Mindset

Hello from Singapore! I have just finished a partial practice round but unfortunately was rained out! Thankfully I have a great caddie that has walked the course and knows what we need to do even if I haven’t seen every hole.

On my last flight I was loaned a book about blogging from a friend on tour and if I learned only one things its that my blogs are probably too long! So, I’m going to start taking a different approach and write shorter (difficult task for me), but hopefully more often.

I just finished a very up and down week but for as many things that disappointed me I know that there were many positive to take aways as well. I write to my mental coaches at Vision54 every other week and thought maybe I would share with you what I wrote to them. A completely unfiltered look at what goes thru a tour players mind when they finish an event (or at least my crazy mind ;).

img_0822

*Dinner with the Fraser’s in Australia.  So great to see them every year!

So I started off by making a list of the positives:

-Bringing round 1 back from +4 to +1
-Making 7 birdies in round 2
-Making balance/tempo/tension practice a part of my daily routine (I could write a whole     blog about this, but just go with me here).
-Playing my first three holes of the day on the range
-Letting my “swing feel” come to me in the moment instead of deciding before the round (something I strive for).

img_0862

*Quick tuk-tuk ride to dinner for Audrey’s birthday in Thailand. 

Then I expressed what I felt where two areas I needed to improve on:

-I need to get my putting together. I feel I am all over the map. I find myself trying to “steer” my putts and become timid. I am focused on my stroke, even though I don’t want to be, and it results in a stroke that isn’t very fluid or natural. How can I step up and putt on the course as I do on the practice green?
-I found myself struggling to decide between my gut instinct and the “disciplined” shot. How can we work out which is the best time to use each?

img_0891

*Honda LPGA Thailand gala dinner with my roomie Angela and good friend Alena.

From here I will likely receive answers from them in the form of practice plans, ideas to try, and questions to ask myself in order to get to the bottom of it. While I know we can often make the game look easy its a forever learning process that requires assistance from coaches in the technical and mental areas. As a players, I think one of the easiest ways to help yourself get better is being able to distinguish when you need help technically vs. mentally. It is way to easy to call up your swing coach and blame it on him or her, when in reality you might just need to look in the mirror and face what’s going on inside your own mind. 🙂

img_0980

*Bitters and Love in Singapore. A must go if you’re ever in the city. 🙂

img_1021

*Breakfast with orangutans at the Singapore Zoo with Alena and Brittany!

I hope you enjoyed the insight today!

KK

Advertisements

Let’s Go!

Good Monday morning everybody! I absolutely can’t believe its been over 2 months since my last blog! Time has absolutely flown by and here I am in my 4th year on the LPGA already. I have had a great off season spending most of my time in Ft. Worth and just finished up a promising first event in the Bahamas.

Let’s start with the off season. I think if you took a poll and asked people what they thought we did in the off season you wold be surprised at the vast array of answers. I’ve heard everything from exercising and dieting to playing golf every day to working a part time job. In reality, everyone is pretty different. For myself, I need to stay away from the golf course from Thanksgiving thru the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful days where I would very much enjoy heading to the course for a few hours. However, I know in the long run, come around the end of August, I’m going to be glad I take that time off. The season is an incredibly long marathon, and as my coach likes to say, “you don’t run the Kentucky Derby every day.” Second, it’s a time that for a few precious weeks of the year I relish in the routine daily activities of a “normal” lifestyle. I love love LOVE what I do and the places I travel and the time I am away, but at the end of a 10 month golf/travel campaign, seeking normalcy is the best thing I can find.

While I tried my best to “stay put” in Ft. Worth and get to know my new home, there were a few occasions where I had to pack a bag and head to the airport. I went to Phoenix to escape a bad stretch of weather here in early January. I have great friends there to see and stay with and it was chance for me to see my mental coaches at Vision54 before the season started. It ended up being a very busy and productive trip. The cold weather in Texas was a blessing in disguise.

