After a successful amateur career, Lucy Goddard turned pro in 2015 before completing Q-School and joining the Ladies European Tour for 2017. We caught up with the player after her first LET event at the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco…
Have you got a busy year ahead of you?
I’m playing the Santander Golf Tour this season and mixing that with the LET Access and the LET events that I can play. It’s my first year on the LET and I want to play as much as I can, but I still need to plan my time to make sure that I don’t get any injuries or anything. As I’m playing on three tours there’s quite a lot going on.
When did you start playing golf?
I didn’t start until I was about 12 and I started competing at 14. Then when I started winning things, I realised how much I loved it and I decided to take it up properly. I was quite sporty anyway and I already played netball. We just loved sport as a family, my brothers and I just took to it naturally.
I started on the Young Masters Golf (YMG) junior programme. It was a fantastic and there should be more things like that around. It really did kick start my love for the game and it taught me all the rules it an enjoyable way.
Then I went through county and to England. But I didn’t actually get to play for England because at that point I got injured and all my back problems started.
What happened to your back?
For a couple of seasons before I stopped completely my lower back had been playing up and I had to pull out of a few events. Then I went to have a MRI and they discovered that I had a degenerative disc. But that alone wasn’t enough to cause all the problems; there were also a few functional issues going on that I’ve since learnt about. If I’d known about them back then I might be in a different situation now. But you just have to learn from these things.
So I had to stop playing for a year and a half when I was 18 and I went to uni before I turned pro. I still have to carefully plan my events otherwise I eventually have to stop competing for a while. I stopped in October before I went to Q-school and earned a category on the LET for 2017. I was gutted that I didn’t get my full card but I was pleased when I looked at the bigger picture and realised what I’d achieved. Particularly as I hadn’t played for half the year.
What did you study at uni?
I studied Sport and Exercise science. I did the degree with the whole aim of playing on the LPGA and competing in majors as that’s where I want to be. Since I picked up golf that’s what I’ve wanted. I’ve just been chasing this dream and I’ve created this journey for myself and I won’t stop until I get there!
I enjoy studying, I’m a bit of a geek like that. Not that I get fantastic grades all the time but I loved learning. I’m passionate about sport so I knew I’d love learning about the physiology of the body and all sports, not just golf.
I did my dissertation on golf biomechanics and how weight is transferred in the golf swing. It was a lot of research! But I got there in the end and I got a first for that.
Playing and studying at the same time would have been hard. It was probably fortunate in an academic way that my back played up when it did and I had time to concentrate on uni.
What do your friends from home think to your career as a golfer?
Don’t even go there! But I guess everyone loses friends from home as you all go off on your own journeys.
I’ve got my own little crew from school and uni, and they all understand what my life is like. They’re my true friends who understand where I’m going and support me.
They still wind me up by saying things like, “Don’t you get bored of standing at the golf club all day?” They just don’t understand!
Aren’t they jealous that you get to travel abroad so much?
They are, that’s another thing. They’re like, “oh luce you get to go everywhere” or, “where are you going next, you lucky thing I want to go with you.”
They’re all teachers and things like that so their jobs are very different. They’re always saying how brown I am, I’m just like, “oh am I?” (laughs)
I’m going there now to meet my uni friends for some chill time. We need to do more of that.
Do people think that being a golfer is more glamorous than it really is?
It is glamorous but there’s a side to it that people don’t see. Like when you’re dragging your luggage around and waiting hours for a plane.
If you’ve missed the cut and you’ve played bad or got injured you’re just like, “come on get me home!” People think I’ll be living it up out there but you can’t really sightsee that much because you’ve got to keep the costs down.
It’s great because you’re going to all these places and meeting new people and just chasing the sun really. But there is a side to it that people don’t understand, when I explain it to them they’re like, “oh I didn’t realise that!”
Do you think you get enough support from the LET?
I think so, but this is my first year on the LET so I can’t really comment.
I’m part of the LET development group which does great work promoting golf and getting more people to play and see the fun side of it.
From my first time doing this I can see that there are loads of events in Asia, which is maybe where all the money is being pumped, I don’t know. There’s not enough events in Europe, there isn’t even one in England and it would be great if there was. But it’s my first year and I can’t wait to see what it’s all about.
Do you have other jobs when you’re not playing?
