As Brittany Lang hits golf balls off a tee, the contact makes a ping that sounds exactly the same every time. It is a sound that a certain onlooking Kid Reporter wishes he could make on his drives. But on this day, they practice for the same reason: to be better.
At Trump Bedminster Wednesday, Lang, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open Golf Champion, hosted a youth clinic along with 2007 champ Cristie Kerr and world No. 1 Lydia Ko. Some of the participants were as young as six years old. The event was part of media day for the LPGA U.S. Open, which will run from July 13–16 this year.
The USGA, golf’s governing body, wants more kids to experience the benefits and joys of golf. That’s why, at this year's Open, all juniors accompanied by adults can attend for free. The hope is that among the crowd of spectators will be the next Brittany Lang.
“I always told people when I was pretty young, like 12 years old, that I was going to be a golfer,” Lang said. “I always had this vision. But I’d say that probably when I was 19, after the U.S. Open at Cherry Hills, was when I really thought I had a chance to be a professional.”
Kid Reporter Christopher John and Brittany Lang hold the Semple trophy
Lang fell in love with golf because of its individual nature. With no teammates, she learned to rely on herself and enjoy the experience of being alone.
“I love the tranquility of playing on a beautiful golf course by yourself,” she said. “There’s a peacefulness about it.”
One of the few times Lang lost her calm was when she realized she had won golf’s biggest tournament at CordeValle Golf Club in California a little more than a year ago. She remembers the scene on the 18th green: “I was in absolute shock. I couldn’t believe it. I had my whole family there and it was special. It took a long time for it to set in.”
Lang hopes to defend her title as best she can starting July 13 in Bedminster and keep the Harton S. Semple trophy in her kitchen, where it has been for the past year.
“You just keep your head up,” she said. “Focus on the positive and roll with it, smile and enjoy the day.”
Photo credits: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images (Lang golfing), Courtesey of Christopher John (Christopher and Lang)