March 8, 2010
Hey, everyone! My name is Mallory Blackwelder and I am a rookie on the Ladies European Tour, the LPGA, and the Duramed Futures Tour. I am 22 years old, from Versailles, Ky., (YES, it is pronounced VER-SAYLES… I live in Kentucky, not France!), and I graduated last May from the University of Kentucky with a Marketing degree.
As some of you may know, I played my first two years of college golf at the University of Florida, and then transferred to UK when my mom, Myra, took over the women’s golf team. She played on the LPGA and was Rookie of the Year in 1980. We are the first-ever mother-daughter LPGA members in the history of the tour!
My dad, Worth, also has some serious connections to the tour. He has caddied professionally for 21 years. The past 10 years, he has caddied for players such as Dottie Pepper, Natalie Gulbis, Cristie Kerr and Juli Inkster. This year, he will be caddying for me!
Ever wonder what life is like for a LPGA rookie? Well, Mallory Blackwelder is here to tell you. Blackwelder, 22, will file a weekly diary on Golfweek.com to give you an insider’s view of life on the LPGA, LET and Duramed Futures Tour. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/MalBlackwelder.
Although there may be a little too much father-daughter time this year, I’m really excited and so thankful to have him traveling with me. We really do make a great team on the golf course and I really trust him to help me with my game. I also can’t imagine trying to travel internationally by myself, and his wealth of caddie knowledge and experience is going to help me tremendously in my rookie season. (Let’s just hope we don’t get too sick of each other!
My dad and I have worked together quite a few times during my amateur career, including when I won the 2007 Women’s Western Amateur, and he caddied for me at all of my Q-Schools this year.
Speaking of Q-School, boy was that an exhausting experience! I played in the first stage qualifier for the LPGA in Palm Springs, Calif., and finished T-6. I tied for fourth in the Duramed Futures Tour Q-School, then finished T-38 at LPGA Final Stage, then traveled to Spain for Ladies European Tour Q-School pre-qualifier and finished T-16 in the final qualifier. I had to play seven straight rounds in terrible weather! Through those tournaments I earned conditional status on the LPGA, and full status on both the Ladies European Tour and Futures Tour.
A lot of people have been asking me how I am going to juggle all three tours. Honestly, I’m not really sure how I’m going to do it! I know it is going to be challenging, but I’m really looking forward to the experience of getting to travel the world. I am 22 years old and playing golf for a living. It can’t get much better than that!
Although I am living my dream and enjoying every minute of it, there are a lot of challenges to being a professional golfer that many people may not realize. First of all, it is very expensive. Travel and living expenses really add up, so I am learning to be thrifty and save money. I have started an LLC (limited liability corporation) to try and raise money through investors, and so far it’s going pretty well. I really appreciate the support I have gotten so far because without it, it would be really difficult to afford playing on the tour this year.
I also have worked at a part-time job in Lexington, Ky., over the last year and a half. I was a hostess at a restaurant called Malone’s of Palomar, and to be honest with you, I actually really enjoyed working there! It gave me perspective on what life would be like without golf. My co-workers were awesome and I made some really great relationships there. Many of them didn’t understand why I needed to work there if I was a professional golfer, but I tried to explain that through the winter, there was no opportunity to play and make money!
Another challenge of professional golf is all of the traveling. Don’t get me wrong, I really do love it, but at the same time, I enjoy my time at home with my friends and family. When you’re gone for weeks at a time, you miss out on a lot. It’s really hard because there are a lot of choices you have to make on whether or not something is more important than a tournament. I’ve missed a few of my friends’ weddings, my own college graduation, and I can’t tell you how many birthdays I’ve spent on the road.
Even with all of the challenges, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. I love the challenge and thrill of competing, and I am really excited to get my season going soon.
Next week I’ll write about how I’ve prepared for the upcoming season and I’ll be traveling to my first event, the Ladies European Tour event in Morocco.
Talk to you soon!