I first met Hailey early this summer at a Women's All Pro Tour event in Wichita Falls, TX. I've followed @haileyostrom on Instagram for several years and the improvements she has made on her swing have been so impressive to me. I can tell how hard she works and how dedicated she is to making it on tour which is her ultimate goal. After learning more about her, I'm even more impressed with her drive, discipline, and goals.
We "knew" each other because of social media and she was exactly as I would have expected her to be when we met in person. She has such a friendly, inviting personality with a great heart. It was such a pleasure to meet her. I'm excited to continue to follow along her journey and see where golf takes her.
Tell us about your golf background.
Where do I start!? I've been playing golf for as long as I can remember. My dad got me into the sport as soon as I could walk and I started competing in tournaments when I was nine years old. From there I played in high school and eventually went on to play for George Fox University. I would say I didn't truly fall in love with the game until my college years. This is where I decided as my own individual to put in the time necessary to be the best I could be. I didn't have anyone forcing me to go to practice. If I wasn't practicing and improving, I wouldn't have a spot on our very competitive team. The time I put into my game and seeing my improvement along the way was what made me love it even more. My progression in college golf is what made me realize I could make this into a profession. I knew I had the work ethic and had taken my game from a mid 90's player to a low 70's player in just four years. With a little - okay, A LOT - of encouragement from my parents, I decided to move to Arizona to join the tour and begin my professional dream.
Why do you love golf?
I love golf because of the competition. I've always been a competitive person even when I was a little girl. I grew up with one brother by blood, and a whole gang of his close friends who quickly became brothers to me as well. Being the only girl in the neighborhood crew meant I had to prove myself ALL. THE. TIME. Golf is my way of keeping that competitive bone alive. This doesn't mean competition against other golfers necessarily. I love the competition with myself as well. It's so fun for me to study the mental side of golf, practice it, and then take it into a tournament and see if I can compete with the mental demons that haunt every golfer. It's going out there and seeing if I can be 1% better than I was the last time.
What are your plans with golf in the future?
My goal has always been to win on the LPGA. I don't just want to make it on the tour, I want to win on the tour. I know what that takes and I know it's going to be a tough journey, but my dad always says, "If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough". Aside from tournament golf, I also have big goals on the social side of the sport. I would love to expand my circle and influence more of the younger generation to join the game. I think we can always use more positive role models and influencers. My goal is to use what little platform I've made to help be a positive voice for youth, as well as lead by example.
What has helped you most improve your golf game?
Once I learned a bit about the mental side of golf I took my game to a whole new level. It wasn't until college that I was introduced to this way of thinking. I didn't even know studying the mental game could benefit my overall score. I owe many thanks to my college coach MaryJo McCloskey for opening my eyes (and mind) to a new side of the game I had never known before.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about starting golf or is new to the game?
I would strongly encourage it. I think a lot of people, especially women, are afraid to start golf for many reasons. Golf is an old sport, therefore there is a certain stigma around the game. The clothes are weird, there's so many rules and golf looks hard! But once you get passed those awkward and uncomfortable "firsts", golf is such an addicting game that you can play for the rest of your life. it's a way to get outside, be active and enjoy a round with a spouse or some friends.
If you could only play one course for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
If I could only play one course for the rest of my life I would have to pick Crosswater in Sunriver, Oregon. This would be a poor choice in the winter time being that there's snow, but this is still my favorite course of all time. I grew up in the area so I knew Crosswater was always known for being one of the most prestigious courses in Central Oregon. It's where I have some of my best memories including winning the NWC DIII Championship my senior year of college. I have always considered Crosswater to be one of the hardest, championship style courses. You have to be strategic and only the best and smartest players can score there. It would make me a better player to play there every day.
Who is in your dream foursome and why?
My dream foursome is me, my dad, my papa and Phil Mickelson. But ask me this question again tomorrow and it could change back to Tiger, who knows! Or Arnold Palmer...shoot...
You have a pretty large Instagram following, what is something your followers don’t know about you that you wish they did?
I'm a pretty open book when it comes to showcasing my life. What you see is what you get! But I think sometimes people get the wrong idea of me based on social media. Yes, I get to play golf every day for a living. And it is SO awesome. But I haven't been handed everything to me. I wasn't a rich country club kid. I have never been a member at a club, I worked as a "cart girl" shagging balls and taking out the trash for two years and then worked as a beverage cart girl for four years after that, just to get playing privileges. I love my life, but I have worked hard and continue to work hard and I always remember where I came from.
Who or what inspires you most in life?
My parents are the first people I think of whenever I'm asked this question. My dad is the definition of an encouraging father. Every idea I've ever had for my future has in some way been planted there by my dad. He has always believed in me and my abilities, even more than myself. He inspires me to believe in myself and also to encourage others. It doesn't take much to make someone else feel special, and he has proven that.
My mom has inspired me because of the strong woman that she is. She would probably roll her eyes hearing me say that, but she doesn't always realize how strong she truly is. My mom, although she looks 30, is in her 50's and just started her own jewelry business. She powered through adversity when it showed up at her doorstep and decided it wasn't going to stop her. She didn't let one roadblock hold her back and she didn't get discouraged. She is my example of a powerful woman.
Follow Hailey's golf career on Instagram @haileyostrom