Jacksonville’s Kaitlyn Schroeder looks forward to Augusta National Women’s Amateur

Golfer Kaitlyn Schroeder prepares to hit a shot during the Annika Invitational Junior Am on Friday at Slammer & Squire. (News4Jax)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville’s Kaitlyn Schroeder has won a lot of golf tournaments, but she admits she’s never played in an event quite like the one she will next weekend.

Schroeder is one of 72 women in the field for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur scheduled to be played at the iconic course March 29-April 1.

Schroeder can’t recall a time Augusta National wasn’t on her mind as a golfer.

“Probably since I’ve been into golf,” Schroeder said. “I think every golfer has heard ‘watch the Masters.’ It’s just such an iconic place.”

Schroeder is one of the top amateurs in the world. Last year, she won the Girls Junior PGA Championship and was named the AJGA Rolex girls junior player of the year.

She also played in the U.S. Junior Solheim Cup in 2021. Her expectations for the tournament go beyond simply her performance.

“I have pretty high expectations. But I’m just really excited to step on property,” Schroeder said. “For the chairman’s dinner, that will be my first time there, getting to have dinner in the clubhouse is going to be a really cool experience — driving down Magnolia Lane. A lot of people don’t get to do that.”

This is also a rare opportunity to play on a course that she can scout beforehand. After all, Augusta National is on video games, and you can find videos of past Masters tournaments and other events at the course.

“Especially, the back nine, because I feel like you’ve watched the back nine every year when you watch the Masters,” Schroeder said. “So, I feel like you are definitely more comfortable going into it because you at least can see it. Obviously, it’s a lot different in person than it is on TV because I’ve heard of how hilly it is and you don’t see it on TV. But I definitely think with the green surface, you can really watch on TV like how the ball is rolling out where to leave it little things like that, that can help you when you’re playing there.”

Schroeder enrolled at the University of Alabama in January where she admitted there were some adjustments to be made from being homeschooled in high school.

“I had a lot more time for golf probably than if I had gone to high school,” Schroeder said. “The first couple of weeks here I really had to manage my time efficiently compared to when I was homeschooled. Going to class takes up more of your time. So, I think that’s the biggest difference. College classes take up a lot of time. So, you really have to manage your schedule well.”

The field at Augusta National will include golfers from the United States as well as Japan, Sweden, England, Australia, Germany, Canada, Scotland, Belgium, Spain, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Korea, South Africa, Colombia, Italy, New Zealand and China.

“I feel like this is definitely one of the most international fields I’ve played in,” Schroeder said. “I’ve played on a US Amateur and that one can get pretty international. This one is more like I would say maybe 50/50. So, I definitely think it’s a little more global compared to what I normally plan. But I think it’d be really good experience getting to play against more international players for sure.”

Schroeder will have the added help of her father, Scott, the golf coach at UNF, who will serve as Kaitlyn’s caddie for the tournament. Memories will be made and she hopes to have at least one specific photo to treasure after the event.

“I’ve seen so many pictures in the past with people on number 12 at Amen Corner hitting their shot there,” Schroeder said. “Especially like with my dad on the bag, if I could get a picture of me hitting with him right beside me, that would be really cool.”

This year marks the fourth playing of the tournament, and it will be televised on Golf Channel during the first two rounds. NBC will air the final round beginning at noon on April 1.