I also headed out to Carlsbad a week later for a club fitting. I had heard everyone talking so much about the new Callaway Epic driver so I was excited to test it out. It didn’t take me long to switch out all my old heads for the new Epic line. I played the driver, three wood, and five wood this week in the Bahamas. I stayed in California for a couple extra days and was very fortunate to play at Tradition in La Quinta and Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage (site of the ANA Inspiration, our first major). Tradition was really unlike anything I had every played. It took desert golf to a new level and how the course is positioned right against the mountains is just stunning. It was for sure one of the best days of my off season. I was especially thankful to my partner, Juli Inkster, for chipping in for eagle on 18 and saving us 50 bucks. 😉

Other than those two quick trips I have been enjoying my time out at Shady Oaks getting ready for the season. I will have two weeks here now before I head overseas and I will be found on the Shady Oaks “Little Nine” nearly every day. 🙂

I can’t leave a blog without my thoughts on my last event. The Bahamas was awfully kind to us this year, producing 4 days of nearly flawless weather with very low winds (unless you were in the final groups on Sunday!). It made for incredibly low scoring conditions, but the birdies were out there on every hole. I have to say my game has come out of this off season feeling better than past seasons. I drove the ball well, hit my irons well, and rolled the ball well on the greens even if they all didn’t go in. I lost the majority of my shots on the par 5’s with my pitching and wedges. It’s ok though, I have a great place to practice those things out at Shady. 🙂 I truly felt I played great there, but also have a very clear picture of where I was losing shots which makes it easy to make a plan going forward.
I have two weeks here at home, then I’m off on a three week stretch to Australia, Thailand, and Singapore. Hopefully the LPGA being back on tour gives you something to do if you’re battling a tough winter! Just remember that summer is getting closer every day. 🙂

KKimg_0396

Callaway fitting in Carlsbad.  So thankful they help us get the best clubs in our bag every season!

img_0558

Kris and I as guest bartenders at the Pure Silk pro-am party. 🙂

img_7517

Auds and I happy to be back at work!!

img_0565

Things are serious in the pro am when the rally caps come on. Happy to report that it worked and we took home the hardware!

img_0575

One of the benefits of staying on the beach. 🙂

img_0550

First practice round of 2017. I’m lucky to call these people friends!!

img_0465

I became a true Texan when I attended the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for Bulls Night Out.

img_0423

The 17th at Tradition. Yes, that landing area is as small as it looks.

Highs and Lows

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all aren’t out there trampling people for tv’s today; but if you are, best of luck. I enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving at home in Clark for once and after a family wedding on Saturday I’ll be headed back to Ft. Worth. I’m looking forward to spending some time getting to know my new city.

It’s hard to believe another year has come to an end and I’m writing another year end blog. I had a solid week in Naples finishing T30 to finish out the year. I ended up 53 on the money list with a scoring average of 71.553 and 3 top tens. I haven’t sat down to really dig into my stats yet but when I do I’m sure I’ll find areas that improved and areas that will be of focus next year. In the meantime, It was fun to sit back and think about the best parts of this season, along with the times that taught me the most. I picked my 3 biggest moments of 2016 to share with you today.

1.) Singapore: After 2 seasons on tour I finally earned a spot to play in the HSBC in Singapore in February. This sticks out in my memory because the feeling of earning your way to play in those limited field events is always so satisfying. On top of that, it was one of the coolest places I had ever been, and somewhere I likely would never have gone if I didn’t play on the LPGA. I did not play well the first couple of rounds, but thankfully I should be back to play this year. 🙂

2.) Mid season slump: After a pretty solid first half of the year I hit a slump in late July thru early September. I made only 1 out of 4 cuts and finished in a tie for 44th in that event. It’s funny how this stretch of ugly golf is what sticks out in my mind the most. Throughout most of the year I feel I’m always right in it to play every weekend and have a good finish. I bounce back after missing a cut or having a bad round and I am always super happy and thankful for my job. However, during this time I realized that sometimes this “dream job” can be really REALLY hard. Although my game didn’t feel that bad I just wasn’t getting the ball in the hole and soon it felt as if everything was slipping away. I left France after missing the Evian cut by 1 shot and felt a sense of relief that the remaining events would be “no cut” events.

