The 2013 LPGA season is officially under way! We started in Australia, Thailand and Singapore. When the weather can still be cool in most parts of the USA, we head overseas to start our season in some much warmer climates. That often means 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity.
Golf is very popular in Asia, particularly women’s golf, and the LPGA players enjoyed a warm welcome from fans, playing in front of huge galleries at some of the area’s premier courses. It is an 18-hour plane trip to Singapore from LAX, but it’s worth it. This was my 11th visit to Singapore for golf events and my sixth appearance in the HSBC Women’s Champions event showcasing the top 60 players in the world.
Most LPGA fans only see us on the course from Thursday to Sunday when we are competing. However, lots of preparation and a little fun take place from the time we arrive Monday until we leave Sunday night.
Here’s some insight into what the week in Singapore was like.
After catching a 9 p.m. flight from Thailand on Sunday night, I didn’t arrive at our hotel in downtown Singapore until around 2 a.m. I caught up on some sleep and then sneaked in a quick workout before heading out to practice and see the golf course.
A typical workout for me consists of 90 minutes of cardio, weight training, flexibility and stability work. A typical practice session at the golf course is three to four hours, and then I play nine holes on Mondays and Tuesdays of a tournament week.
In Singapore, the players were spoiled because the host hotel was the Marina Bay Sands Resort Casino. It’s one of the most incredible hotels I have seen or stayed at. The hotel has three towers and a boat on top -- check out the photo. It’s pretty amazing.
There was also a Vegas-style casino, a spa, restaurants and designer shopping at the hotel, giving players endless things to do during down time.
The new golf course we played at in Singapore this year was called Sentosa. It also featured a Universal Studios adventure park. After a long day of practice Tuesday, we carved out a few hours to zipline over the park and beach. It was my first time ziplining. What a rush!
We had an early night Tuesday because Wednesday is pro-am day. Every week on tour we join four amateurs to play a round of golf on the tournament course. I really enjoy pro-am days because we get to play with sponsors, guests or some very excited golfers, thrilled to spend 18 holes with us on the championship course.
The pro-am this week was a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m., so that wake-up call came early. After I finished, it was time for a little more practice and another session in the gym. On a tournament week, I aim to get five days of workouts in addition to our practice and competition.
This was a special week because the walk from my room to the gym passed an infinity pool on the 57th floor. The pool was incredible. You could swim to the edge and look down on Singapore!
The HSBC pro-am party was Wednesday night. It was a chance for every player to slip out of her golf clothes and into a pretty dress for a fun evening of great food and entertainment. It was an early party and most players headed in before the guests because the first round started at 8:30 a.m. Thursday.
Once a tournament starts, I am quite tired from competing and lay low.
This is my 12th season on the LPGA Tour. It’s remarkable the number of places I have had the opportunity to travel to through the game of golf. I’ve been able to see so many different cultures, meet so many nice people, work with charities and do fun activities such as those during the week in Singapore.
I’m looking forward to sharing more of those adventures with you through my blog this year. Stay tuned!
Note: Natalie withdrew from the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore before the second round due to an illness. Tuesday night, she also withdrew from this week's RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, citing malaria.