Wishing Nelly Korda a speedy recovery — Women’s health resources — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, March 17, 2022
Happy Golf Thursday and St. Patty’s Day everyone! This week’s topic is a bit on the serious side and one that is extremely important.
Over the weekend, world no. 2 Nelly Korda, announced over her social media that she is seeking treatment for a blood clot she suffered last Friday.
My thoughts are with Nelly as she recovers, and I hope that it isn’t anything too serious. For today’s Golf Thursday, let’s get candid about women’s health and the conditions we go through as athletes. But I’m not just talking about the casual injury like tennis elbow or wrist sprains, I’m talking about the kinds of things that impact brain chemistry, hormonal balance (or rather imbalances), and even confidence in your ability to perform.
Over the last couple of years, there’s been a global push for people to start opening up about their struggles with mental health, and female athletes have been at the forefront of this initiative. From Naomi Osaka, to Simone Biles, to Serena Williams, hell, even Michael Phelps has spoken out and partnered with the app TalkSpace focusing on mental health during the pandemic.
The conversations surrounding anxiety, burnout and depression have gotten more complicated with the COVID-19 pandemic completely altering our way of life. For so many of us, we have been robbed of major milestones, but we also mourn the fact that the small little moments of our daily lives have been stripped away too. But we still haven’t been able to properly grieve the loss of what was once our normality.
We can all agree that one of the biggest things that helped us heal as a country was the return of sports. However, we must remember that our favorite athletes are human too. Some of have lost family during the pandemic, some were probably suffering in silence for years before they felt comfortable with speaking up, and others are allowed to just have a bad day — like the rest of us.
In a study conducted in 2016, 465 Division I athletes were surveyed on their mood, appetite, attention, relationships and sleeping habits over the course of three years. What researchers found was that almost 25% of these athletes displayed symptoms of depression at varying levels. The study concluded by stating that women were twice as likely to show signs of depression then men.
This is a statistic that stayed extremely consistent, even beyond sports, and quite a few research analyses even went as far as to distinguishing factors of why this is.
Although I possess a degree in psychology, a team from the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at NYU’s School of Medicine presented an article entitled “The psychology of the female athlete: how mental health and wellness mediate sports performance, injury and recovery”, that contextualizes everything that I am not able to. Read this, read it again, and then send it to five people. It touches on anxiety and depression, injuries and the anxiety of returning, resiliency, mindfulness, disordered eating, and the effects of social media on female athletes.
The mental health onion has a lot of layers. Anxiety and depression have gotten a lot of attention (rightfully so), but there’s one condition that can sneak up on you if you’re not careful — burnout.
Burnout, defined as, a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity, has also been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. It’s something that has personally impacted me on several occasions in my life, especially growing up in golf.
Months back, I detailed my personal journey with golf, but I shied away from some big feelings I experienced at the age of 16. To put it simply, I was exhausted. I hated the thought of practicing, especially once I made the decision to play collegiately — it felt pointless. I had no motivation and my feelings towards golf shifted from love to resentment and it kept me away for quite some time.
The catalyst of today’s topic, Nelly Korda, even expressed her own struggles with burnout after her whirlwind season last year. Back in November she was quoted saying, “I’ve put in a lot of work, but mentally being in these positions and playing week-in and week-out under the pressure definitely takes a toll on you. I think mentally I feel like I’ve just learned more about myself (this year). I also learned to take some time off and step away from the game, because I was burnt out after the Solheim (Cup) and mentally so fatigued. I just learned more about myself and what I need to do possibly going into the upcoming seasons.”
We are all susceptible of being impacted by burnout, or any other mental health condition/disorder and this is something that you shouldn’t take lightly. For this week’s Five at The IX I will be mentioning some resources that you may find helpful.
