How Brooke Henderson and Sophia Schubert found their Flow State — Interview: LPGA Rookie Allisen Corpuz — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, July 28, 2022
I’ve been surrounded by a lot of amazing golf lately. Every day I go to work and I watch kids make contact with a ball for the first time and their excitement level is through the roof. Last week, I gave a playing lesson and witnessed a woman make her first ever true par. I turn on my TV and I see Brooke Henderson go 64-64 in the first two rounds of a major and then battle it out on the back nine on Sunday to claim her first major in six years. And just yesterday, one of my favorite humans in the world won the New Jersey Men’s State Open.
Good golf doesn’t just happen. It’s an accumulation of years of practice and experience that manifest into a moment or a series of moments. There may be some luck sprinkled in there somewhere, but when it comes to winning — it’s a journey.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared a personal anecdote, so here we go. In July 2015, I played in a small local tournament in preparation for my upcoming high school season and to add another score into the handicap system…y’all know how it is. I was partnered with my best friend at the time, and we had eerily similar golf games. The first day we both shot 74, nothing great but not too bad. For the most part I can still recall almost every shot I made, my club selection, and how I was feeling in the moment. But the second day, it was like I blacked out. I shot even par on the front, with nine consecutive pars. I went on to shoot a three under, 69 to win the tournament. According to my dad and my friend I even managed to hole out from the fairway on the second-to-last hole for eagle. But I seriously remember none of it. I was in my flow state.
Some of you may be familiar with “flow state”, but if you aren’t, the flow state is a positive psychology term used to describe a full immersion into a task you’re passionate about. Flow doesn’t occur to you when you’re relaxing or performing a mundane task, it happens when your cortisol levels have risen, you’re in a state of arousal, and you know you’re being challenged. One of the psychologist who popularized “flow state”, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, gave this incredible TED Talk years ago that everyone should watch at least once.
In 2015, I had no idea what the flow state was, all I knew was that I was in my zone. It wasn’t until 2019, the year my dad Flotilla (Flo for short) died, when I even learned about the flow state. I had conceptualized what it meant to flow through golf, but I get the same sensation when I write sometimes. Once you identify it, it’s easy to pinpoint the moments in your life where you were flowing.
There were two standouts from this past week at the Evian Championship. Obviously Brooke Henderson as the champion, but rookie Sophia Schubert garnered everyone’s attention with her Sunday rally. When she spoke to LPGA media after her round she had this to say: “I think the last few holes coming in, I just had this sense of peace. So, I just hit every shot and kept going.” That’s flow.
The champ had a similar experience and told reporters, “Majors are won on the back nine on Sunday, and I was just trying to remind myself of that. Stay in it as long as I could and push towards the end.” She made three birdies on her final five holes. That’s flow.
I’ll leave you all with this, the book I read that taught me what I know about flow was Golf Flow by Gio Valiante. We may not be major winning golfers, but we can all learn to embrace flow.
“Give up control to gain control.”George Knudson, Canadian professional golfer
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This week in women’s golf
If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at email@example.com ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!
Some major news to pop off this week’s links:
Also…Danielle Kang provided an update on her swing.
I always love those heart-warming stories that give us a little more insight on players. This Golfweek piece on Switzerland’s Albane Valenzuela and her parents will make you swoon!
Greg Norman and the LIV Tour are finding new ways to keep us talking about them! But the latest is that LPGA Commissioner would answer their call… I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.
Georgia Hall is a fan favorite at this week’s Scottish Open! And she’s just as psyched as her fans. “I’m extremely excited,” she said. “This is my favourite venue of The Scottish Open that I’ve ever played, so I’m really happy to be back here. I had some really good finishes here in 2016 and 2017. I’m really happy to be back in Scotland.”
Epson Tour News
The fall semester is right around the corner, which means college golf is almost back! Here are a couple schedules that I have seen floating around!
Five at The IX: Interview with LPGA Rookie Allisen Corpuz
Allisen has made her professional debut this season! She is a USC alum, where she claimed three individual wins and 16 top-10 finishes. I got to talk briefly with Allisen about her rookie season, playing in majors, and her goals for the season’s final major at Muirfield!
How would you sum up your rookie season so far with a single sentence?
The season has been more fun than I expected, with playing all the beautiful courses and meeting cool people, it’s been a ton of fun.
What has been your favorite event to play in this season?
The match play in Las Vegas for sure. People told me that playing Shadow Creek made you feel like you weren’t even in Vegas and it’s true. Everything was so green and pristine.
How does prepping for a major differ from any other tournament?
My prep changes based on where I am in my game, not so much based on the event. For the majors, I feel like ball striking is extremely important given that the courses are longer, so I’ve been really working on ball striking.
With links style, I’ve been practicing different shots around the green like bump and runs.
You didn’t make the cut last week in Evian, describe what that experience was like anyways? Did you stay the weekend or did you switch gears for this week’s Scottish Open?
It was my first time in France, and the sites where just incredible. You could go out and see Lake Genova, so I really just soaked that in. The small town of Evian had a few things to do, I’m pretty sure we got ice cream every night!
Obviously the week didn’t go how I wanted, but I stuck around to practice. I feel like it’s best to stick with your travel plan, instead of trying to leave early or go somewhere else.
Can you share your goals for next week’s AIG Women’s Open?
My mentality and baseline goal every week is to make the cut and give myself a chance to go low on the weekend. I try to stick to my game, play smart, manage the course, and take care of my golf.
That mentality has gotten me through the season and ultimately I’ll end up, where I end up.
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