The Honest Truth About My Life on Tour with Isla | Part I
This obviously cannot be condensed into one Blog.. but this is my experience traveling with my daughter and how I went about things. This is my personal story and another mama on Tour probably has a completely different experience but this was mine. I will say I would have NEVER been able to even attempt doing this without our LPGA Daycare. Bardine May and Joy Dods are amazing women that I will forever be grateful for.
My first event back out was the 2018 Founders Cup in Scottsdale, AZ. March 14th ish. Isla turned 4 months old on the 14th so thats why I remember that date. Leading up to the event I did the best I could trying to get myself and my game in shape. I stayed active during my pregnancy playing/taking lessons/working out because I didn’t want to lose too much ground. The competition on the LPGA is lit AF right now so its not like you can just go out there and wing it and shoot like, a couple over and expect to make a check…. so I knew I needed to hit the ground running. I got back together with my coach Robert Sherwood from my junior years in my home town (Murrieta, represent!!) and we made some great strides with my swing, changing things to fit my new “delicate” condition (pregnant & injured.. not an ideal combo for a Tour Player.) I was super stoked to get back out there, as sitting around pregnant and fat isn’t like, fun (some people have a completely different view on this and more power to them but I personally didn’t love being pregnant.) I also had an amazingly easy pregnancy. No sickness, I felt great for the most part so that was a huge reason why I was able to keep so active and keep my game up. I consider myself super lucky!
Anyways, I was so excited to get back out there. I was also happy our first four events were relatively local for me so that was nice to kind of ease my way back into it and ease my way into traveling with an infant. So the first week back out was exciting. However, i had to stop breastfeeding, and it happened pretty abruptly. I didn’t want the added stress of having to pump and figure out how to store everything. So I breast fed her for four months and then made the decision to stop once I got back out on tour. I loved breastfeeding and would have loved to do it for much longer, but for me it wasn’t practical for what was ahead of us.
My first round back out felt great. I felt like I was on a high, like a horse that was kept in their stall dying to get out and race. I didn’t care that I hadn’t slept or was exhausted trying to balance everything. It hadn’t caught up to me yet. I literally slept for 2 hours the night before my first round. Isla was NOT a good sleeper. She literally woke up to eat every 2-3 hours. But I was determined to prevail over the sleep deprivation. I missed the cut that week but I hit the ball as good as ever… I just couldn’t make a putt to save my life.
Second week out was the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, CA. Happily close to home, but I was by myself this week because my husband was gone and my mom had to work. Again, stoked to be out playing so the exhaustion hadn’t hit me yet, Isla waking up every 2-3 hours. I made the cut this week and again, hitting it better than ever. Couldn’t buy a damn putt though. Isn’t that funny how that works? My whole career I relied on my short game and putting since I struggled with ball striking consistency and then once I started to figure that out I couldn’t make a putt.. go figure! I guess thats why Golf is a four letter word..
Okay so the ANA is now here. Our first major of the year and my personal favorite event. There is just something so magical and special about playing in the Desert. It has such a regal feel to it. Even though I was close to home I was flying solo… and this is where it started to catch up to me. Majors take even more mental toughness and focus than regular events due to the tougher course conditions and just that fact that it is such a big event. I didn’t play poorly but I remember standing over a chip shot during Thursdays round which should have been a no brainer for me, and as I was over the ball, I just had zero gas left. It had caught up to me. I was standing over the ball and I knew. I knew I was out of it and would have to really dig deep to finish the round and the tournament. That is not a great feeling on Thursday of a Major!!!!! I missed the cut by 1 or 2 shots, I forget.
And honestly, the rest of the year is a blur. HaHa. Sadly I played some of my best golf, but I just couldnt get it going and I couldn’t score. Like I said my putting kind of a took a hike on me. Maybe it was my lack of sleep and brain power, I don’t know. If you look at my putting stats for my career I have always been a Top 20 putter and one year I ranked 7th on the Tour. The Short Game is my bread and butter. So that was really frustrating for me to be struggling with it now.
Travel wise…..I travelled with a pack and play, a stroller, three suitcases , my golf clubs and a carry-on. I rented a mini van every week and I also rented a car seat every week because I didn’t want to travel with that too. Remember, I travelled 90 percent of the time by myself so I had to be creative. The suitcases were basically packed all for her. Blankets, Toys, Formula, Clothes. I just had my golf clothes and like 2 pairs of sweats (So Glamorous.) If I was able to drive to the next event I would. My longest drive was 9 hours but if you’ve ever flown with a baby and you have that much sh*t to travel with, driving is so much easier than flying! Everything took a little more work and planning ( like going out for dinner) but my baby did so amazing and what a special memory and experience we will always have together.
And lets not forget one very important X Factor here, or THE X Factor…. my injury. Honestly I can say that having a baby and traveling with her on my own even with the sleep deprivation would have been SO doable had I not been nursing my injury back to health on top of that. Any woman that is on the fence about having a family or not and still having a career, I don’t care what career you’re in… DO IT. It is the best thing you will ever do in your life and you WILL make it work. For me, the injury is what really set me back, having a family, which is my God given right and a direct gift from God, is NOT why I did not have the year I wanted. Plain and Simple, The injury on top of the baby and traveling alone was just really difficult for me to manage and overcome.
So, long story short, I had my worst year on tour and the hardest year of my life. Every part of my being was put to the test, I had to dig for every last drop of hope and courage that I could conjure up. My love for my beautiful daughter inspired me when I felt like giving up. During this time is when I also started to experience symptoms of Postpartum Anxiety (Gee, I wonder why haha.) But you know what? Im stronger. I have more life experience under my belt. I know what it feels like to feel like you have hit rock bottom and to pick your self back up and take the bull by the horns and say “NO, YOU ARE NOT CONTROLLING ME.” I learned how strong I am and it inspired me to start this blog and share my story in hopes of inspiring others to persevere through the tough times, because sunshine comes to all who feel rain.
I have Lifetime Status on the LPGA Tour (which I think is a stellar accomplishment) so this means that I will still be able to play this year, or any year that I want to try to get back out ;-) Now that is something to be grateful for!
"do not lose hope, please believe that there are a thousand beautiful things waiting for you.
Sunshine comes to all who feel rain.”