For mothers, the list of to-dos on any given day is about as endless as the growing job titles they seem to collect along the way. Moms are nurses for middle-of-the-night fevers, teachers for evening homework assignments, taxi drivers for shuttling kids between practice and playdates, and—let’s be honest—occasionally hostage negotiators.
And the incredible women balancing motherhood with careers as professional athletes can confidently add travel agent (as well as professional badass!) to their job descriptions.
Lately, the LPGA Tour has been experiencing what some may consider a baby-boom, with lots of little ones born in the last couple of years and even more still on the way.
Thanks to services like the LPGA Smuckers Child Development Center—a free daycare service available to LPGA players at domestic events—and a growing network of other moms to exchange stories and advice, the young moms on Tour have all the support they need to help put their minds at ease as they tee-it-up each week.
So, in honor of these ultimate golf-moms, we’re highlighting stories of the LPGA players currently balancing life as a Tour Pro and life as a full-time mom.
After her 9th season on the LPGA, Laura gave up full-time competition on Tour to focus on being a full-time mom.
“I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to play 20 to 25 tournaments a year and be on the road,” Diaz says.
The mother of two still finds time to compete in select events between coaching her son’s JV golf team and volunteer coaching at Wake Forest University. Last year she brought along her 13-year-old son, Cooper, to caddie for her in his first LPGA event. Diaz ended up carding her lowest round in four years, crediting his presence for her 5-under-par round.
For the French golfer, the 2019 Tour season will be her first on the road without her children by her side. She and husband, Fred, who caddies for her, and their daughter, Lola, have made a habit of traveling the globe as a family. Eight-year-old Lola is well-traveled and bilingual. She was promoted to big sister last year when the family welcomed baby Maya. While the LPGA’s child care program has been a staple for the Ichers, the children will take a break from travel as Lola heads back to school.
Juli Inkster’s career on Tour has earned her 31 career victories including 7 Majors, but the title she’s most proud of is that of “mom”. Inkster’s raised two well-adjusted now 20-somethings (Hayley, 29 and Cori, 24). Juli now finds herself sharing as much parenting advice as she does competitive counsel to her counterparts on Tour and credits motherhood as the guiding influence for putting life into perspective for her.
“Once I understood that being a mom was the most important thing that I ever wanted to do it really took the pressure off of my golf game, and I felt like I became a better golfer.”
For Stacy and her husband, Gerrod, who welcomed daughter Chesnee in October, Stacy’s break from competition, fortunately, didn’t mean she’d also be forced to take a break from generating any income. The new mom credits her sponsor KPMG—who set a precedent of paying the full value of her contract while she was on maternity leave—for helping to ease the burden as she transitioned into her new role.
As for baby Chesnee, she’s now racking up the frequent flyer miles – carding more than a dozen flights with mom so far this season.
After welcoming baby Isla, first-time mom Sydnee Michaels opened up about her struggles with post-partum anxiety. In a candid Facebook post, she shared her struggle with fear and feelings of isolation along with the challenges she encountered trying to find resources and information to help her cope with her symptoms.
“It’s very personal and it’s not easy to talk about, especially I think for professional athletes.” she shares in a recent podcast interview, “We’re so self-critical of ourselves and competitive and critical of ourselves. For me, it was a big point to look at myself in the mirror and say ‘it’s okay.’ You don’t have to be at 160% at everything that you do in your life.”
New mom Brooke Pancake will make her return to full-time competition just after celebrating her very first Mother’s Day. After taking a year off to spend time with her new daughter Lucy and train, she’s ready to compete. She’ll bring baby Lucy on the road with her and credits motherhood for giving her a new outlook and approach to competition this time around.
“I have my priorities in a different place,” she says, “Good round, bad round – I get to come home to my sweet baby girl and give her all the snuggles and the love.”
Known for her competitive spirit, 15-time winner Suzann Peterson has taken time off from competitive play after welcoming her son Herman last year. No one seems to know Suzann her future golf plans since she stepped away from the game, and she seems just fine with that.
With limited time to dedicate to practice and training, Gerina and husband Martin Piller, who’s a professional golfer, are searching for the right amount of balance in their new roles as parents. The couple welcomed son A.J. last year and Gerina now travels with A.J. and a nanny full-time.
“It’s different,” Piller said. “It’s like you are on a shot clock. You don’t have this unlimited time to practice on your game. You have X amount of time, a time slot, and you have to get everything done. If you’re not, you have to go, because your kid needs you."
When the Symetra Tour player went 13-under par to win the Symetra Tour Championship and collect $30,000, Rachel did it all with a well-kept secret at the time.
“I was six weeks pregnant when I won,” said Rohanna. “I didn’t have too many symptoms that confirmed my suspicions besides my usual craving for pickles that week, although they are my favorite food so it didn’t raise any flags. I showed up for the Pro-Am with a jar of pickles in my cooler.”
The new mom to baby Gemelia is still making a name for herself on the Symetra Tour, with two top-20 finishes to date.