Liz Young reveals what being a mother on the Ladies European Tour is really like.
“Before Motherhood It Was All About Me And My Golf, Now I’m A Mum, It’s About Her”
Playing on Tour can be difficult at the best of the times. In a season, you are regularly travelling from country to country without seeing any of your friends or family.
For Ladies European Tour member, Liz Young, motherhood on Tour has really “put life in to perspective,” with the 38-year-old revealing that “before motherhood it was all about me and my golf, but now I’m a mum, it’s not about you, it’s about her, I’m out here to provide a living.
“I’m often away for a lot of weeks, but then I’m also home for a lot of weeks, so I try and put it into perspective, I could have a 9-5 job, which is 48 weeks of the year, but with my job, I can be away for 20 weeks, but I can be home for 20 weeks.”
As the majority of people know, Tour players make a lot of sacrifices: “My baby is five at the end of October and recently they opened the schools to new parents. However, because it was a Tuesday afternoon I missed it because I had to be here at the draw party, so my husband had to take her and I missed out on that.
“I know things like that are going to happen. For example, her first full day of school I’ve got to be away in France.
“It’s just trying to balance it. I can’t do more than three weeks away because it’s not fair on the family and her. It just means that when I am at a tournament I have to knuckle down, get the points and the money and then move on.
“This lifestyle is tough, when I was younger I missed friend’s weddings, I had to say no to being a bridesmaid. You miss friend’s birthday’s, their first child, and it’s because your job just goes on through the weekend.”
Many female golfers have had children whilst still playing out on Tour. Michelle Wie put her career on hold for nearly two-years due to marriage and motherhood, whilst Catriona Matthew famously won the Women’s British Open only 11 weeks after giving birth to her daughter.
Although these are a few examples, Young says: “Most of the girls who have a kid quit, they have a baby and go ‘I may come back’ but they never do because they can’t.
“If I didn’t have both sets of parents that live close by then I couldn’t be on Tour. I couldn’t leave it to my husband and nursery because it wouldn’t work, you need a big support network because things happen and do go wrong.”
On the LPGA Tour, they have the Smucker’s LPGA Child Development Centre, which, for the last 25 years, has allowed LPGA Tour mums to compete at the highest level while also having their children along for the journey.
“What the LPGA have is amazing, they have so much support and it’s always the same people who work for them so your kids aren’t meeting a different person each week, but it’s a budget thing, and if you did have the Smucker’s here there wouldn’t be any mum’s at the moment.
“So I understand being a mum at the moment we need more support, but I understand as a player why we don’t have that, but it is so tough.”