Junior.Golf sat down with board member Annika Sorenstam to discuss growing the game, practice habits and developing a lifelong love of golf.
Growing the Game
Junior.Golf: What is the #1 piece of advice you would give parents looking to introduce their child to golf?
Annika: Parents need to make golf fun. It is best if you can get them to try the game with their friends. Don’t focus on fundamentals. Keep it light and play or practice games in short 20-minute spurts so they don’t burn out. Then reward them with ice cream.
Junior.Golf: What is your recommendation for keeping a child interested in golf if they are just an average player and will never really play competitively?
Annika: They need to play because they want to play. Make it fun and keep it light. Don’t focus on results, but the experience. Always be positive so they have nothing negative to associate with the game. Hopefully, in time they will play more often or be able to use it in business.
Junior.Golf: At what age did you know you wanted to pursue golf as a career and what did you do to accomplish that goal?
Annika: I didn’t start playing until I was 12. When I was 16 I decided to focus on golf. I suppose it was around that time that I started dreaming about one day playing professionally. Once I played at Arizona, I really knew that playing the LPGA was what I planned on doing.
Junior.Golf: Practice can get so boring, but I know it’s important if you want to be a top golfer. What are some methods you’ve used to stay motivated and focused?
Annika: I was lucky in that I never found practice boring. There are so many ways to stay motivated, whether it is hitting balls, short game, or playing. I always enjoyed all three, but also working out. It’s important to set goals that you can accomplish each day. Remember, it’s the quality of practice, not the quantity. Always practice with a purpose.
Junior.Golf: How does a player develop a strong mental approach to the game?
Annika: I think it’s important to always stay positive. Once you hit a shot, it’s done. You have to move on to the next one. Remember the good shots and things that happen, and forget the bad.
Junior.Golf: How long did you practice on short game vs practicing on the range?
Annika: When I was younger, I could hit balls all day. I would say my practice would be 90% on the range, and 10% short game. Then when I went to college, I realized that everyone on the team did the exact opposite. I would hit it great, but we would score about the same. That’s when I switched and also put more focus on the short game.