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Amazing Grace - Australian Golf Digest Amazing Grace - Australian Golf Digest

LPGA winner Grace Kim is Australian golf’s most exciting prospect on the tour since Minjee Lee. She also owns a silky-smooth swing that many amateurs could learn from. We caught up with the 23-year-old on the range and fired off questions as she flushed 7-irons with ease. 

During a recent adidas photoshoot at the stunning Kapalua golf course on the Hawaiian island of Maui, Grace Kim cut a relaxed figure as she helped launch the shoe giant’s latest offering to golf: the 2024 edition of the Tour360. As she walked camera crews through her Srixon tour staff bag, a video producer asked why there was an avocado plush keyring hanging from it.

“Erm, I just like avocados,” Kim answered, shoulders shrugged, before bursting into laughter.

That is the Sydneysider’s approach to golf: laidback but knows exactly what she wants. She wants stable footwear, to be able to rely on her gentle draw and to try to win a major in 2024 after two top-15s at the Women’s PGA Championship and US Women’s Open in 2023.

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Australian Golf Digest: Maui is obviously a beautiful place, but you’ve got some good vibes elsewhere in Hawaii. You won over on Oahu last year when you captured the Lotte Championship with a birdie in a playoff to claim your first LPGA Tour win. How nice is it to be back in Hawaii?

Grace Kim: Yeah, it’s really nice. It was also great to get a win away early in my career. But to be back in Hawaii spending some time is always really nice. It’s my first time to Maui and it’s even prettier than what I imagined. I definitely want to be back without golf clubs.

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We’re here for adidas’ new Tour360 golf shoes and you just put them in play. First, why the BOA (laceless)? Is that just a personal preference?

Laces are very traditional, which I like. But the BOA looks really cool and is a convenient shoe. You just put it on and if you need to adjust the tightness during a round, you just reach down quickly and do it. They’re fantastic. I also love the spikes to give me that stability because I use my feet and the ground quite a bit to produce my draw with foot pressure and weight shifts.

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You obviously had a huge rookie year on the LPGA Tour. You got your first victory. So where do you go from here?

Hopefully, another win would be great in 2024. But I also want more consistent results now that I’m more familiar with the courses and the cities. I had a great taste of what the main tour feels like. I spent a whole season away from Australia, so I guess I got a nice idea of what travel feels like and what living out of the suitcase feels like. Not only that, but also playing the different courses on tour. But it was also a long time away from home [March to November]. So this year, I’ve kind of broken the LPGA Tour season down into two parts; I’ll have a break in the middle. Hopefully that plays into having bigger expectations to be reset and restart for the second half of the season.

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When is that first break? Will you come home to Australia?

The main break will be all of July. That’s the plan at the moment, but it’s not confirmed. The idea is to rest, to be at home and comfortable, but also having enough time to see my coach is also important.

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You’ll get that that nice, calm Sydney winter and then you’ll obviously go back in August for the lead-up to the Women’s British Open, which this year is at the Old Course at St Andrews. How excited are you to play at the Home of Golf?

Honestly, so excited. I haven’t been there, never played there. A lot of my friends around me on tour have played there. So I’m just really excited to be just walking around the town and the course of St Andrews.

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You finished T-14 at the Women’s PGA and T-13 at the US Women’s Open. What did you learn from playing more major-championship golf and where do you think you can take that from here?

It’s where you want to be playing. They’re the majors for a reason. You feed off the big crowds and you get to play on the best courses in the world. So yeah, I think my goal is to play every major for the rest of my life! But we’ll see how that goes. It’s just the vibe, the atmosphere is incredible. It’s where you want to be playing and I think brings out the best in you as well.

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Do you prefer a certain major yet, one that you feel you might play well in for the remainder of your career?

Well, I played the US Open at Pine Needles in 2022 [when Minjee captured her second major]. That was my first ever US Open. And then I finished top-15 last year as well. So I do have a little bit of a soft spot for the US Open. That’s the big one in the US for LPGA golfers. All the LPGA Tour pros want to tick that off their list and be called a US Open champion. But I really enjoy playing the British Open as well.

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Back to your swing. You have that repetitive, three or four-metre draw. When you’re hitting balls on the range, what do you work on? Are you more of a feel player or technical?

I guess I’m half and half… I think I’m more technical than feel. I like to have the TrackMan out there on the range just to get the numbers dialled. But other than that, I like to hit draws, so if I start losing shots right, I always come back to hitting big hooks. Then, I can even it out and come back to square.

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You’re hitting your 7-iron as we speak. What’s that carry in metres, generally?

Seven-iron is about 135 metres in carry distance. I would say I’m more accurate than long as a golfer, so I’m never going to be a bomber. But I’m making sure I’m ticking those boxes for a reason and always trying to build strength while maintaining my accuracy.

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What’s your No.1 tip for amateurs trying to hit a draw with their irons?

Move the ball forward and try to groove an in-to-out swing path. Have the ball more forward in your stance, which gives you extra time for the club to
catch up and be a little bit closed after impact.