When Jason John and Lynn Furlotte told their only child that she could accomplish anything she puts her mind and heart into, they truly meant it – and just as important, she truly believed them. Today their daughter, Leah John, is 22 years old and is among a select group of elite athletes to be part of Golf Canada’s National Team Program.
Besides being regarded as one of the most promising amateur golfers in Canada, John is also an All-American Scholar at the University of Nevada where she is playing for the women’s golf team on a full scholarship.
That unique combination of high intellect, elite athleticism and talent is fully utilized by the five foot eight inch Canadian as she’s enjoyed notable recent success on the golf course.
John’s recent success on the links includes back to back British Columbia Women’s Amateur titles to go along with her maiden NCAA victory in February of 2022.
Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, young Leah spent time playing a number of sports. She was the type of gifted athlete that would excel at any sport she put her time and energy into. In high school, besides excelling on the golf course, she was also a star on the volleyball courts and the basketball courts.
Then at the age of 15, she made the decision to focus solely on golf.
“I chose golf because I personally felt it was the hardest sport out of all of them. I just found golf to be the most mentally and physically challenging; and I love challenges and being outdoors,” John pointed out.
After dedicating herself fully to the sport of golf, John soon started seeing breakthrough results. In 2018, just after graduating from high school, the then 18-year-old recorded a runner up finish at the B.C. Junior Girls’ Championship.
“I had shot four under the first day and led most of the tournament and ended up coming in second. It gave me a lot of confidence to do that against the best juniors in the province who had a lot more experience than me,’” she recalled.
After taking a gap year to hone her game, the Vancouver native earned a scholarship to the University of Nevada.
“It was a smaller school which was great because I felt that sense of community. They had the coaches, mentors, the resources, and the facilities to help me to develop as a player and a person. The school had all the things I was looking for,” she said.
John’s passion for golf grew during her time at the University of Nevada and that passion comes through in her positive and confident approach on the course.
“I like to have fun. You might see me laughing out there in between shots; but I’m always ready to grind also,” she noted.
That positive and confident mindset has served her well. In the summer of 2021, John recorded the most notable win of her young career when she captured the B.C. Women’s Amateur Championship.
Building on the momentum of that big triumph, John would record her first NCAA victory by capturing The Show at Spanish Trail in February of 2022.
“On the third day, the conditions were very windy and I was trying my best to hold on to the lead. I hit some good shots and some not so good shots but found a way to win; and learned a lot about myself during that tournament,” said John of her maiden NCAA victory.
In the summer of 2022, she would defend her title at the British Columbia Women’s Amateur.
While winning in her province in two consecutive years is great, John said it was extra special to be able to share it with her family.
“My dad caddied for me in those two events and they were special wins for us. It brings me a lot of joy to think about that. My parents have always been my biggest supporters and it’s hands down the best time we spent together,” she said.
“Getting those wins in front of family and friends was just amazing and something I will always remember.”
The recent success on the golf course has John eager for more. And she believes her selection into Golf Canada’s National Team Program will give her the opportunity to reach her full potential as a golfer.
“I want to play this sport professionally and I want to be the best player I can be and the objective of the Program is to help us achieve that goal. I’m grateful Golf Canada sees the potential in me,” said John.
National Team women’s head coach, Salimah Mussani, speaks highly about John’s potential and her dedication to being the best version of herself.
“Leah is super powerful. She has the fastest club head speed on our team. She’s also very eager to learn and is very receptive and open to hearing feedback and exploring different things,” Mussani pointed out about the first year National Team member.
“She’s got all the talent and is also very dedicated; has a great work ethic and a great attitude. These are the type of things that could push her to that next level.”
Currently in her fifth year at the University of Nevada, the 22-year-old Canadian has her mind and heart set on playing the sport professionally at the highest level after she graduates.
As she prepares for that exciting journey ahead, she is motivated and inspired to see the success of other Canadians who have been through the National Team Program such as Brooke Henderson, Corey Conners, and Mackenzie, Hughes, just to name a few.
“Everyone has their own paths but if they did it and this is what it looks like then it gives me confidence to know that I’m following in their footsteps by being in this Program,” said John.
“It gives me a lot of trust that I’m doing the right things and gives me motivation to work even harder to achieve my goals.”