Florence Descampe: 'I think we had the good years on tour'May 4, 2018 News & Tour
The veteran golfer reflects back on her time on the LPGA and Ladies European Tour, and describes what it was like to play for Team Europe during their first Solheim Cup victory
What was it like to be part of Team Europe’s first Solheim Cup win at Dalmahoy in 1992?
It was the best. We play alone most of the time but this was of the few occasions when we got to play in a team and it was so much fun.
All of the girls that were normally my opponents became my best friends, it was wonderful. We had really bad weather that whole week, but it was still great.
Why do you think Europe were victorious that week?
Honestly, I think it was because we just had really good players on the team. Also, even if we are from different countries, Europe is still one nation.
We got along very well because we all played in America and stuck together when we were out there. The European players that were in America all knew each other. Like my caddie was best friends with Laura Davies, and I used to spend a lot of time with Trish Johnson.
The best was when I played either the fourball better ball or foursomes on the second day with Trish. It was so much fun.
Mark Fulcher caddied for me for six or seven years, he was with me for my whole career and did everything with me. He’s doing very well now and we still talk and chat. He was even at my wedding. I was very fiery and behaved quite badly with him on the golf course at times, but we were really good friends.
How many years did you play on the LPGA?
It was only for three or four. It was hard on the LPGA because we had no phone and no way of communicating. I was only 20 years old and I felt really alone. There was only other French speaking lady. I was flying backwards and forwards to Europe and it was really tiring. For me America was really hard.
My daughter is in America now and it’s really easy because we’re on WhatsApp and we can chat, but we were very lonely. For me that was the hardest part.
Is your daughter a good golfer?
She’s a very good golfer, very impressive and athletic. She’s playing at the University of Michigan, but she doesn’t want to turn pro. Many don’t, you have to be the best to do that.
Would you have done anything differently in your career?
I think I had the potential to do much better than I did even if I have won quite a lot. I retired when I was 27.
We were very lonely in our generation. I think I would have benefitted from more help and structure. I was with David Leadbetter but it was really hard to see him on the course, so maybe I should have taken someone with me who wasn’t such a famous teacher so I could have had more of a relationship with them on the course.
I would work on my physical condition more as if that had been better I think I would have lasted longer.
I got tired, but then if I had stayed on tour then I wouldn’t have had my three beautiful children. They are the most important things in my life, they bring me so much fun.
So no, I wouldn’t do anything differently, I was lucky enough to have seven good years and several wins.
What do you think will happen to the Ladies European Tour?
It isn’t going so well, I think we had the good years.
When I was playing we had fun, we had beautiful tournaments and real relationships with our sponsors. We had talks, but there wasn’t really so much arguing about how the tour was run.
I think since the beginning, the tour has tried to run the tour for the average golfer. When I think they should run the tour just for the best and cut the field.
It’s sad because we have beautiful players. They’re fit, talented, athletic, and good looking so it’s really sad to see this happening.
What did you think to the LPGA’s objections to Michelle Wie wearing a racer-back vest without a collar?
So what? In tennis they’re playing in mini-skirts and tops and no one is saying anything. So why not golf, golf is still a sport. I think if a girl is lucky enough to be good looking then good for her, and if that sells good for her.
They have to sell the tour somehow, and if that makes people come then why not.
How did your relationship with Las Colinas Golf & Country Club start?
The old manager of Las Colinas got in touch with me because they are selling a lot of their properties to Belgian people. They wanted someone to organise a golf tournament for them in Belgium to promote the resort.
I like the resort because it is peaceful and surrounded by nature. I think the golf course is really well designed and it’s fun because you have these little short holes, like number 7.
The houses are beautiful, so it’s not like you’re in a big hotel. The service is amazing, everyone is happy, says yes and finds a solution to every problem, it is an amazing place.
Do you plan on bringing more golf groups over from Belgium?
I come here two or three times a year with a big group of around 30. I do a lot of coaching and I like to teach people to have a relationship with the golf course.
Golf is not just a sport, it’s a relationship and I’m very connected to nature. So I like to really try to open people’s eyes to what you see and what you feel when you get on the course. I think a lot of teaching is done in a very technical way, and for me that’s not what golf is.
To find out more about Las Colinas visit www.lascolinasgolf.es