Now that the neuroscience portion of today’s lesson has been addressed, let’s get into the hormonal portion. I won’t get too sex-ed but it’s important to understand how menstruation, something that occurs to women an average of 450 times in their lifetimes, affects our athletic performances. There are four phases of the menstrual cycle, menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase. Depending on the phase, the female body will experience different things, impacting performance. For example, during the follicular phase, estrogen levels increase, and higher energy levels occur, therefore the time to get in that high-intensity workout in is during this phase. This article breaks down each menstrual phase and how they impact athletic performance. My friends at Draw and Fade Modern wrote about the menstrual phases and how they relate to golf specifically, too!
What happened to Nelly is physical rather than mental (or menstrual), but we’d be foolish if we didn’t attribute some environmental factors to her diagnosis. But in case you were curious (just like me), there are some injuries that female athletes are more prone to than men! This Harvard Medical blog outlines what’s called “the sports injury gender gap”, and the actual anatomical difference that put women at more risk of knee and shoulder injuries, as well as sprains and tears.
It’s bizarre to think that world-renowned, 23 year-old athlete like Nelly can experience something like a blood clot, but you just never know what elements can play a role in someone’s health. This should also serve as a lesson for all of us to listen to our bodies, they know when something is wrong, and to get your annual check ups done!
“A woman’s health is her capital.”— Harriet Beecher Stowe, American abolitionist and author
This week in women’s golf
If you have links you wish to share, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!
I linked so many things above, that I’m keeping it light this week with some tweets (which is fairly easy since the LPGA is on a break until next week)!
The 21st anniversary of The GOAT’s iconic score of 59. A feat that no one else has done in the history of the LPGA Tour.
Golf fans are over the LPGA being over-looked when it comes to growth and development in women’s sports!!
It’s always special when one of the original 13 founders of the LPGA gets highlighted, get a bit of a history lesson from this story by Joyce Bassett All In: LPGA co-founder Shirley Spork’s impact on golf a women’s history lesson.
Our dear friend Sarah Kellam does it again with this AMAZING piece on Golf’s greatest girl gang for LPGA.com! It’s such a fun read.
There’s a first time for everything…
Our ladies across the pond are teeing it up this weekend, check tee times via the link!
Big names Georgia Hall and Anna Nordqvist are fans of the LET events in Saudi Arabia and praise the Aramco Saudi Ladies International on it’s diverse field, the course set up, and the prize money doesn’t hurt!
Epson Tour News
This is such a touching story. Most of the time, it’s more than just golf for us.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the players and coach of the Southwest University’s golf teams who were tragically killed in a vehicle accident. More information on what happened can be found here.
It’s difficult to follow up such difficult news, but there’s more college golf news like Wake Forest’s Rachel Kuehn wins Northrop Grumman at Palos Verdes, earns sponsor exemption to new LPGA event on same course.
The chilling story of a Ukrainian golfer trapped in a war zone. There’s so much information (and misinformation) about what’s going on in Ukraine, but this story deserves your attention. This is a child, experiencing what no child should go through.
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Five at The IX: Women’s health resources
In light of Women’s History Month and of today’s topic, I wanted to take some time and highlight some resources to keep us in the best mental and physical shape of our lives.
I love a good book and one that I read in the last 2 years that has shaped my way of thinking/living was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. For me it was chicken soup for the soul! I read it during a time where I felt lost and my wonder-lust was peaking during 2020. It satiated all my feelings and helped me on my journey of becoming more flexible with my life’s outcomes.
For more mindfulness books, here’s a list breaking down the best selling books from 2020!
For health and wellness, here’s a great resource that breaks down getting and staying active!
For your mental health needs, these are all great for facts on mental health, ways to monitor your mood (please seek professional help for an official diagnosis), and patient support services:
For other non-mental health related information, here’s a list of more diseases and conditions from things like acne to sexually transmitted infections.
By no means is this list exhaustive, but it’s something! I hope that this is something that is beneficial to everyone, not just women. And please remember, I am always here as someone to listen and be an advocate for anyone who needs it. Take care!
|By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer|
|By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer|
|By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next|
|By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX|
|By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden|
|By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer|