PHOENIX – Kaylin Yost quit golf in 2015 and got a job at JetStarter.
“Like Uber for jets,” she explained.
She played golf only four times in the next year. The pictures on social media – her peers jet-setting around the country and the world while she ran the company’s shuttle system – eventually got to her.
“I took it for granted when I was out there,” said Yost, a 2014 graduate of Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., who began her professional career on the Symetra Tour.
With no status on any tour in 2016, Yost turned to mini-tours, state Opens and Monday qualifiers trying to catch a break.
She reemerged on the biggest stage of her life in Phoenix, where a 66 in a Monday qualifier earned Yost her first LPGA start at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
It didn’t take long for the jittery newcomer to make a splash.
Yost, who asked the LPGA chaplain to lunch to help calm her nerves, opened with a 5-under 67 at Wildfire Golf Club. While she wore a black PXG hat and shirt in that opening round, Yost said she only recently got fitted for the clubs and wasn’t getting paid. Phoenix marked the first time she used PXG in competition.
Most watching Yost light up the desert had no idea that her comeback only scratches the surface of her inspiring story.
“I was born with dislocated hips,” said Yost, “and the doctors told my parents I wouldn’t be able to walk, ride a bike.”
Yost spent the first 16 months of her life in a body cast. After two major surgeries, she grew into a professional athlete.
It wasn’t until Yost was 2 years old that doctors discovered her hearing impairment. She has since worn hearing aids in both ears.
For years Yost turned off her hearing aids before hitting each golf shot. She’d do the same when mom yelled or she needed to study.
In her senior year of college, however, Yost got a new pair of hearing aids that weren’t as easy to silence. Her golf bubble isn’t as quiet as it once was, but she has found other ways to get into a zone.
With her boyfriend, Brandon Bradford, on the bag, Yost survived the lowest cut in LPGA history (5 under made it) and earned a Saturday tee time with Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, an experience she called “incredible.”
“I played the deaf card out here today,” she said. “Couple times I joked with Juli, ‘You know, I didn’t hear that.’ I just try to make the best of it and make jokes.”
A two-time Atlantic Sun Conference player of the year, Yost struggled on the weekend in Phoenix, carding a pair of 75s.
Still, this was a big step, and there’s much to look forward to. Yost will represent the U.S. at the Deaf Olympics in Turkey this summer. She only learned of the Deaf Golf Association six months ago. Last summer she competed in the SE Deaf Golf Tournament. Yost is currently learning full sign language so that she can communicate with the rest of the field.
“Everyone is saying, ‘I’m getting ready for the Solheim Cup,’ ” said Yost. “I’m getting ready for the Deaf Olympics.”