FOR rising star Hannah Green, it only took one season on the Symetra Tour to secure her LPGA Tour card for 2018, and the 20-year-old couldn’t be more thrilled to get out on the main tour and prove herself.
Green has impressed with her ability to not only win as a professional but also shoot super-low rounds, like her eight-under 64 at the El Dorado Shoot Out in Arkansas last year. A win there and two other titles propelled her into second place on the 2017 Symetra Tour moneylist, which grants her full status on the LPGA Tour this season. The future looks bright for the Perth prodigy, but she will have to manage carefully the next chapter if she is going to follow in the footsteps of her idol, Karrie Webb.
When it comes to managing Green’s debut season on the LPGA Tour, there will be certain factors needing close attention if she is to continue her impressive results. Her first challenge will be handling the hype and media excitement, particularly from the Australian golf press. With an LPGA Tour card secured there will be a lot of eyes on Hannah and hopes and expectations, too. This is something she will be familiar with, as she compiled a stellar amateur career and that did not go unnoticed or unpublicised, so she is used to playing under scrutiny. It will be imperative that Green doesn’t pay too much attention to the media and the microscopic lenses that will be fixed on her results, as she is a tour rookie with a lot of potential. She will need to have tunnel vision and clarity in order to perform her best on the golf course.
Green will need to lean on her peers and fellow Aussies who are already on tour, as they can pass on wisdom and lessons learnt that may help smooth her transition to the big stage. She undoubtedly will draw on Minjee Lee and Su Oh for help and advice as she has grown up playing golf with them in Perth and also represented Australia alongside them. So these two will more than likely be her ‘go-to’ resources for tips on the tour and moral support. If Hannah is clever she will draw on them for advice on scheduling and tournaments and how best not to burn out when playing a lot of golf and travelling an immense amount. Lee and Oh’s experiences and information will be invaluable to Green as a rookie and will hopefully prevent setbacks like injury or fatigue due to bad scheduling.
An important component to Green’s success on tour will be finding a suitable base to live and an adequate practice facility. When she is not travelling or playing tournaments, she will need to have a place to unwind, rejuvenate and practise and that will require weather that is conducive to these things. Most pros choose either Arizona or Florida with south Florida being the preference as there are more tournaments on the east coast of America, so it has a geographical advantage as well as having great weather and ample courses and facilities. Making friends will also be important for Green’s overall happiness and wellbeing. This is a good reason to choose to live somewhere like West Palm Beach or Jupiter, in Florida, as this is where the majority of the young LPGA and PGA Tour players reside. Playing golf with other tour players and socialising with them will help Green acclimate and give her support long term.
She will need to rely on her team, so they must be the right people and must understand the responsibility they have and the magnitude of their input and how it will shape Green as a player and a person. Her team will consist of her caddie, who spent all of 2017 with her so together they should be in a nice rhythm and both have the ambition to keep the momentum going. Her coach, Ritchie Smith, is an extremely capable swing coach and mentor who has been dedicated to her development for many years. Hannah and Richie’s communication next year is vitally important as she learns to negotiate life on the LPGA Tour and work through any technical glitches or changes for ongoing improvement.
Green will require an experienced manager to help her with booking travel and managing her finances. It’s imperative there is strong trust in such a relationship. Hannah’s family and friends in Australia will be important to her and she will require their support from afar as she navigates new territory on tour. Perth is a long way from the United States but with technology like Skype, she should never feel too isolated or lonely.
Hannah Green has an enormous opportunity ahead of her and she is perfectly capable of forging a long and impressive career on the LPGA Tour. For a 20-year-old, she has maturity beyond her years and a love for golf that will see her give it all she has. Hopefully she has all her ducks lined up because sometimes supreme talent isn’t enough; sometimes it’s the little things that make or break a player and they are often the easiest to control.
Perth has produced some amazing golf talent, like Minjee Lee who continues to have success on tour. Now another star is about to shine. Australia will be watching Green’s progress with great enthusiasm and pride as she steps onto the LPGA Tour this month.