Chasing my dreams one shot at a time
I have some life updates to share, starting with my decision to stop playing professional golf.
Unfortunately, I did not earn back LPGA status at the Qualifying Series in November. Facing a step down to the Symetra Tour or a long string of Monday Qualifiers, it was time to reevaluate.
To start, after difficult and honest introspection, I don’t believe my game is where it needs to be to enjoy the life I want on the LPGA Tour. Through twenty-four LPGA events, my best weeks gave me middle of the pack finishes; my average weeks were missing cuts. I feel both pride and dismay to be here: proud to have worked my way up to this vantage point, but discouraged to recognize the gap that remains between myself and the next tier of players. The next tier of competitors are contending on their best weeks and finishing in the middle of the pack on their average weeks. The harsh reality is that this is the only level on the women’s side of the game that allows one to make a comfortable living and retain some job security.
Couldn’t I continue to improve, though? Potentially. Many players don’t peak until their early thirties (if their financial and family decisions allow them to get that far). And like I said before: I’ve only played twenty-four events. It’s not uncommon for a player to earn her first win after playing one hundred. Under the right guidance, there is still room for growth in my game. Yet… I am also acutely aware of my shortcomings. I know how wide the chasm looms between a few good weeks and enjoying a sustainable career. I also understand the reality of what’s necessary to make even one significant long-term improvement.
I have been climbing this mountain for a long time. I’ve spent my life assessing the next peak, plotting and preparing, falling off, getting back up. I’m incredibly proud of how far I have made it. But now, when I look up at the peak in front of me, I don’t feel like climbing anymore.
Frankly, I’ve never viewed myself as talented at golf. “Talent” to me suggests something you are born with, an ability that comes easily. I’ve had to work incredibly hard for every golf skill I’ve acquired. The one thing I believe I was born with, that does come as naturally as breathing, is grit. I’ve somehow always managed to rise to the occasion when my career demanded it because I’ve had an extra reserve of will— a little voice inside that has wanted to succeed at golf so badly it hurts. However, the last month leading up to Q-Series and the tournament itself felt different. I wanted to make it, yes. But when I sat alone with my thoughts, the fire wasn’t there. My little voice wasn’t screaming anymore.
Without this spark, the inner drive that knows nothing will get in my way, I don’t feel right continuing to play. Far too many obstacles present themselves in professional golf (or any dream for that matter) to be able to succeed without a strong “why.” Despite still loving the game and even the tour lifestyle, I know going in half-heartedly would only be setting myself up for failure.
I am so grateful for the relationships, adventures, and lessons professional golf has afforded me— most of which I’ve shared here with you over the years. There was so much value in all of my ups and downs: the joy of traveling the world; the sweetness of victory after a missed cut; satisfaction in progress; qualities known to cherish after a revolving door of caddies and coaches; meaningful connections made with former strangers; how to stay strong mentally and physically; even where to book the cheapest rental car or flight. I can’t imagine a more fun way to learn some of life’s most important lessons.
There have been a couple other exciting developments in my life, too: my fiancé Steve accepted a new job in San Francisco, and we have moved to the city together. And yes, I said fiancé (!). While vacationing to Switzerland in December, he proposed and I happily said yes.
As for what I will do next… I’m not sure! I am excited to create a new career, I just don’t know what that will be yet. Golf remains my greatest passion, but I am ready to develop some other passions, too. I am open to hearing any ideas and making connections in the Bay Area!
Thank you all for following along the last six years. While the original purpose of this blog was simply to keep my investors informed on the progress of my career, I think the exercise of stopping to gather my thoughts into a cohesive letter every so often ended up being as beneficial for me as it was for anyone else. And whether you were a sponsor, playing partner, competitor, host family, coach, caddie, spectator, or simply a reader of this blog— thank you! I’m eternally grateful for each helping hand along the way.
