Current Residence: Fort Worth, Texas
Hometown: Wichita Falls, Texas
College: Texas Christian University
Home Course: Shady Oaks Country Club, Ft. Worth, Texas
Profession: Professional Golfer
No regrets. No “what ifs.”
That is Lauren Sullivan’s motto as she pursues her dream of walking the fairways on the LPGA Tour. Lauren’s passion for golf has never burned brighter, but for the longest time she had little desire to play professional golf.
The majority of Lauren’s contemporaries on Big Break Florida focused on competitive golf through high school and college with the goal of competing on the LPGA Tour. Lauren took a different path. After graduating high school in three years and winning numerous high school and junior events on the North Texas Junior PGA and the American Junior Golf Association, she hung up her clubs. She enrolled at Texas Christian University in pursuit of a medical degree.
“My dad is a doctor and I come from a family of doctors, so I have been around the medical field all of my life,” said Lauren. “I used to go on rounds with my dad while growing up, and I thought at an early age this is what I wanted to do.”
Lauren was introduced to golf by her next door neighbor growing up, decorated amateur golfer Rufus King. King, who was runner-up in the 1949 U.S. Amateur Championship and among those in the field at both the 1950 Masters and U.S. Open, took Lauren and her brothers under his wing by teaching them the game he loved.
“I would come home from soccer practice and see him chipping in the yard every day,” recalled Lauren. “When my brothers and I joined him, he saw that we had natural abilities for the game and he taught us how to play. He was my swing coach all the way through high school. He loved giving back to something that meant so much to him.”
Lauren played in her first tournament at age 12 and quickly fell in love with the game. While she loved being out on the golf course, continuing her golf career after high school was never a thought. She had other plans for herself, namely TCU and a post graduate education.
She played golf once in a while during college “just for fun.” After graduating from TCU with a biology degree in 2010 she planned on continuing her education.
In 2011, all of that changed when she competed in a “Member/Member” tournament at Shady Oaks Country Club in Ft. Worth with her mother-in-law, which was her first tournament since high school.
She hadn’t played competitively in more than four years, and she was frustrated with how she played. But frustration turned into determination, and her competitive juices started flowing again.
She knew her game better than how she played in that tournament. She immediately started working with Mike Wright, director of golf at Shady Oaks, to improve her swing and mechanics.
In the weeks prior to the Member/Member, Lauren also had taken up the game more consistently. She loved the serenity and peacefulness of being on the golf course, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Mike saw the determination and the renewed passion that Lauren had for the game, and bluntly asked her one afternoon why is she putting this much effort into golf.
“I want to get better, I want to be the golfer that I used to be in high school,” was Lauren’s reply.
Mike’s follow-up question changed Lauren’s career-path. He asked her if she wanted to try to play competitively, and if so, then she was going to need to decide between school and golf.
No regrets. No “what ifs.”
“In life, you one get one shot, and I try not to live with regrets,” said Lauren.
With the blessing of her husband and parents, she began to focus solely on her golf career in 2011. As her test, she played in two Cactus Tour events in the fall of 2011, her first individual stroke play tournaments in four years. Happy with her results, she pushed forward full speed ahead and turned professional in May, 2012.
In her first two years as a professional, Lauren has seen moderate success, highlighted by an eighth-place finish on the Cactus Tour. In the process, she also has changed swing coaches twice, overhauled her golf swing and suffered shoulder, elbow and leg injuries that slowed down her progress. She admits that she has had numerous false starts, but is not about to give up on her dream of walking the fairways on the LPGA Tour.
Her new swing coach, Brian Schorsten out of Colonial Country Club in Ft. Worth, also has instilled a new philosophy into Lauren’s golf swing and her mental approach. It is one that she is familiar with when she was first introduced to the game by her mentor, Rufus King: Simple.
“I would do anything for Rufus to be here to see me try to follow in his footsteps and playing on golf’s biggest stage,” said Lauren. “I know he is looking down and is proud of me.
“I don’t give up, that is not my personality,” she continued. “Persevering and working through something, that is what I thrive on. Overcoming all of these obstacles, the difficult road and the winding path is definitely more challenging and a lot more rewarding.”