3.) Korea/Malaysia: I was happy to play in Korea this year, an event I had played only my rookie year. Malaysia was an event that I had originally wanted to take off because I always grinded out a bunch of 74’s and my caddie made more money than me. These courses both played very differently but my mindset and plan was the same: focus only on the process and let the score come. This is always my game plan but some weeks its just easier than others and these two weeks proved to be the epitome of what can happen when I really stick to that process. I finished T10 in Korea and two weeks later T7 in Malaysia. My best finish of the year on one of my least favorite golf courses. It’s funny what can happen when your attitude and mind is focused on what is possible and not on what has happened in the past.

I could probably write a list of 100 things I learned, enjoyed, and remember from this year but these definitely stick out in my mind the most. After 30 weeks on the road its time for a break from traveling and the golf course. Next year is a big year with at least 4 new LPGA events on the schedule and the Solheim Cup in Iowa. It will hopefully be a big year for me out there.

Happy Holidays! See you next year!

KK

 

img_4916

A little time at Disney before the final event in Naples.

img_4937

LPGA Girl’s Golf Junior Clinic in Naples.

img_4938

Matching as usual during the final event with Kris Tamulis.

img_4958

First day of off season spent on the boat in St. Pete thanks to these amazing friends! 🙂

Ricoh Women's British Open - Day One

From this years British Open at Woburn.

2016 Sime Darby LPGA - Day 2

From my best week of the year in Malaysia.  🙂

 

Over and Out

Hello, everyone! I happily write this blog from American soil after 5 weeks overseas. It’s 4 am and I am terribly jet lagged but thats always part of the gig. As much as I love to travel and play golf there’s something about coming home that you just can’t replace. With only one event left on my schedule this season I can nearly taste the off season and have to admit it is time for a break. These past few weeks have been busy, but always well worth it.

The last time I wrote I was in the middle of my Asian swing with three events left to play: Korea, China, and Malaysia. Little did I know this would end up being probably the best stretch of my year. Korea granted us with absolutely perfect weather and a challenging course that lead to a great week for me. I had only played in Korea once before but the course fit me well. With very firm greens it demanded patience, something I have worked hard on these past few years. We hummed along for four days and in the end snuck into the top ten for my second tenth place finish of the year. I felt as if the momentum I felt the last day in Beijing and thru Taiwan was really starting to pick up.

The plan was for all players and most caddies to take a chartered flight to China on that Sunday night. However, a strong typhoon was headed straight for the island we play on. After a lot of discussion on the part of the LPGA and the tournament sponsor, the LPGA decided to hold us in Korea until the storm passed. We spent Sunday night and Monday night in Korea, flew to Shanghai Tuesday and stayed the night, and finally to our destination by mid day on Wednesday. What seemed like a nice two day break at first turned into two very long travel days. Many caddies, including my own, weren’t able to arrive until Wednesday night, so we were allowed to go out in a cart on our own Wednesday afternoon and play as much of a practice round as we could. Needless to say, by the time we tee’d it up on Thursday morning we were all feeling a little out of whack.

I played the best I could each day, but I could tell I was on my fourth week in a row at the end of the season; I was completely exhausted. I jokingly told my caddie, Audrey, on Friday that if I worked a normal job I would have called in sick. As much fun as playing golf for a living may seem, sometimes we want to play hooky, too. 🙂 I played relatively well on the weekend and left with a top 25 finish and one week to go in Asia.

