Being a mom is hard. But being a mom as a professional athlete is even harder. Just ask Katherine Perry-Hamski, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2017 and whose son John Thomas was born September 3, 2020, just four seasons into her Tour tenure. The last two years have been challenging for the 30-year-old as she’s had to learn to balance her life off on the golf course with her career on it, and while the learning curve is a steep one involving feeding schedules and nap times and extra luggage on travel days, it was the changes that her body went through that were most difficult for Perry-Hamski to overcome.
“I think what's been hardest for me is I expected to bounce back really quickly, and it's taken a long time to get distance back. Still working on getting strength back and things like that,” she said. “It's just been a journey and a frustrating one and I want to be better than I am right now, so I'm just going to keep working and hopefully it'll come back.”
Needing to finish in the top 100 in the Race to the CME Globe to maintain her LPGA Tour status for 2023, Perry-Hamski found herself at 157th in the standings at the conclusion of the 2022 season. While her counterparts were teeing it up at the CME Group Tour Championship and playing for a record-setting $2 million winner’s check in mid-November, Perry-Hamski was grinding it out at LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament Stage II, ultimately finishing in a tie for 11th to advance to LPGA Q-Series in Lower Alabama. It was a tough spot to be in for the North Carolina native. But getting through that week at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. gave her some much-needed confidence as her pro golf career currently sits in limbo.
“The first week, Q-II, that one was hard for me mentally to wrap my head around,” Perry-Hamski said. “Just kind of felt like I was failing being back there, so to make it through that, kind of built a little more confidence and just got to trust my game and all the prep work that has gone into it that I can get my status back.”
Handily advancing through week one of Q-Series with a four-day total of 281 (-5), Perry-Hamski comes to Highland Oaks sitting in a tie for 47th, currently on the outside looking in of the top 45 and ties that will receive LPGA Tour status at week’s end. With four rounds remaining in the 8-week grind that is the final leg of Tour qualifying, Perry-Hamski is taking a veteran’s mindset as she looks ahead to the next 72 holes and says she’s grateful to have her son around as a welcome distraction to take her mind off the stress at hand.
“I think Kevin (Hamski, her husband and caddie this week) has a really good game plan with the greens and things like that and he has a lot of areas circled where you need to miss, where you need to hit. I think we got a great plan going in, good preparation, and just trust the shots,” Perry-Hamski said. “I think just like everyone, it's a little bit of a stressful time. I'm really glad my mom is here this week with our son and it's kind of been relaxing, because you get off the course and it's focused on him and not myself and golf and anxiety with all of it. So it's nice to kind of separate that a bit.”