3 Take-Aways From the LPGA Volvik Championship

JutanugarnCongratulations to Volvik winner, Ariya Jutanugarn, who posted a third consecutive LPGA Tour win. Our games will never, ever reach the heady heights of the women who played in our local LPGA event, but take heart. There’s info and insights from the week we can apply to our own games, however humble they may be.

3 Take-Aways from the Volvik Championship

  1. Be flexible – Make a game plan to fit the situation. Jutanugarn is one of the longest hitters on the tour, but Travis Pointe held too many risks for her usual game. “It’s really hard for me because I can’t hit my driver and I really have to have a good game plan,” she said.
  2. Learn to play with pressure. Known for her final round meltdowns and 10 missed cuts last year, Jutanugarn has worked on her mental game. ”I didn’t know how to control when I got very nervous,” she said. Rather than simply relying on her pre-shot routine, Jutanugarn’s coaches have taught her to focus on slower tempos and less tension in the shoulders. Find a go-to shot that feels comfortable. Jutanugarn birdied 4 of the last 6 holes!
  3. Good sportsmanship is never out of style. Finishing her winning round, the victor was swarmed by other players spraying her with water. Runner-up Christina Kim remarked, “There really hasn’t been a player like her in my generation. The way she powers the ball, it’s remarkable. And she has such imagination around the golf course and incredible touch. She’s kind and she’s got a beautiful smile. Honestly, I can’t say enough about her.”

Master Mentor – Gayle Champagne

Gayle Champagne, centerGayle Champagne started playing golf to avoid answering the phone.  On Friday afternoons the guys at the ad agency would ask, “Gayle, would you cover my calls?” as they headed for the course with a client. Pretty soon Gayle was out there too.  (That’s Gayle sitting between Carolin Dick and me).
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She REALLY took to the sport, organizing trips up north for dozens of women at a time, landing a job at Golf For Women magazine, becoming an expert on the pleasures and perils of business golf.  She’s been involved with the American Junior Golf Association for 16 years and is currently President of the Board of Directors of that national nonprofit. That’s in addition to her full time job at Self Magazine! This is a woman who gives to golf!
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I met Gayle the year I started playing golf – before I had golf shoes OR a golf swing.  She hit a ball 90 yards over a little patch of wetland and I thought she was a golf goddess.  What really stuck with me though, was the way she inspired a new player, with just the right blend of humor and helpfulness.  I so appreciated the time she spent with me.

Whenever I play with Gayle I get inspired.  So with summer on the wane, I’ve made a pledge – to get out there and play with some new golfers, to pass on those good golf feelings.
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Once again, Gayle, thanks!

Mind Management in Golf

Holistic or half-baked, savvy or silly, whatever your opinion, the coaching methods of two women have taken the LPGA by storm.  Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott have the pros singing and “snowboarding” on the Tour.
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Both have serious golf backgrounds.  Nilsson spent 5 years on the LPGA tour, 10 years as head coach of the Swedish Women’s National team, and was Annika Sorenstam’s long time mentor.  Marriott worked for years as the LPGA’s director of teacher training.  Together they teach a “whole person” approach, going beyond stance and swing to focus on a player’s spiritual, social, physical, mental and emotional needs.
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Brittany Lincicome sings and whistles Keith Urban country songs after each shot. Suzann Pettersen counts out loud. Italy’s Giulia Sergas pretends to snowboard.  Others write inspiring words in their visors or recite funny movie lines.  It’s a whole new world of mind management in golf.  Read all about it in 7/15/09  Wall Street Journal article.

Women on Golf Course – Suzy Whaley

Suzy Whaley became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event (2003). She’s a top female instructor and an active and eloquent promoter of women’s golf.
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In PGA Magazine, Whaley writes that for many women, golf is a 5,000-calorie helping of Hungarian goulash.  Her article is aimed at instructors and others interested in growing women’s golf, but her perceptions ring true for us recreational players too.  Focus on playing moves instead of swinging moves is the main idea, and it’s an interesting approach to finding success on the course.  Read Suzy Whaley’s article.