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All about Eathorne

LPGA golf star, PGA caddy, teacher, mentor: A.J. Eathorne has done it all

by Kimberly Schoenberger
Eathorne competed in over 100 LPGA Tour events before she began teaching. — Getty Images North America photo

At GolfWest, we had the recent pleasure of speaking with famous LPGA golf star, turned PGA caddy, then teacher, A.J. Eathorne.

Eathorne first became interested in playing golf when her dad was introducing her brother to the sport. “My dad was actually trying to get my brother involved,” she said. “I was just the pesky one trying to tag along, but I was hooked right away.”

Golf can definitely be a frustrating game if you don’t have the skills. “You just have to learn to enjoy it,” she said. “Get a good idea on how fun the game can be.”

For golfers of any age, Eathorne believes that getting an idea of how the game works is a fundamental aspect of enjoying it. “Work on basics and set up, no matter what level you are,” she said.

Eathorne has been heavily involved in the Swing Like a Girl program at Predator Ridge Golf Resort near Kelowna, British Columbia. The program consists of women-only clinics and camps taught by a specially selected team of Canadian PGA pros, including Eathorne.

“It’s made to encourage women to come to the golf course—to have fun and relax,” said Eathorne. “Golf can be really intimidating to women—it’s been known as a male sport for ages. I just want to be open and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got a program just for you here, so let’s have some fun with it!’”

The program gives ladies the opportunity to challenge themselves or simply play a relaxing game with friends. With almost all of their 16-person clinics being sold out, Eathorne said that the team has achieved their goals for the 2012 year—they just want it to grow even more in the next season.

We asked Eathorne about her abundance of career changes, and she talked to us about what motivated her to make those changes.

“I just felt a little bit stuck,” she said. “I wanted to get some roots growing, to be able to not just build up to something for the end of the year, but for years to come. With teaching, you build clients and get a repertoire, and they come back year after year. You really have the potential to grow and develop those roots.”

When she was playing on the LPGA tour, as well as when she was caddying for the PGA tour, Eathorne did a lot of travelling. She got to visit nine different countries throughout the seasons, but said that it may not have been as glamorous as it sounds.

“It was getting to be a bit too much,” she said. “When all you see is the golf course and hotel room, it’s not quite the fun you’d expect.”

When asked if she’d ever go back to the LPGA, Eathorne said probably not.

“Not right now,” she said. “I’m enjoying teaching—it’s a lot less stress than playing for a living. And I like the idea that I’m helping junior golfers reach their dreams.”

If she hadn’t got into golf, Eathorne believes she would have pursued a career in the field of marketing. She talked about how it would be interesting and fun for her to be a motivational manager at a company, making sure everyone enjoys themselves in their workplace and has a good time.

“It’s hard to think about a life outside of golf when it’s been with me for so long,” she added.

We asked Eathorne what the highlight of her entire career has been, and she pinned it down to when she first made it onto the LPGA tour.

“Making it on the tour was a huge moment for me,” she said. “I was a small-town kid who made it to the big time!”

Eathorne talked to us about how she grew to be something of an icon when she was on the tour. She became a mentor who people followed, and said it was amazing that she was able to maintain that status.

“I thought it was great to not just be a good golfer, but also a good role model,” she said.

You can catch up with A.J. Eathorne out at the Predator Ridge Golf Resort where she continues to help women’s golf grow even more!

Quick facts:

Name: A.J. Eathorne
Hometown: Penticton, B.C.
LPGA Tour events played: 100+
Hobbies: Golf, sports in general, wine-tasting, outdoors, watching hockey, being active
Favourite hockey team: Vancouver Canucks
Favourite movie genres: Sappy love stories, feel-good movies, emotional true-life documentaries
Favourite golf book: Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr. Bob Rotella
Favourite classes in school: physical education, math

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