The Sime Darby LPGA in Malaysia is usually the first event in the Asian swing but happened to fall fifth, and thus last, for me. Its a great golf course that challenges accuracy and demands a lot from the flat stick. It’s a place where I generally grind out a 74 and can’t understand how anybody finished the tournament under par. This year it held something different for me though. Although I didn’t have the best playing memories there, I knew I was playing well and if I just took it one shot at a time, perhaps I could just prove to myself that I can play this golf course. It wasn’t perfect (two water balls and a couple missed three footers) but I was relentless in letting this course win for the third year in a row. I finished with an up and down out of the bunker on the 18th on Sunday for a T-7 finish at 10 under par. My best of the year. 🙂

Playing in Asia at the end of the year feels almost like a completely different job. It has such a different feeling from the first 7 months of the year. It’s rewarding, exhausting, and frustrating, but nevertheless teaches you so many things that undoubtedly make you a better player for it. I opted to not play in Japan or Mexico but will be in Naples for the tour championship in two weeks.

Thank you all for the kind messages this week. It’s been a great run in Asia!
KK

 

img_4684

The only fish I ever eat. Sweet red beans in a pastry. Traditional Korean practice round food every year on this hole.

img_4698

Pro-am party in Korea.

img_4772

Some of my best friends on tour.  Love these guys!!

img_4773

img_4797

Pretty nice view from the gym in Korea. Lovely fall day. 🙂

img_4831

Sometimes you have to just sit back and relax for a few hours. 🙂

img_4870

Pro am Party in Malaysia with my wonderful friends. :))

img_4876

Great minds think alike.

Asia 2016

Good morning from South Korea! We arrived in Incheon late last night from Tawain and I have to say I always look forward to coming to Korea because it is the first time all year where I can feel the seasons here are changing. The fall weather reminds me a lot of home at this time of year.

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling this past month but am still feeling good! I started this morning off with a great workout, some flight booking, my stats from last week, and a little grocery shopping. I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon trying to relax while getting organized and ready for the week ahead.

Last time I wrote I was in France and feeling pretty down about my game. The great thing about golf is that, although there are many low times, it will eventually be followed with some high times. Every roller coaster eventually comes back up. I’m happy to say I had a good week in Tawain and can feel my confidence coming back a bit. It has been a tough couple of months but we snuck inside the top 25 last week and I still felt I left a lot out there.

Before Taiwan I played in Beijing for the first time. I had a few reservations about coming to Beijing, but I actually enjoyed the week very much. We spent Wednesday afternoon climbing the Great Wall of China and it is probably in my top three of best things I have done throughout all my travels. It was an incredible view (smog free!) and an incredible workout. We climbed nearly 100 floors, and were absolutely exhausted; I can’t even imagine how they built 15,000 miles of it. I could still feel my calves three days later, but worth every step!

My play in China was a mix of bright spots and old habits. However, something clicked on Sunday and I shot a bogey free 7 under for my best round of the year. When you aren’t having your best week, the best thing to do is to use the last day or two to try and gain some momentum for the following week. It gives you a different purpose within the tournament you’re playing, and really can give you momentum a week later. I went to Tawain with some good memories on a course that sets up pretty well for me. We had a mix of great weather and absolutely terrible weather which lead to a great test of golf. Although I stood on the driving range on Friday (and Sunday) with rain blowing side ways in a 40 mph wind just waiting for the horn to blow, those bad weather days helped me climb the leaderboard.

Last year I sat here in Korea as first alternate and promised myself I would do everything I could to not be in that position again this year. I’m happy to report I earned my spot this year. It’s a good course, weather looks great, and the fans will be out in full force. With women’s golf at its absolute peak in Korea right now it’s definitely a fun spot to play. I will take the same approach as I did last week and hope for more good results.

Three more weeks here in Asia before I’m back on American soil, not that I’m counting. 😉

KK

cvus9448

Ready for our 14 hour flight!

img_4506

Starting up the wall.

img_4511

Halfway there…

img_4512

 

beijing

Pro am party in Beijing.

great-wall

Almost there 🙂

taiwan

Out to dinner in Taipei, Taiwan.

img_4644

Our favorite pizza maker and my number one fan in Taiwan! See you next year, Stanley. 🙂

 

 

The basement

Good morning everybody. I write to you today from another very rainy and dreary day in France. I just got back from a morning workout which I counterbalanced with a chocolate croissant. The first of many today I am sure.

