McCall biding his time before turning pro

NO RUSH: Gore golfer Vaughan McCall.
NO RUSH: Gore golfer Vaughan McCall.

Leading New Zealand amateur golfer Vaughan McCall is eyeing next year's Eisenhower Trophy and the Asian Amateur and has no immediate plans to turn professional.

The 22-year-old's focus this year has been on testing his game in United States conditions.

He also spent time on Melbourne's famous sandbelt, managed to overcome a nagging shoulder injury and worked hard on his short game.

McCall is hoping that experience and diligence will pay dividends next year when he competes in his second Eisenhower, the world amateur teams championship, in Japan.

The Gore Golf Club member made his debut in the biennial event in Turkey in 2012 in a New Zealand team which tied for 24th. McCall was New Zealand's best player at the tournament, finishing tied for 13th overall.

"[Eisenhower] will be the absolute pinnacle for my year next year, and straight after that is the Asian Amateur at Royal Melbourne, where the winner gets into the [US] Masters. I've played at Royal Melbourne six or seven times now so I'm getting more familiar with it."

McCall's experience in the United States has convinced him that that is where his future lies.

"It was massive. Going over there and seeing what it's like, I realised that 'this is me, this is where I want to be'. Now I've identified that that's where I want to be, I have to work backwards from there to get a pathway of how I'm going to get there," he said.

"Watching Michael Hendry, he's going through the Asian tour from Auckland. That's a 12-hour flight and it's similar to the States, so you could do it from here. I could be the first person from Gore to crack it from here - how cool is that?"

McCall has seen several talented New Zealand players his age head to the professional ranks, eager to earn some money and get away from the grind of playing the same tournaments all the time.

"I've put that in a basket and called it incredibly emotional. What I've done is identified where I want to turn pro and what are their numbers versus what are my numbers and identified the gap I need to bridge. To get to the [PGA] tour I needed to massively work on my game inside 40m and that's what I did," he said.

"I've taken that emotional side right out and turned it into a business decision. I'm pretty critical on my numbers and the areas I can improve - I'm waiting for something to tell me that I'm ready to go pro."

While he's in no hurry to leave his amateur status behind, McCall hopes to turn professional some time in the next four years.

After a successful season, including qualifying for the US Amateur, McCall's passion for golf is strong.

"Something that I'm enjoying more than ever is my practice. A couple of days ago it was torrential rain in Gore for about 20 minutes, I got soaked right through and I was just loving being there. Two years ago I would have picked up the clubs and gone inside and waited for it to clear. There's something about me that's keeping me there, I love it."

The Southland Times