Golfer Annie Park learns from her struggles
The peak performances of professional athletes combine the twin displays of extreme competence and extreme confidence.
The challenge of bringing these two elements together is always present but not always successful.
Annie Park is the defending champion for the ShopRite LPGA Classic, scheduled for June 7-10 at the Seaview Resort in Galloway Township, N.J. Her 2018 triumph was Park’s first win on the LPGA tour.
The charming New York native, who grew up “two exits” from the Bethpage State Park golf courses, sat down at the May 7 ShopRite Media Day to discuss her game and the crisis of confidence that preceded her victory.
Park enjoyed significant success as a junior golfer and in college. She turned professional in 2015 and played the Symetra Tour. Park graduated to the LPGA in 2016, but did not see the same results. She dropped back to conditional status after the 2017 season ended.
“It can get to you. You’re making your own schedule; you have to be self-motivated. I think that was my first-year struggle. What inspires me to play this game? I think that was the biggest difference,” she said.
Her adjustment issues caused a “freak-out” moment for Park. “I had a bad year and I just didn’t want to go through all of the travel and not playing well through the travel. It was just really tough. I was actually looking at other jobs,” Park said.
Park’s older sister Bo helped her stay in the game.
“My sister said, ‘Why don’t you give it your one last shot and give it 150 percent. See how you feel at the end of the year. If you gave it your best shot and it didn’t work out, then at least you don’t regret.’ And so, last year was that year for me, and I got reshuffled in, got the win, and kind of changed up a lot of things,” Park said.
A change in putting helped. Park switched to a long putter after the 2017 season ended, and something clicked. “I putted pretty well. I knew my game was right there and knew I needed to keep working on it and get used to the long putter. I’m still trying to get used to it because it’s a different form of putter than what I used the last 10 years. But I like it so far,” Park said.
With the victory came several benefits, including the ability to set her own schedule to maximize her chances for success – along with a lesson from her prior challenges. “If anything, I broadened my perspective a little bit. I know what it’s like to struggle. I don’t think winning changed my goal to play my best every event. I think because of that struggle, I don’t think I could forget how painful it was. I know what to do now every year. I know it can be taken away easily. And I know I need to work hard,” she said.
Going to see Park and the other LPGA golfers compete at the ShopRite is a nice day trip from the Cape Region. After the ferry ride to Cape May, the Bay Course is a 45-minute ride up the Garden State Parkway. Daily tickets are only $15, and it’s very easy to walk along and watch these women play great golf from only a few feet away.
It will also be inspiring.
Women’s Golf Day at American Classic June 4
American Classic Golf Club is a verified Women’s Golf Day location for the Tuesday, June 4 celebration of women in and for the game.
Women or girls may play nine holes of free golf (cart not included), and there is also a two-hour clinic for those new to the game (registration required). A $25 fee covers the clinic and a two-hour happy hour with snacks.
For more information, contact Britt Morrison at 302-703-6662.
Local club competition results
The Kings Creek LGA played a low net game May 23. Linda Outlaw won first place in the first flight, with Kelly Brown in second and Jennifer Falcone in third.
Celeste Beaupre won the second flight, with Cynthia Robinson taking second and Kay Woolen in third. Arlyce Dubbin won the third flight, with Susan Grieseme in second and Linda Eicher in third.
The team format for Ladies Day at Rehoboth Beach CC May 22 used a single best score for the par 4s, 2 best scores for the par 5s, and 3 best scores for the par 3s.
Daisey Hudson, Kim Stockson, Gayle Truitt and Lora Drewer (blind draw) won first-place net, while Carroll Knott, Shelby Moore, Judy Scrutchfield and Ann Cunningham (blind draw) won first-place gross.
Gina Bergin, Barbara Collins, Lora Drewer and Kerry Lockwood finished second net.
The Kings Creek Ladies 9-hole group played an individual low net game May 22. Sandy Neverett won first place in the first flight, with Judy Rayner in second and Tina Brown in third.
Mary Beth Merolla won the second flight, with Linda Miniscalco taking second and Jane Perkins finishing third.