‘You don’t have to play golf all the time’

DUBAI - Talented, teenage girls need to be nurtured through their golfing careers to avoid the risk that their precocious play may fizzle out in beleaguered burnout.

By Alex Leach

Published: Sat 11 Dec 2010, 1:34 AM

Last updated: Wed 13 Oct 2021, 2:59 PM

That’s the stark warning of Laura Davies, who – while welcoming younger participation in the ladies’ game – fears for the futures of those so-called sensations if their priorities and time are not managed properly.

Davies, at 47, is the oldest participant at this week’s Dubai Ladies Masters (DLM), where 15-year-old American Alexis Thompson – the youngest female professional golfer in the world – is making her first-ever appearance.

“It’s young, but I’ve always said: ‘If you’re good enough and your parents are making sure your schooling is done and you’re not doing too much, then why not?’ because you never quite know how it’s going to pan out,” the Englishwoman said. “When I was a junior, some of the best players didn’t make it as pros. She (Alexis) is making it as a pro already, so why not give it a go?

“The parents need to take responsibility and I think they do. She doesn’t play a huge amount of tournaments and her dad caddies for her most of the time. They’re doing a good job with her.

“She wants to play and compete and, as long as it’s regulated properly by the parents, why not?”

Davies also insists the best way forward for these aspiring youngsters would be to not let the game consume their lives too readily, with spare time a precious commodity that should be cherished. “Don’t stand on the range every day practising and, when you’re home for a week, have a week off,” she replied when asked for advice to Thompson and Co.

“You don’t have to be playing golf all of the time just because you’re a professional golfer. That would be my biggest tip to any of these youngsters because they wear me out just watching them.”

Those reservations are especially important too on a circuit that is draining enough as it is, with regular flights around the globe getting in the way of a settled living.

“By the time she is 25, she’ll have been on tour for 10 years and she might be thinking: “Christ, what’s this all about? I want a normal life’ as travelling around week in, week out is weird,” Davies explained. “You’re never in the same place for more than two weeks on the trot. She might get fed up with it or she may not. Who knows?”

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