- Golfer Benefits
Millis native Camden Morrison says her earliest memories of golf involved watching the Masters on TV with her father. She was equal parts obsessed with luscious green grass and beauty of Augusta National and motivated by the seemingly-impossible shots that Tiger Woods would execute on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
She was hooked and by 12 told her parents that one day she’d be a professional golfer. That started a journey that has taken her from a small-town student-athlete to a golf professional actively on the road to qualifying for the LPGA Tour.
Morrison, has spent several months per year on the road playing in Womens All Pro Tour events, state opens and now on the Epson Tour, where she played in the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in early March. When she’s back in Massachusetts, Morrison works as an assistant golf professional at Tedesco Country Club in Marblehead.
Last year she made it to Stage II of LPGA Q-School Qualifying and is embracing the grind that it takes to make it to the sport’s highest level.
A portion of this interview with Morrison will be featured in the upcoming Spring 2022 edition of MassGolfer Magazine. The following is the full interview.
MassGolfer: You told you parents at age 12 you wanted to be a professional golfer. What gave you that confidence to get where you are now?
Camden Morrison: It sounds so funny now because I didn’t grow up in a golf family, and I’m sure my parents thought I was a little crazy. My parents put me in a 3-day golf clinic at Bayberry Hills Golf Course, and [former PGA Tour pro] Jim Hallet was there. I was using my great-grandfather’s heavy clubs on the range and I kept whiffing. But [Jim] stopped me and said, ‘You have such an incredible golf swing’ and I looked at him like ‘what are you talking about?’ But he offered to give me a free lesson. That lesson is what really began the journey. I knew I could do it because this guy told me I had a natural golf swing.
From there it was a lot of work ethic and my parents, they didn’t totally understand it and they were supportive. Back then, Glen Ellen Country Club in my hometown had this incredible junior program. My mom got a pool membership, and she’d leave me to go play golf. I remember I just loved putting and practicing lag putts on their massive green.
I recently thought about teenage Camden, and I think she would be proud to see me going after it.
MG: Aside from the lesson from Hallet who really helped shape your golf swing and development?
CM: When I aged out of the junior program at Glen Ellen, my dad met the head pro at Maplegate Country Club, Greg Dowdell, and he was the guy who took me under his wing. I worked for him with him for 10 years, and he pretty much taught me everything he knew. He gave me a job at Maplegate which allowed me to play and practice. So by the time I was like 15, I was helping him with his golf clinics and practicing and just working on my game.
MG: Did working at Maplegate give you the idea that you were going to have a career in golf one way or the other?
CM: It was eye opening me to me to learn that in working at a golf course, it could offer you more opportunities. However, I’ve developed a mentality where I try not to think about the backup plan. If you start to think about your backup plan too much, sometimes you start to plan for it and then you just find yourself settling on it instead of going full force at that Plan A.
MG: Last year you made it to Stage II of Q-School but came up short of the final round. What have you been working on to take that next step?
CM: When I went to Stage II, I learned a lot about myself and my ability. I was proud with how I played because of how hard I had to grind to shoot those scores. I was so mentally tough and proud for staying in it. My caddie, [Springfield Country Club pro] E.J. Altobello, was great. I learned you have to say so present and so committed to every shot you’re hitting to take that next step.
So now when you are in a tournament, the only thing that matters is that one shot that you’re hitting right now, and then you just commit to that and you swing with full force full trust. Then then the result no longer matters because you did everything you could could control to hit that shot. I feel as though that’s the difference maker to people that want to go to that next step.
Earlier this month was my first Epson Tour start, and I was so nervous. My friend, C.J. Konkowski, was on the bag. I was 7-over thru 7, but he said, ‘sometimes you level up and you play great and sometimes you level up and you don’t play great. But it’s the fact that you leveled up, and you need to remember that.’
MG: What’s been your craziest travel story so far?
CM: I once drove 15 hours straight from Arkansas to North Carolina after an event. But even worse, I played in the Texas Women’s Open and missed the cut. It was 1 p.m. and I was ticked off at how I played. I got in my car and I started driving to Tallahassee, Florida, and I think I got there at 3 a.m. I was so exhausted and miserable and my whole body hurt the next day.
MG: How supportive has Tedesco been in your playing pursuits?
CM: They are incredible. They put up with all of it, and I adore them. Ryan Train, the head golf pro, he texts me all the time and says, ‘play hard, do what you got to do, we’ll figure it out.’ They want me to play, the members want me to play, which is nice. It takes away that fear of wondering what happens if I start playing really well.
MG: What do you remember most about your junior golf experience?
CM:My first competition was the 2012 Girls’ Junior Amateur at Braintree Municipal Golf Course. I signed up for it, I saved a bunch of money and I told my dad “this is how I’m going to get a scholarship.” I had never shot in the 70s, but I shot 73-75, and won the Silver Division.
That was when I started to realize that the higher the stakes the better I play. In Q-School, the first time I went, I was bottom of the leaderboard after Round 2 and had to shoot super low the next day to make the cut, and I fired a 69 and made it. Once I’m inside the ropes, I calm down and I’m more relaxed.
MG: When you are back home in Massachusetts and don’t have work to do, where do you like to play?
CM: Ideally Boston Golf Club. I love that place, but I rarely get asked to play there. I really love playing at Tedesco. It’s fun, greens are in great shape. Another place I go if I get invited is Myopia Hunt Club. Just like Boston Golf Club, you forget about life when you’re there and you just enjoy it.
I might also play in the U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier this May at Worcester Country Club.