Many amateur golfers feel they cannot play or practise as much as they would like. Ten-time LPGA winner (and new mother) Paula Creamer, is no different – but she has the answers.
For the 36-year-old Californian, a combination of mindset, making the most of time off the course, and being choosy about what she focuses on are key. Creamer tells RSNG.com how this enables her to cram everything into a crunched-down schedule, and yet still get her best results in competition – and how you can, too…
RSNG You’ve been a professional golfer since 2005 so you know how you and the game go together – is this how you’re able to pack so much good work into shorter practice sessions?
PAULA CREAMER, LPGA PRO “Yes, I think that’s the case. Also, having had injuries in the past, I know what I should be working on most and when not to push things and, ultimately, get injured due to over-practice.
“I don’t have all of the time I used to before I had my daughter. I am almost the blueprint for the 75% of amateur golfers who have jobs, families, commitments and all that.
“I totally admire people who commit so long to golf when they have so much other stuff going on. It is a big commitment and it’s done out of love.”
I am content in the career I have had so far – if it all ended tomorrow I would be proud of myself
RSNG Do you think it helps that you’ve already achieved a lot in the game?
PAULA CREAMER “Obviously being successful in the past and having won what I have, it takes the pressure off, and I don’t have that yearning that I need to keep pushing and pushing but am unfulfilled.
“Obviously I want to win more, and I want to win as much as possible, but I am content in the career I have had so far – if it all ended tomorrow I would be proud of myself.
“What I will say though is that the spirit and resolve I have – that feeling that if I am going to do something, I am going to do it the best way that I can – will never leave me. And if it does, I may as well just never pick up a club again.
“I love the game of golf, I love playing it, I love being out there on the course, on the range, hitting balls, working out a hole; but just like the other girls on tour, I want to win. I became a professional to pick up trophies and to be the best player that I can be. If my game isn’t where I want it to be, it hurts.”
RSNG How did it feel to spend time away from the competitive scene with the birth of Hilton – born January 2022 – and then go back into it?
PAULA CREAMER “It was never going to be easy, but as I say, I have always had confidence in myself, and I am the type of person and competitor who thrives on pressure.
“I don’t think it’s easy for anyone in sports to take time away from the competitive environment and then expect to be winning events straight away.
“It’s also evident that I don’t like to be away from my daughter and the very nature of golf is that it’s a traveling sport, so there are a whole new set of rules to be negotiated. It’s an interesting time though and I’m actually as happy as I’ve ever been.”
RSNG What did you do to try to get yourself back to a level where you were happy competing again?
PAULA CREAMER “My mindset is one of the first things which I need to be right. If you’re just hitting balls and not really thinking about what you’re doing, that’s no good.
Also, I didn’t feel like my game or my swing was where it should have been – which, I know, may seem natural. However, when you’re in a career trying to be successful – in fact, absolutely hellbent on winning – then you want to know why you’re not. I’m no different.
“So, I had to try to work on changing my swing over a number of months to get it to a place where I was comfortable with it. I think I’m at that place now.”
There is a lot you can do to improve your golf without actually having to set foot on a golf course
RSNG What tips do you have for any amateur players who may not have the time in their busy schedules to get the most out of their range work?
PAULA CREAMER “The trick is to focus just on your weak areas. Pinpoint the elements that are costing you and perfect those bits. It doesn’t just have to be at the range either – it could be general fitness or strength, or it could be the way you read a course or a green, and getting better at that.
“There is a lot you can do to improve your golf without actually having to set foot on a golf course.
“I worked with a coach who would subscribe to the 50/50 rule. Namely that half of your preparation and mindfulness is away from the course. You run through your technique, your processes, your understanding of the course, your mental game… you then store all that up and take it to the course, which is your other 50%.”
RSNG Where can players gain most by doing the least?
PAULA CREAMER “Always putting. Everyone knows this! And the great thing is you can practice in your garden, or kitchen, or anywhere!”
WHAT NEXT? Find out how Julia Engstrom’s long climb back from injury has made her a more resilient player in this exclusive RSNG.com interview….
Photos: Shutterstock/ REX