junior course reporters – Meijer LPGA Classic

Marta Hoogendyk – Par level

Marta with Meijer’s Catherine Cooper

My name is Marta Hoogendyk; I am a student with The First Tee of West Michigan golf program.  I enjoy every opportunity to learn more and better my game.  These past few months,  I have had the opportunity to be a junior course reporter for the  2017 Meijer LPGA Classic. I got to go behind the scenes with the reporters and had the opportunity to interview a few of the golfers in the tournament.

At the end of May, I was invited to be a part of a press conference involving some of the organizers of the tournament, and also one of the golf professionals Cristie Kerr.  I had the chance to ask Cristie a few questions. The biggest piece of advice I took away from her was, “play with confidence.” A lot of the time when I go out to play, I underestimate myself, and doubt what I can actually do. To hear this directly from a pro golfer means a lot, and I think it will stick with me whenever I go out on the course.

Marta with world #2 Lydia Ko

Another opportunity I had was to interview two more players during the week of the tournament. I had the chance to ask Lydia Ko, and Demi Runas a couple questions each. My biggest question for both of them was, “What advice would you give to a young golfer hoping to be in your shoes someday?”  Being a young golfer myself, I think one of the biggest struggles is the mental part of the game.  Both Lydia and Demi  gave me similar advice, “Find a way to make it fun”, and “Enjoy every step.” When I am out on a course, I tend to concentrate so much on the score, and what I am doing wrong, it takes all the fun out of my game; and messes up my mental game as well. I think that enjoying yourself on the course, and letting yourself have fun, plays a huge part in your mental game, as well as contributing to what you do on the course. If you concentrate on all the negative things, you won’t have any fun, and you won’t learn from your mistakes.

I am very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to meet Cristie, Lydia, and Demi; and take part in this year’s tournament in this way.  It helped me learn to improve my game, as well as experience behind the scenes action.

Grace piotrowski – birdie LEVEL

Grace with world #1 Ariya Jutanugarn

Hi, my name is Grace Piotrowski. As a Junior Course Reporter for the First Tee of West Michigan, I am excited to share what I learned behind the scenes of the 2017 Meijer LPGA Classic.On May 8th, I attended the pre-event press conference of Ms. Cristie Kerr who returned to her golf game after a knee surgery during her last season. I had a chance to interview her with two questions. “How do you prepare before each round?”. She spends about one and half hour practicing her entire golf game before it starts. The second question I asked her was “If you started off poorly, how do you gain confidence back in your game?”. Her answer was to stay calm and think about the next shot, no matter how hard it is. She quoted “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”

On June 15th at the 2017 Meijer LPGA Classic tournament, I had a chance to interview four players. I started with Ms. Moriya Jutanugarn who was in the first place at the time. To gain confidence after a poor shot, she keeps going and focuses on each shot, persevering through. To prepare before each round, she warms up and makes sure everything throughout her golf game is going smoothly.

Next, I interviewed her sister, Ms. Ariya Jutanugarn. I asked her three questions. If she starts off poorly in her game, she would recall what she had under control and focuses on the next shot, not the final outcome. To prepare before each round, she arrives one hour earlier to practice her entire golf game. The third question I asked her was “What is the hardest part in you game and why?”. She said that she was still working on her tee shot for better control.

Grace with world #13 Stacy Lewis

I also interviewed Ms. Stacy Lewis. When she messes up in her game, she goes through her routine, analyzes it, and calms down. To practice before each round, she works out by hitting a few drives before the game starts. She thinks that putting is usually the hardest throughout her whole game.

Lastly, I interviewed Ms. Katherine Kirk. She likes sticking to her routines when a bad shot gets in her way during a game. She always has game plans prepared to recover from tough times. She comes well prepared for each game by arriving two hours prior to tee time, and goes through every aspect of her game. The hardest part of her game is ball striking and her short game. She struggles at ball striking more than her short game.

Being a Junior Course Reporter and experiencing “behind the scenes” by interviewing professional players was such a memorable experience that I will never forget. These players put so much time and efforts improving their games. They are the roles models for all young players like me. I am rooting for the players whom I interviewed this year and hope they have experienced something unforgettable during the 2017 tournament.