Golfing Great Annika Sorenstam Tips Us Off

In May, Annika Sorenstam will be hosting several major events on the Emerald Coast, the collective scope of which is billed as “ANNIKA & Friends at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.”

The two main components are a celebrity pro-am tournament at the Raven Golf Club and a special concert starring Darius Rucker (former lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish) at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin.

Proceeds from the two days of events will go to the ANNIKA Foundation, something Sorenstam helped to create to teach youngsters the benefits of fitness and nutrition.

Also receiving proceeds will be SPARK, which stands for Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids. With this money SPARK will be seeking to establish some of its programs in selected elementary schools throughout Northwest Florida.

 Photos courtesy Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and Annika Foundation

Growing up in Sweden, Sorenstam was an athlete of multiple dimensions, a star tennis player and skier who could also play soccer. But at age 12, she decided to concentrate on golf. And this determined young woman became so famous that her brand involves simply her first name.
In 15 years as a professional, she won 89 tournaments around the world, including 72 on the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) tour. She is thefirst and only female to earn more than $20 million in a career.

Despite a jam-packed schedule during her January visit, Annika Sorenstam talked with EC Magazine about what we thought our readers wanted to know most: Golf tips! 

EC: Do you have any specific tips for youngsters (12 through teens) to improve their game?

ANNIKA: My best tip for juniors is to develop the same routine for every shot — whether it is a drive, iron, chip or putt. My routine took 25 seconds — from the time I put my glove on, until the time that I hit the shot. This will develop consistency in both thinking about the shot, then executing the shot. Everyone’s routine is a little different, but find the one that works for you, then stick with it on every shot.

EC: How about tips for women?

ANNIKA: If you’re just beginning to play golf, try to find a friend to play and practice with at your same level — that will make learning a difficult sport more fun. Be sure to balance practice time with play on the course because they are very different activities. To improve, you’ll need a good instructor to assist and follow my tip about developing a consistent routine for every shot.

EC: But can you get better without actually playing a round on a regular basis?

ANNIKA: Absolutely. Putt at home. Swing at home. You need any type of practice. I mean, some people are limited by weather, but just to maintain whatever you have is good.
People say, ‘I can’t play, it’s raining.’ So I say, ‘Why don’t you go and get a putter out and putt towards a cup in your living room or swing in your garage?’ Anything would help you. Also, stay fit in the gym. I’m not talking about going out and running 10 miles or anything like that.
Obviously, strength has to do with flexibility, and it has to do with muscle control. The golf game is not an easy motion and I think if you have flexibility and a good range of motion it’s going to help you swing better.

EC: How long did it take you to learn the game?

ANNIKA: Well, you never learn 100 percent. It’s constant learning, which I think is what makes it so much fun.