If I am up writing a blog on Sunday thats usually not a good sign. This time is no exception. It’s been a tough last stretch of events in which I have missed 3/4 cuts by one shot. I wish I had something profound to say, but all I can tell you is that times like these just really suck.

Three weeks ago I played the Canadian Open in Calgary and missed by one. I didn’t get a practice round but that really wasn’t an excuse. I played well on Thursday and when Friday came and I made a couple bogeys I mentally wasn’t prepared for it. I was super disappointed in myself but I learned a lot that week and used it to prepare for the next. When Thursday of Manulife rolled around I had a very specific plan for how I would approach the day and although my “A” game wasn’t there I was still able to make the cut and play 4 days. It was much like what I experienced in Toledo, reminding me how important the mental side of the game is each and every tournament and each and every shot.

I spent my off week in Sweden with my friend Elin and her family and had the best time. We had great weather, great golf courses, and so many great people to meet. After 5 years of friendship I finally got to see where she is from. A big thank you to the Arvidssons for being such wonderful hosts. 🙂

I flew from Sweden to France on Sunday making this my third trip to the Evian Championship; our fifth and final major of the year. This is a course that is definitely made easier with experience and I felt I actually turned the corner from playing defensive and frightened out here to enjoying the challenge and embracing it. However, I still let the greens get to me. My ball striking was very solid but by the time Friday came I was so tentative on my putts I couldn’t make a two footer. It was heartbreaking to be in the moment and watch yourself give it away. There are a lot of up and downs in every season on tour, but I would have to say I felt this was my lowest point so far (hopefully all year). My focus this year has been on my mental game and playing in big situations and I just felt I completely failed.

I’ve had two days to think about it and of course, with time, every situation gets better little by little. Looking forward I know there are some positives I can be excited about. One, there are no more cuts this year that have to be made. The remaining events are limited field. Two, I’m going to get several (maybe all) starts in Asia, starting in two weeks with Beijing, giving me many more chances to play well. Finally, I know I have all the tools I need both technically and mentally to play this game and play it well. I just have to go back to the drawing board and find the formula that is going to work best and then practice being disciplined enough to do it week in and week out. Always easier said than done. 🙂

For now I’m going to try and enjoy my last day in France, my off week at home, and start preparing for Asia.

Best,
KK

 

img_3834

Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada.

img_3862

Lake Moraine, Banff National Park. Stunning view!

img_4002

Huey Lewis and the News.. the number one reason my mother attended this event I’m pretty sure.

img_4123

Red Day for heart health at the Manulife Classic.  If there was some sort of award…

img_4156

My two biggest fans in Kitchener! Thanks to these guys for being such great hosts. See you next year! 🙂

img_4196

Golf in Halmstad, Sweden with these two Swedes.  What a relaxing day of fun golf.  Not something I get too often anymore. 🙂

img_4221

Gothenburg, Sweden.

img_4240

We took a trip to an amusement park in Gothenburg and realized we are a bunch of chickens.

img_4242

Afternoon snack in Sweden 🙂

img_4282

The views in Evian are hard to beat.

img_4283

Sunday night pro am party with two of my favorites.

img_4303

Traditional practice round with Ms. Tamulis.

img_4382

Chamonix, France.  THE cutest little ski town I’ve ever been to.

img_4398

At least we made the most of our Saturday off.. a cold and rainy day in Chamonix but much fun was had!

Meeting Mr. Nicklaus

Good morning everybody. I write to you from the Sioux Falls airport today where I have currently set up camp waiting for my 7 am flight that is departing sometime this afternoon now. The joys of travel really never stop. Thankfully I have my mom with me to keep me company.

I haven’t played an event in three weeks but have some great things to write about today. First, a tough British Open to swallow. Second, a once in a lifetime day spent in the presence of Jack Nicklaus. Let’s start with the British Open.

