The saying “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is commonly used as a way to describe a child’s similarity to their parent by their behaviors or physical characteristics. However, this week, it refers to an athlete playing on the same tour that her mom won on four times in her professional golf career.
The Epson Tour has changed a fair amount since the last time Jennifer (Kangas) Brody last played. The organization has gone through two name changes and has seen a significant increase in tournament purses, which is not lost on Jennifer.
“I still had some friends playing when there was an event down in Ann Arbor. I actually took Kate to one when she was a baby,” said Jennifer Brody. “I am just excited to be involved this week and see the evolution of the tour over the last 20 years. I see that they are making a little bit more money than I was 20 years ago and can make a living playing out here. They are all great players out here, so it has been fun to watch them play so far this week.”
Now it is Kate Brody’s turn to take on the tour her mom found success on in the past. Brody has had a strong start to her very young career, capturing two Division I state titles in Michigan (2020 & 2022) and winning 2022 Miss Golf (Best Ladies Golfer in the State of Michigan). She is committed to play at the University of Wisconsin when school starts in the fall and is already getting some advice from other Wisconsin Badgers as she tackles playing in her first professional event as an amateur.
“I had a practice round with Emily Lauterbach who was there when I took my first visit to Wisconsin a couple years ago. She saw I was playing this week and she reached out to me and asked to play a practice round with me which was really nice,” said Kate Brody. “We chatted the whole time. She told me a little about the Epson Tour and even about what college golf is going to be like. I feel like I learned a lot from her in just a couple hours.”
When Brody tees it up in her first round on Friday, her mom will be on the bag and taking in the experience right beside her daughter. Although Jennifer has some experience playing at the highest level, she is just out there to help and support, not tell her daughter how to play her game.
“It is amazing how fast time flies and how everything has come full circle. It is really crazy to think that 18 years has gone by, and she is going to be teeing it up out here,” said Jennifer Brody. “I am just super proud of her. I just want her to have fun and not be too hard on herself while she’s playing. This game can be mean and wicked, so it is important to enjoy the ups but don’t get too down with the downs. So, for me this week, I am really just carrying the bag and am going to be there when she needs me. It is her own golf game and I have to let her own it.”
The 18-year-old was inspired by her mother, but the drive to play has come from within, not from her parents pressuring her to play.
“My parents introduced my brother and I into the game, but haven’t pressured us at all,” Kate said. “My brother and I have been able to have our game in our hands. We had the drive, we learned to love the game, and people probably think that my parents are involved in golf they tell us to go to range and when to play but that is almost the opposite of what they do. They want us to find our own love for the game.”
Kate and Jennifer Brody’s first round at the Island Resort Championship begins at 7:52 AM ET on Friday, June 23. Follow along at www.epsontour.com for live leaderboard updates and live streaming on Saturday and Sunday from 2-5 PM ET.