Yes I’ve done babysitting and I work behind the bar at Brickendon Grange which is near where I live. I need the money so I have to do it, but I realised when I was playing at Terre Blanche that I need to cut back on my hours. Standing at the bar tires my back out and I don’t think it’s the best preparation.
Because I don’t have any sponsorship I’m always having to think of ways to make money like meet the pro days and things like that. Its all extra income and it’s fun.
How often do you practice?
It’s honestly every day. Maybe not full days but I make sure I do something every day. I’ll take one day off a week if a need it, but that might be a morning or an afternoon here and there.
Do you go to the gym a lot?
Yes I do gym work and conditioning work at home. It’s important that I try and keep injuries at bay as much as I can. You’re always going to have some as it’s a competitive sport that you do every day. But conditioning is vital, especially in the last few years with my back problems.
Do you always try and stick to a healthy diet?
Since my back first played up six years ago I’ve been on a low gluten diet. I used to cut it out completely but that got a bit too much. Now I’ll have a bit of rice and things occasionally. But I’m generally very healthy and I eat raw, clean foods.
Do you meet up with any of the other players when you’re back at home?
Yes. All the English girls travel together, so we try to meet up as much as we can. Gabs Cowley and Keely Chiericato are local to me, so we meet up regularly. They’re the people I spend the most time with on tour and they’re my best mates.
Is it a bit cliquey on tour?
Only because we tend to hang around with players who are from the same country, but a few chop and change. But in every sport you’re going to get some cliques and bitching but it isn’t really that bad. It’s just what girls do!
Is it very competitive?
It is because everyone wants to do well and beat everyone else. If you’re not like that then you shouldn’t be there really. But at the end of the day we’re all mates and it’s not cut-throat or anything.
Do you miss home when you’re away?
Yes definitely. It’s hard when you’re away for weeks. I especially miss home, I’m always Facetiming my family and when they say they miss me I’m like, “don’t say that to me!” It is hard but it’s just part of what we do. Also when you’re there you just focus on playing. But I always miss my own bed!
Do your parents ever come out and watch you?
They’d love to, but my brother Harry Goddard is very good and showing great potential. He’s in the England under-18s’ squad. He’s been to Vietnam and South Africa already this year with them, so he’s on a similar journey to me. My dad is working extremely hard, every day and night as a black cab taxi driver in London. So he’s struggling with Uber damn them. He’d loved to come out and he used to caddy for me a bit but it’s just so expensive to have someone else come out with me. At the moment they don’t come to watch but obviously they’d love to.
Did you inspire your brother to take up golf?
Harry started when he was only two with plastic clubs. He’s going to be so good and out on the main tour so I hope I did inspire him and I do what I can to support him. I give him advice from what I’ve learnt from my time playing.
Is it hard to have a relationship when you’re a pro?
Yes, mainly because you’re away so much. Also I’m on a path to try and be exceptional and I need someone who also has that mind set. But I know it’s not something that will happen at the moment.
If you weren’t a golfer what would you be doing?
I think I’d still be doing music in some way, I used to sing and play the piano. I’m always singing, the girls on tour will tell you that!
Do you think golf is still male dominated?
Yes, but I do think there will be a time when it will be more equal. At the moment it still is because of the whole mindset that women’s golf is boring.
People would much rather watch the men’s because it’s on all the time, but there’s so much talent on the ladies’ tour that should be shown. And we’re fun and we have a laugh and we’re great girls, so that needs to be shown as well. People say there’s no money on the ladies’ tours but there is on the LPGA. There would be more money if people just gave it the chance. It will get there if all the ladies stick together and help move it forward. I’m so passionate about that as you can probably tell.
I think making it more fun, and having shorter, more 9 hole games would encourage people. Because a full course is too long for someone who is just starting to play.
Have you ever been treated differently at a golf club because you’re a girl?
No not really. But men will look at me when I’m on the tee and I can see they are sort of surprised when they realise that I can actually hit a ball further than they can. You just have to let the golf do the talking.
Do you ever get nervous when you’re playing?
I always just want to start and get going. But I know how to manage any nerves. Everyone gets a bit nervous because you all want to perform at your best.
What’s been your best finish?
I shot 10-under 61 to tie the lead in the Santander tour event. I just lost out on the play-offs to a birdie. That’s been the highlight of my golf career so far.
You can follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyGoddard91
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