Current Residence: Orlando, Fla.
Hometown: Schladming, Austria
Home Golf Course: Bay Hill Club and Lodge
College: University of Central Florida
Profession: Professional Golfer
- Five-year member of the Austrian National Team (2002-2007).
- Moved to the United States at Age 16, enrolled at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
- All Conference USA selection during Sophomore year at the University of Central Florida.
- Five top-10 finishes at UCF. Team Captain in 2013.
- Rookie on the Symetra Tour in 2014.
One of the most decorated junior golfers out of Austria – a five-year member of the Austrian National Team – Carolin Pinegger doesn’t consider golf a profession or a career. She considers golf her personal sanctuary.
Growing up in Schladming, Austria, Pinegger took up the game of golf at age 7. By the age of 12, she was one of the top-ranked junior golfers in Europe. From 12-16, she was a member of the Austrian National Team, competing in junior amateur events throughout Europe.
“Playing all over Europe was a highlight of my childhood,” said Pinegger. “I learned a lot about myself and my golf game. Playing all over the world as a junior golfer made me realize I wanted to do this for a living.”
She and her mother began exploring for opportunities for her to further her junior golf career. She made the decision to move to the United States at age 16 and enrolled in the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. While she was nervous about moving from Austria to the United States, her boyfriend, also a decorated junior golfer from Austria, was planning to move to the United States as well.
Three weeks prior to moving to the United States, disaster struck. Her boyfriend was killed in a tragic automobile accident.
“To this day, that was the most difficult period of my life,” recalled Pinegger. “I didn’t even have time to really process what had happened before moving to America.”
Transitioning to life in America was a very difficult adjustment for her. Trying to overcome her loss, she also was adjusting to a new way of life, away from her family. She was determined to press the reset button, but admittedly, it was a difficult process.
“During my last two years of high school I had a lot of frustration and sadness built up inside me,” said Pinegger. “My only escape from all of the stresses I had was to go to the golf course and just get lost in a round of golf, so to speak.”
Slowly, her golf game returned. Her anger issues deteriorated. When she accepted a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida in 2009, she was beginning her process of channeling her emotions and turning it into a positive. It took her four years of college to properly manage her attitude, but with the help of her coaches and teammates, she found enjoyment in the game she loved since she was a child.
“The golf course is my home. It is the one place where I know I can go to escape,” said Pinegger. “I literally had to re-learn how to enjoy the game again. It was a long process, but one that I needed to go through. It has helped me so much to become a better person off the golf course.”
Following graduation, she turned professional and competed in the 2013 LPGA Qualifying Tournament. She kept her emotions in check and advanced to the final stage, earning full status for the Symetra Tour in 2014, where she is competing full time.
“I’m getting better every day and getting more confident,” said Pinegger. “I’m excited to see what 2014 brings.”
With her game the best it has ever been and her mental game sharper than ever, Pinegger just might be one to watch on Big Break Myrtle Beach.