‘Lefty’ makes her pro debut this month, and don’t let her easy nature fool you — she means business.
Born in Vancouver and the youngest of three girls, Kylie Frederick and her family moved to Parksville when she was nine months old. A Ballenas Secondary School grad, she started golfing at seven.
“I used to play a lot of basketball and baseball and stuff and then when I was about 13, 14, I decided to take up golf competitively. I just wanted to get away from the team aspect and get more individual,” she explained easily from the patio at Arrowsmith Golf and Country Club recently where she’s worked herself up to club pro.
In 2004, already an active member of the junior program at Pheasant Glen Golf Resort, she was part of that first class when the Brent Morrison Golf Academy moved to ‘the Glen from Crown Isle. She spent four years at the academy fine-tuning her game, and from there went on to spend two years south of the border on a golf scholarship at Oklahoma City University, where she and her Oklahoma City Stars’ teammates were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA and won two (count’em two) national championships.
She spent her final year of university golf closer to home with UVic, helping lead the lady Vikes to a second place finish at the Canadian University/College Championships in 2009.
Fast forward to last June and Frederick, 24, earned her CPGA pro card in Williams Lake at what would prove to be her final BC Am. She had to break 80 twice over the tourney to attain her card — she got it done with a 76 and a 75.
“I’ve always wanted to play events, try some tours and what not. I just love to play and be competitive, so…”
Frederick makes her pro debut at Beach Grove Golf Club in Tsawwassen May 13-15 as part of the first stop of the CN Women’s Tour.
As a card carrying member of the CPGA, she now can work and teach at golf courses “which I enjoy doing as well.”
There are four events on the tour including the final all of which she hopes to attend, and come September Frederick will travel to Florida for Q school to obtain her player status on the LPGA Futures Tour which would allow her to play in more events in North America “and all over the world. That’s my goal.”
A southpaw, Frederick has her nickname ‘lefty’ tattooed on the inside of her left wrist.
She says her parents, aunts and uncles “have always been vey supportive. They’re so great.”
“It’s a different mindset now,” she explained, adding “when you’re an amateur you’re just trying to get experience and meet professionals, just gain experience, and now it’s a lot more practicing, a lot more work.”
She played down south in Arizona over the winter as part of the Cactus Tour. At Arrowview she runs the ladies and mens night, gives lessons. She works about 40 hours a week there “and I also teach outside that, plus I practice every day for a few hours.”
Locals that have gone this path before her include of course Nanoose Bay’s Shelly Stouffer, a former pro and well traveled ‘road warrior’ that just recently got her amateur status back.
Frederick also points to former Island pro Leila Chartrand who worked with her for eight years.
The idea of finding sponsorships “is new to me, but it’s part of the process.”
When it comes to putting in the hours she says she’s adopted a Ryan Kessler “who always says when he’s not out there practicing someone else is getting better …”
And in a game that can eat you up, confidence can be a tough beast to tame at times she concedes, and as such she’s been reading up on sports psychology.
The strength of her game she says “is my driver and my short game’s pretty good but it can always be better, right?”
ASKED HIS TAKE on Lefty, Brent Morrison confirmed “she’s very quiet and unassuming, but in my experience with her she came across as just really happy go lucky and a very hard worker.
“She was always a really good athlete, but her body became much stronger through the focused golf gym workouts which then gave her a more stable base and supported her swing better.”
So does she have that spark we asked.
“Definitely. For sure,” said Morrison, adding “I remember she was so gung-ho to get started. She was just excited to be part of it all, and that’s when she started competing too, so that got her juices going.
“The issue with all students heading into a pro career is that it takes years to develop, and obviously those years on the road, the cost can be significant.
“Everybody gets into golf because they like to play it,” he explained, adding that “at some point all young people that play the game dream of taking a shot at professional golf, and not everybody does, and the primary reason is financial — it’s just so expensive to go on the road and give it a shot. The thing is these golfers have two choices, they can spend their whole career working in the golf industry and always wondering, or they can go for it. What I always say is that when you’re young why not go and pursue that passion and that dream because you’re never going to know unless you try. It’s way better to try and fail then to not try and wonder all your life.”
“She’s following her passion, and I think it’s awesome.”
And as is the case of all young golfers, it’s at this point where sponsors become paramount.
“For sure,” said Morrison. “It takes pressure off the family having to financially support it all, and also what it does is it really solidifies the whole venture as a business. Now they’re a commodity with people investing in them, so they have to be accountable for the meals they eat, for the accommodation and the travel, the golf related fees …the list is long.”
The life lessons they learn, the maturity and independence they gain from going on the road …”
“I think anybody if they have the passion can overcome what tournament golf throws at you and the success is there to get. It’s so easy to quit, and so hard to make it, but the best players in the world fail daily. The difference is you knock them down, they keep getting right back up. They’re so resilient.”
“It’s pretty intense,” Frederick says of the pro tour and the road ahead of her, echoing her former teacher that “you gotta commit a hundred per cent, and I think for myself, I’ve worked so hard, and golf is such a big part of my life, I figure if I don’t give it some sort of a shot then I’ll probably wake up at 40 and wonder why I didn’t try.”
Anyone interested in helping sponsor Kylie can contact her at 250-927-0788 or by e-mail at email@example.com.