We’re looking back and looking forward!   Julie Otto was Suffolk’s most successful and highly influential lady golfer as an amateur and, at the height of that, her first golfing career, she was probably the finest amateur lady golfer in the world.

Learning the golf game at Felixstowe Ferry, she was a precocious talent who played for the County as a teenager, reduced her handicap to + status, became a very young County Captain and was largely responsible for helping the Suffolk team to the County Finals.

She was regularly Suffolk Champion and still holds the course record at Aldeburgh where she returned a six-under par 68 in the County Strokeplay Championship in the early nineties. She won the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship twice, Captained England at the World Amateur Team Championships and played in five Curtis Cup teams.

Julie chose to remain an amateur because she enjoyed the life and she forged a career in golf alongside her playing activities, working for the R & A.     Here she met her husband, Steve Otto, the R & A’s Director of Research and Testing.   They adopted three sons but, while the boys keep Julie very busy, she is still not busy enough because she decided that she would at last turn pro and concentrate on coaching average golfers and, based at Elie Golf Club near St Andrews, she is doing that very successfully.

She has recently won the prestigious Whitcomb Cox trophy and become the top female assistant.   She was the best performer in the golf coaching exams and topped the Golf Pride sponsored equipment technology module.

Now 48 years old, Julie was described by PGA Chief executive Sandy Jones as ‘ a shining ambassador for the game of golf’.

A bubbly, straight-talking character, Julie was always my favourite correspondent when I was writing up the county golf scene for the East Anglian.   Extremely articulate, a five minute chat with her at the end of a day’s competitive golf would produce plenty of amusing and factual detail and it was particularly useful that her golf was always of such a standard that there were plenty of birdies and usually a flurry of eagles to write about.

It’s great to know that her new career as a golf coach is proving as satisfying as her earlier one with golf clubs in hand.  Her ‘Wednesday Ladies’ group is lucky to have her on their side.

Congratulations, Julie.