Got game? A Pro's Tips for Work-life Balance

June 30, 2009

Nancy Scranton, LPGA champion

Although she's transitioning from competition to corporate appearances, LPGA golfer Nancy Scranton stays busy. Along the way, she's learned a few tricks to keep life in balance.

Although she's transitioning from competition to corporate appearances, LPGA golfer Nancy Scranton stays busy. E–PlanProfessor editor Jim Nichols sat down to chat with Scranton, a Humana-sponsored golfer on the LPGA TOUR. Nancy discussed balancing life on the road with twin 4–year–olds, staying competitive and maintaining a camera-ready look. Here's what she had to say...

Last year, how many tournaments did you play? These tournaments - you play to make the cut, and then play the rest of the tournament ... it's going to be more than four days isn't it?

Oh yeah, it's seven days pretty much. Monday is your travel day, Tuesday practice round, Wednesday Pro Am, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday hopefully it's pretty much a full week of tournament. The best days are Thursday through Sunday, when you're in the tournament. It's the preparation, all the hard work, and all the traveling that makes it tough.

How many months of the year were you on the road?

When I first started on tour, we had tournaments in January and would end up having maybe one the first week of December, so it was kind of a year–long thing for a while. They kind of shortened the schedule a little bit in the last several years. And last year we had two events in Hawaii in February, so we were in gone in February.

Your husband is with you on those trips, isn't he?

He was. He's a media official on the PGA TOUR, and so he traveled with me and caddied for me. It would have been absolutely impossible without him. There's just no way, with the kids, I have 4½–year–old twins. We've been traveling with them since they were about 3½–months–old and there's just no way I could have done it without him.

Can you describe an average day on tour?

With a tournament round, it depends, the first two days – Thursday and Friday – you have one late day and one early day. You kind of hope its early, late, because when it's late, early (arriving home late, start playing early) you don't have much turn–around time, especially when you want to get back to the hotel and take care of the kids and then you have to get up early the next day.

We'd drop the kids off two hours before our tee time – that's what we were allowed with our child care. Then we'd get to the golf course, I would get something to eat and then always went in to the fitness area to stretch and do some warm–up, usually with about 45–50 minutes before I teed off. I'd go to the putting green and putted for a while and then just warm up hitting some balls, then off to the tee.

Afterwards, I guess you'd have to do all of that in reverse?

Pretty much, if you're playing late, you don't do much unless you really felt like you needed to work on something specific, you'd spend just a little bit of time maybe on the range, or a putting green, or chipping. But then you have to think, if you had a late tee time on Thursday, you're going to have an early one on Friday so then it starts all over again at 5:30 the next morning. The late tee times are almost harder, a lot of times we're in a hotel room and it's hard to entertain the kids in a hotel room.

I can only imagine.

Yeah, it makes a big difference. We could put the kids to bed in the living room, or in the bedroom, depending on how old they were. We used to travel with two pack-and-plays, portable cribs, my golf clubs, and all the stuff.

You're one of "those" people at the airport, huh?

Well, I'm pretty particular about my clothing and I always took quite a bit of pride in that. You know if you look good, you feel better about yourself and then you play better. So I think that's really important and I always had lipstick in my pocket or Mark was carrying it for me and I would wear a hat and it kind of helped my hair stay neater.

You mentioned the lipstick. What are three most important products you carry on the course to make you sure you shine on the course? In other words, what's in your golf bag ... sunscreen?

Oh absolutely, sunscreen and lipstick I'll always have ... and ponytail holders. I always have water too and something to snack on. A lot of times it would be nuts or trail mix, a banana. You know you're out there for a long time and you lose your concentration easily. You need to eat a little bit here and there and certainly drink water. Lipstick and sunscreen, always – because lipstick is like sunblock.

Having watched golf, it's not just distant, panoramic shots. A lot of times they are right up on your face.

You betcha. Waterproof mascara.

With that in mind, you're under the microscope, so to speak. How do you motivate or de-stress before the game so you're putting your best self forward?

The stretching really helps me out in the warm–up and I have a little alone time. That calms me a lot. When you're out on the course: deep breathing – you regulate your breathing and you concentrate on taking deep breaths. It can get shallow out there and that's not really a good thing.

You mentioned the stretching, what else is part of your exercise routine?

The stretching is very important for golf. I had shoulder surgery in 1996, so I have had to constantly work at keeping my shoulder strong. When I could find the time – if the kids were not on the road with me – I would definitely do some free weights and some core work and balance work and some cardio.

How do you pamper yourself?

If I could break away to go get a pedicure or manicure that would be really good. If I could say, Mark, I am going out for an hour or so and get a pedicure or manicure. It's not really pampering, it's almost a necessity, but a massage and a lot of times it's part pampering and part necessity. Those are my biggest.

What's something about you that would surprise people?

It's pretty shocking to me, I played on the tour for 24 years and then had twins when I was 43. It's great, I was ready to start winding down with my career and not playing competitively as much, just doing corporate outings and things like that. That's what I feel my strength is anymore. I have had a lot of experiences out there and enjoy that part of the deal.

Right, and I'm sure with twins the priorities shift?

They do and it's nice to be able to do that. When I turned 40 I was playing some of the best golf of my career. I was glad I didn't have to make those choices then.

It's tough for moms on tour, especially when the kids get to school age, you have decisions to make and it's hard divide your priorities like that and be successful at anything.

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