Lauren Stephenson enjoying challenge of rookie life in LPGA

One club, one goal.

Lauren Stephenson’s journey to golf stardom began at age 5, with a single club her father, Charles, gave her – with a singular mission in mind.

“I started playing at age 5 with my dad for fun,” Lauren says. “I only had one club and he would drop me off at 150 yards, and tell me to just keep hitting until I got to the green!”

Lauren hasn’t stopped hitting to the greens. The Lexington, S.C., native debuted on the LPGA tour in 2019, continuing a stellar high school and collegiate career with a place among the world’s best.

Lauren followed that early lesson to the greens as a successful prep player, earning first-team Rolex Junior All-American status in 2014. She became the first woman golfer at Clemson University to reach the NCAA championships, as a freshman. She followed that with All-Southeastern Conference recognition (and also the SEC academic honor roll) after transferring to the University of Alabama.

With the Crimson Tide, Lauren became the nation’s leading scorer as a junior, made the USGA 2018 Curtis Cup squad and secured a spot on the U.S. Palmer Cup team that year, too. She was the Golfweek Player of the year in 2018 and is the only female golfer in program history to shoot a 10-under round.

She earned All American status twice in a star-studded college career.

Lauren qualified for her LPGA Tour card in 2018, while still at Alabama, and decided to forego her remaining semester of eligibility. And now, as a pro, Lauren exhibits the same laid-back demeanor that kept her focused on improving, without stressing herself out over the results.

“The most important thing is to have fun,” Lauren says. “If you are stressed every time you go out and play, it’s really hard to get better. If you just enjoy the challenge (because golf is extremely hard for a lot of people) then it will be easier to improve.”

Right now, with pro golf interrupted, Lauren is fortunate to have her home course open still. In videos posted to her Twitter account, Lauren says she’s working out and trying her hand at cooking healthy meals during the COVID-19 break in competitive play.

 

Blackmoore Bunker Shot

Tidewater Driver Swing

Always a student of the game, Lauren’s regiment normally involves the refinement of the fine points of her game, anyway.

“My practice routine is heavily weighted toward my short game,” she says. “I love practicing wedges and chipping. I usually start a practice by chipping and then hitting full wedge shots from 60 to 110 yards. Then I will hit on the range for 20-30 minutes depending on how much technique I am working on.”

Next, it’s all about playing the game. “I will typically always play 9 holes if not 18,” she says.

It’s a pragmatic approach that’s born of a love for the game. Lauren says she has no superstitions about her play – although she always takes a one-hour warmup before every tournament round.

In three showings early in 2020, Lauren made the cut in the Women’s Australian Open and finished tied for 48th (1-under). She tied for 35th in the LPGA at Boco Rio at 2-under par. She ranks 52 on the LPGA.

For now, Lauren, who says her favorite area course is TPC Myrtle Beach, will keep fine-tuning her game in South Carolina and waiting for the game to start up again.

“The tentative plan is to start back tournament golf in June, so hopefully we can get back to playing,” Lauren says. “It’s been extremely weird having an offseason during the middle of our season.”