Jess Baker and Rosie Belsham ready for the next step

After four years of college golf in the US, Northumberland’s Jess Baker and Rosie Belsham have returned home to the UK and set their sights on turning professional later this year.

Rosie graduated from Baylor University after becoming the first golfer in the programme’s history to make it to nationals in each of her four years with the team. She also won two individual titles – in Mexico in the spring of 2023, and in Hawaii in the fall of 2023.

“It’s really hard to sum up how important the last four years have been for me,” said Whitley Bay-based Rosie. “Going to nationals four times, winning twice individually, winning six events in a row as a team in my freshman year – there were so many amazing highlights.

“Winning is so hard and my first individual win at Guadalajara was so important. I hope I can find the place I was in that week again – it was just so special.

“I’ve grown up so much in the last four years and I’m 100-times better than when I arrived in Texas – I’ve really learned how to play tournament golf,” added Rosie.

Meanwhile, Jess has graduated from the University of Central Florida after four years in the US, the biggest win of her career to-date in the summer of 2022 at the British Amateur, and playing in women’s majors and tour events throughout 2023.

“I’ve grown so much in the last four years and there were a lot of emotions as I left UCF for the last time,” said Jess – who also tied the conference scoring record with Bryson DeChambeau during her time in Florida. “There was a lot ending in those last few days, but there’s a lot starting too. I’m proud of what I’ve done in the last four years, and I’ve worked and played with so many amazing people.”

Rosie and Jess are now set to focus on events in the UK and Europe this summer, both on the amateur circuit and LET Access Series, before turning professional ahead of Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in Morocco in December.

“I’m looking forward to one last run at the big amateur events,” added Rosie. “I’ve also got some LET Access events too, and maybe even the Curtis Cup if I can have a great summer. From there, I’m ready to turn professional. I’ve figured out my routine and what I need to do to play good golf on the road – I’m as ready as I’ll ever be after four years at Baylor.”

“I’ve got a busy summer too,” added Jess. “The next few months will be about building experience and I’m lucky to have tempted [Northern Golfer columnist] Sean Russell out of retirement to caddy for me this summer, which will be such a massive help as I prepare to turn pro. The plan has been laid out since winning the amateur really. I wasn’t sure about turning pro and had to figure things out, but having been to the majors, I have to do it. Nothing is a certain, but I’m going to try my best and see what happens from there.”