|Catching up with Renee|
The sound is music to a golfer's ears. For Renee Skidmore '08, the clunk of the ball hitting the cup and rolling to the bottom was more than the satisfaction of a round well-played. It marked her first professional victory.
"I'll never forget the feeling I had tapping in my last putt and the sound of the ball hitting the back of the hole," said Skidmore as she revisited her April victory on the SunCoast Tour at Orlando, Fla. "It's engrained in my memory forever!"
Skidmore had plenty of success when she played for the Vandals from 2004-08. However, winning - and competing, at the professional level is an entirely different experience.
"One of the biggest differences between professional golf and college golf is that professional golf is individual," said Skidmore, a Big West Conference medalist, two-time NCAA regional qualifier for the Vandals, and member of the 2007 Western Athletic Conference championship team.
"In professional golf, you're on your own. There was definitely an adjustment and transition process to go through. You are your own boss and completely dependent on yourself!"
Time management rose to the fore as she left the structure of college for the life of a professional golfer. Now it's up to her to not only arrange her practice schedules and lessons but to reserve flights, cars and hotel rooms - and pay for it! Helping with that aspect is an apparel sponsorship by Shi-Golf, a Seattle-based company.
While home for Skidmore is Everett, Wash., she learned quickly she needed the ability to practice year-round to make her dream come true. She now spends winters in Florida where she has the benefit of the weather and proximity to her swing coach, Mike Adams. The third element to boosting her chances of success is strength training - not the strength needed to bench press 400 pounds but the endurance to perform the exacting golf swing over and over during rounds that can last as long as six hours.
"It gives you an edge and the stamina you need on long days on the course," said Skidmore, who blends cardio, weights and resistance bands with an abundance of stretching.
The plan is working. In addition to her SunCoast Tour victory, Skidmore has two top-15 finishes - at the 2010 Colorado Women's Open and the 2011 CN Canadian Women's Tour event at Squamish, B.C.
"I absolutely love my job!" Skidmore says. "Golf has given me the opportunity to travel, see different parts of the world, experience new cultures, and, most importantly, meet people and develop lasting friendships."
You can follow Skidmore's career at www.reneeskidmore.com/wordpress.