Woburn Golf Club – Woburn, England. They called it the British Open, it felt like the Canadian Open, and I loved it in every way. Tree lined and a bit on the short side with zero pot belly bunkers, I felt it set up perfectly for my game. I sat just outside the cutline after a so-so day 1 and knew i needed either even par or -1 to see the weekend. I played the afternoon on Friday and watched the cut sit at even par nearly the entire day. I fluctuated a little bit but after a great birdie on the 14 (bouncing back from a double on the 12) I was at +1 and felt a lot of momentum, but was dying to see the cut line go to +1. I par the 15th and am sitting in the fairway on 16. Pin on the right, bunker right. My mind told me to hit the center of the green, but subconsciously I wanted it at the pin so I pushed it straight into the bunker. Short sided and frustrated with my lack of discipline I walked up to the green and watched the volunteer change the cut line to plus 1. Unbelievable timing. I hit a great sand shot to about six feet but pushed my putt to the right. Something I struggled with a bit all week. After pars on 17 and 18 I would miss the cut by 1 shot. Some weeks you just walk away with some big lessons learned, this was one of those weeks.

With a weekend off we spent it exploring the city of London. I had never been and it was a great way to get my mind off the game for awhile. We did the touristy things and also the local things. We took in a show on the West End which was the one thing I really wanted to do. I posted some good photos below so you can enjoy looking at those instead of me telling you about it. 🙂

While I often have many great experiences on the golf course, my off weeks are usually a little more on the uneventful side. This past week was an exception to the rule. I was invited to participate in the Sanford Classic at Sutton Bay as part of my partnership with Sanford Health. An event with about 60 people raising money for stem cell research. It was an incredible group of people all around with the likes of Andy North, Tom Weiskopf, and Fred Hoiberg as celebrity guests. However, the whole event elevates to another level when Jack Nicklaus rolls in on Wednesday night.

On Thursday morning Andy North lead a walking clinic down the 16th hole with Mr. Nicklaus sharing his insight along the way. When we got to the green Andy asked me to come up and give some advice on the green. So, there I was, telling a group of 60 players how I approach a putt with the greatest of all time standing 6 feet to my left. Enter panic attack mode here. After we finished we all went out and played the event and the final four teams played a shootout at the end. I was lucky to get in with my team and we played alongside Mr. Nicklaus for two holes. What an honor. I will never forget the day I met Jack Nicklaus or the things he said. The places I find myself thru the game of golf are just amazing sometimes. I love what I do, but more importantly I love the people I meet and the connections I make. Sanford health is one of those connections and I don’t know if there is a better company to represent.

It was back to reality this morning as I focus on what is next for me. Canadian Open this week, Manulife Classic next, and the Evian in two weeks. These will be the final three events before the cut off for the limited field events in Asia. I am sitting in a good position now, but a lot can happen in three weeks so its time to play well!

Follow along 🙂
KK

IMG_3457

Coldplay in Chicago for Elin’s birthday!

IMG_3470

Prepared for the downpour and thankful that we were.

IMG_3494

I love Europe and these amazing old buildings!

IMG_3504

Thanks for this.

IMG_3505

Bus tour with Auds and Missy.

IMG_3509IMG_3516IMG_3517

Parliament

IMG_3525IMG_3528IMG_3532

Big Ben 🙂

IMG_3533

London Eye

IMG_3574

Lunch with this crew.  Fun times walking around the market with the locals.

IMG_3578

Some impressive street performers.

IMG_3581

Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

IMG_3669

Back in Sioux Falls and meeting up with my sister for a fun dinner. 🙂

IMG_3757

That Sutton Bay sunset never gets old!

IMG_3776

Two days of golf well spent with Bob Greenberg and John Cleary who came from Minnesota. Great way to celebrate my birthday!

 

IMG_3788

Andy North leading off the walking clinic for the Sanford Classic.

IMG_3790

Just a casual fan. 😉

IMG_3795

Me and Jack Nicklaus.  I will keep this photo for a very very long time. 🙂