The ALPG is welcoming back one of our greatest female golfers this summer, Rachel Hetherington!
The NSW golfer stopped playing tournament golf back in October 2010 after a stellar professional career which included eight LPGA titles, another 62 top 10 finishes on the LPGA and over US$5.7m in prizemoney. One of the most impressive facts about Hetherington’s career, is that she won three of her titles in playoffs over the then former No. 1 Annika Sorenstam. Yes, when Hetherington was on her game, no one could intimidate her.
Since retiring she has been extremely busy, not only did she and her husband, Greg Ritchie, add to their family with the arrival of their daughter, Annie, she owns and operates the Rachel Hetherington Golf Range. More recently, Rachel joined the coaching staff at Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club.
Why is she back, the reason is simply, golf is fun again for her.
“I recently (April 2014) started working with our new instructor Randall Hollands Smith at the golf range and he has inspired me enough to play. I am finding golf fun again!”
Returning to competitive competition wasn’t even on her radar until she started working with Smith,
“I actually hadn't given it a thought prior to meeting our new instructor Randall in April. I have been so busy at the Golf Range and my recent appointment joining the coaching staff at Sanctuary Cove Golf and Country Club I hadn't given thought to my own golf!”
Hetherington has been practicing seriously since mid 2014 and is enjoying it.
“I don't have a large amount time to practice, so I try to make it quality practice and yes it is fun! I don't practice long enough to become sick of it!”
Her husband Greg, is a golfing tragic and she very happy that Rachel is going to be back playing.
When asked if her daughter, Annie, will be a nice detraction when she returns to golf she replied, “I won't really know until I play. I can certainly adapt faster and better than before I had Annie, and am probably a better player accepting that preparation is not always perfect.”
Hetherington is planning her first event in the 2015 Club Car Series, the BWAC Employment and Community Services Yamba GC Pro-am on 9 January, she will then play as many Pro-ams as her schedule permits before teeing it up in the Oates Victorian Open, RACV Ladies Masters and then hopefully the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
It would be fantastic for Australian golf if Rachel could play once again with good friend, Karrie Webb, Hetherington said it be “great” to have the opportunity to play together.
Her goals are clear and simple, “To finish as high as possible on the Club Car Series as well as the Order of Merit.”
We all wish Rachel all the best in her return to ALPG Tour this summer and look forward to seeing her in action again. For the record, there is no thought of returning to the LPGA, her words, “I don't want to play the LPGA - I would miss family and clients too much.”