1/24/2019 08:51:19 pm
1/24/2019 09:06:36 pm
Maddie, you will always be a winner in our eyes. I know your mom wouldn't agree, but you get your grit from your grandfather McKeighan. Although I never played sports - I consider myself a goldstar mom - I got that same grit and I know right where it came from because I lived either with him or near him my whole life. It's a legacy you should be very proud of, not a lot of people have it! I wish you and Steve well! I know you will have a wonderful life together in the Bay area. Stay in touch with your cousin Cooper (he's a really fun guy). Love you more than all the golf I had to watch when I lived with my dad!) Yours, Aunt Lori
1/24/2019 09:49:43 pm
I’m so darn proud of you Maddie. You have lived, learned and loved. I’m so happy that you can move on to your next passion and look back on the last 6 with such positivity. We are all better off for taking the challenge, making the ride but then accepting the end and moving forward to God has in store for you next. I can’t eait to see you soon. Big hugs.
1/25/2019 03:14:56 am
Thanks for sharing. Always wondered how you girls do it on tour. It looks like fun, great group of women out together playing golf, but as someone who after 20 years 'still can't chip' - I get it. Wishing you great success and happiness in your next phase.
1/25/2019 04:16:49 am
Good luck with everything! San Francisco is a great place to start your new chapter!❤️❤️
1/25/2019 08:22:37 am
Tough decision, but very understandable. No one knows the "grind" until they have been booking flights, finding decent accommodations, good places to eat healthy, exercise, and then to be able to actually practice and work on your game; especially after you have missed a cut.
Uncle Don & Aunt Sue
1/25/2019 10:55:47 am
We couldn't be more proud of you on your climb up the mountain even if you had completed the climb to the peak! It's all about taking the journey and what you've learned about life in that journey. We know that you will be successful as you move on down the road. Best of wishes for you and Steve in the Bay Area and into the future. 😍
1/25/2019 12:26:20 pm
Maddie we are very proud of you and your journey that will lead you to wonderful new things. Enjoy SF and best of luck you two.
1/25/2019 07:26:37 pm
Loved reading this and can only imagine how hard it is to make this decision. Ya got your grit I think from your mom who I knew pretty well back in the day in Boise (and Moscow).
1/25/2019 10:29:32 pm
Maddie, what a beautiful letter and such a tough decision. I am very proud of you and everything you have accomplished. You have achieved so much and I can't wait to see what the next adventures will be for you. Congratulations to you and Steve.
1/26/2019 12:48:35 am
Nice honesty. I agree with others, keep writing. You have the name of future author!
1/26/2019 06:10:07 am
Marina Alex’s twitter feed led me to your blog. So beautifully and honestly written. I wish I’d found it when you started writing but I think I’ll go back and read your archives. To those of us who only ever dreamed of being a professional athlete at any level, your humility is heartwarming. There doesn’t always seem to be a lot of humility in sports. Best wishes in your future. Plenty of ways to make it into the top ten each week without playing golf.
1/26/2019 07:01:41 am
I applaud your self evaluation! Never easy. I enjoyed watching you grow! You did improve during the years I saw you work and practice.
1/26/2019 09:22:29 am
Best of luck in all your new endeavors. Coming to a fork in the road gives you untold opportunities to see what lies down the new path. My only regret is that you might freeze in San Francisco after AZ. It’s not even warm in the summer like Boise!
1/26/2019 12:56:22 pm
Good luck in your new life in San Francisco one of my favourite Cities particularly around the Bay area. 'Talent' is hitting a Target that others cannot, 'Genius' is hitting a Target that others cannot see.
2/4/2019 11:14:37 am
Wow, Maddie, you are so self-aware, strong, and determined that I am sure your next adventures in life will also bring you much fulfillment. Congrats on your engagement to Steve! Your mom has said great things about him. There is a complimentary massage waiting for you the next time you are in Boise! Come in and tell about all the great things happening in your life!
2/13/2019 07:41:00 pm
Best of luck to you. My daughter and the girls on her golf team appreciated your clinic at Brickyard Crossing last season. We followed you a bit when you were playing with Lydia Ko and Erica Shepard.
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