On July 17th, I had the opportunity to speak one on one with recent LPGA winner, Katherine Kirk, about her mental game to help her win her first event in 7 years. I met Katherine back in 2007 when we traveled to Africa with Betsy King, Julie Inkster, Riley Raiken, and Renee Powell. In Rwanda, we did field work to raise awareness for those affected by HIV through Golf Fore Africa foundation. Katherine and I have been on the board of the foundation and involved with this great cause for the last 10 years. So proud of her, her patience, dedication and passion for her most recent win.
Here is a video of our conversation and some quick notes on what she says about the game. Enjoy learning from this incredible professional!
TAKE AWAY POINTS:
Mindset of being a kid and hitting the ball in the hole
sometimes a fresh look at something, can shift things
patience and you have to have thick skin
Wendy: Tell me about your win? How did you feel?
Katherine: I have been trending with good rounds, ball striking, getting better. ultimately to win on tour you have to be really sharp with your putter. I actually made a change at Arkansas tournament. Same putter just all blacked out…just a different look. I putted well that week, I finished top 10, a little more momentum and confidence with what i was doing.
Wendy: Did you change anything in your routine to make you feel different over the ball when you putt?
Katherine: Went back to being a kid again to be honest. I got really mechanical last year was going on and analyzing the stroke to try and make it perfect. I have always been a good putter, shouldn't have done it because i wasn’t too far off to begin with. I got out of mindset of just being a kid and hitting the ball in the hole.
Wendy: When it came to the WIN, little nip and tuck at the end, so when you are over the putts, and you had to make putt at the end… did you really focus on just being in the moment? What was your mind like?
Katherine: A couple of things…I had two friends send me two different bible verses that discussed the same thing: “be strong and courageous”. I quoted those during the entire round. I felt good all week. I would pick the line and then focus on the speed. If it happens to be the right line and you have the right speed the ball will go in or at least be close. To make an 11 footer on the last was huge cuz i didn’t want to have to play extra holes.
Wendy: When you say you blacked out your putter, what do you mean about that?
Katherine: painted all black, black shaft, black head and just one solid white line.
Wendy: So is that a scotty cameron?
Katherine: odyssey, silver head with a regular shaft in it for probably a good part of the last 2 years. I love it because it’s so easy to line up. Madelene Sagstrom from Sweden had an all blacked out one. It looked good and I am not opposed to changing things up. I am not superstitious or anything like that. Sometimes a fresh look at something can change things.
Wendy: Did you do anything different Sunday on the final day? Did you stay true to that routine? Before the round or night before? How did you do?
Katherine: It had been 7 years since I won. I work out pretty early around 5:30am but I was trying to sleep till 7:30/8:00… but my mind was always racing because I was excited and anxious at the same time. I popped up a sermon from the church my husband and I go to and that is what got my mind to relax and got me in a good mindset for the day.
Wendy: How do you keep momentum going since you haven't won in 7 years? Where are you at right now?
Katherine: At the end of the day its just golf…The routines haven’t changed that much… tweak things here and there….A swing thought that works a little more than something else. I have been playing golf for 13 years on tour, I don’t have to change a whole lot … I am a believer that if you have good technique the rest will kind happen.
Wendy: We spoke back in March and you felt that something had to shift?
Katherine: you have to be so patient in this game. We lose more than we win. Jason Dufner did that when he won memorial! ….you just have to really have THICK SKIN!
Wendy: Thick skin, I like it. There she is the WINNER!
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