I think maybe the top three on the money list broke even and got a wee bit back," said Pretswell, who will represent Nairn Golf Club on the tour and will have backing in various guises from Aberdeen Asset Management, Glenmuir and Sunderland. "You're not going to make a living on these tours but you take the hit now and hope you get the rewards on the main tour."