It’s been a difficult year for pro golfer Maria Tulley - one plagued with injuries and illnesses and disappointing withdrawals - but one she hopes to use to make her even stronger in 2015.
Making her debut in the Let Access Series, 2014 had the potential to be a memorable year. However, after food poisoning in Turkey, a back injury during the UK tournament and a cricked neck in Morocco just last weekend, it’s been a year Maria would rather forget.
Rather than let it get her down, though, Maria is looking back at the whole experience as a learning curve and one that will help her enjoy a better 2015.
She said, “I’ve had terrible luck and to be honest, I can’t wait for 2014 to be over.
“Saying that, this was my first year in the Let Access Series and it was a real stepping stone. I took part in nine events and I’ve learned so much from the experience. I’ve learned loads about myself as a person and more about my golf and my swing. I’ve learned things about being on tour, like who to share with and what to bring.
“The girls I’m competing against have been doing this for four or five years, so I’m a baby in that respect, but I’m learning so much from them.
“The main thing I have learned is about fitness. You think you’re strong and then you do some sessions with a personal trainer and you can barely move the next day.
“You can see with Rory and Tiger that these days, it’s as much about fitness and strength as it is about golf skill.
“Being on tour I’m sitting there wondering why I’m getting injuries when in reality, I’m just not fit or strong enough.”
Maria has already started taking steps to improve this aspect of her game, including training with GL Fitness in Hailsham and working with the Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club’s first-team sports therapist.
She added, “I’ve been at GL Fitness for a few weeks now but I can already start seeing the difference. I’m doing some personal training sessions and my trainer knows his stuff about golf, which really helps.
“I’m going to start 2015 with a couple of weeks in Spain doing some warm weather training and just keep up the fitness training throughout the year.
“My main aim for next year is to just play as much golf as I can. I’m currently looking for sponsorship so I can play more than nine events but the most important thing is playing as much as I can because that’s the thing that will give me the most experience and help me improve the most.
“I wouldn’t have been able to make the progress I have done this year without my sponsor Tradesmith Ltd, Vicki Cowen and everybody at Eastbourne Downs Golf Club, especially Terry Marshall.
“It has been a difficult year but the highlight is definitely finishing one point away from qualifying for the British Open. Knowing I could compete at that level and be just one point away was a massive confidence boost. The ultimate aim is to get on the Ladies European Tour.”