ask & answer
Kaitlyn Schroeder Ready to Compete at the Junior PGA Championship
By Brendon Elliott, PGA
This week, Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Palos Park, Illinois will host the Junior PGA Championship.
Brendon Elliott, PGA had the opportunity to chat with one of this year’s players to watch , Kaitlyn Schroeder, from Jacksonville, Florida. Kaitlyn is currently ranked 7th in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. In June, Kaitlyn won the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, and earlier this month, she tied for 17th at the 73rd U.S. Girls' Junior.
The pair chatted about the Girls Junior PGA Championship, why she took up the game, who’s most influenced her game, and how excited she is to play collegiately at the University of Alabama. Kaitlyn’s father, Scott, who has been the University of North Florida’s men’s golf coach since 2005, provided additional insight on the Junior PGA Championships.
How excited are you both [Kaitlyn and Scott] for this week? What are your thoughts on the Junior PGA Championships?
I’m very excited for this week’s Junior [PGA Championship]. The courses are in great condition, and I think it will be a good test for us this week. The greens on Drubsdead are pretty small so you’ll have to be very precise with your approach shots and if you short side yourself this week, it will be very tough. I think it is pretty cool how each course is very different which I believe will provide a good challenge for us this week.
I am always excited to see her play in great events. They [PGA of America] run this like a big-time event and with all the good players it makes it fun to watch. Cog [Hill] has hosted some great events so [it’s] great to see the juniors take it on.
At what age did you first pick up a club?
I first picked up a club when I was around 3 or 4 years old.
When did you first start competing?
When I was little, around 8 years old I would play a couple U.S. Kids events or local tournaments, but I didn’t start competing more and getting more serious about golf until I was 11 or 12.
With your dad (Scott) being a long time men’s golf coach at UNF (University of North Florida), and your mom (Wendy) being a former All-American and University of North Florida Hall of Fame tennis player, what influence have your parents had on your development?
My parents have had a huge and very important impact on me throughout my life. They are two of the hardest working people I know, who have always pushed me harder in golf and to work on my game even if I don’t want to. My dad has had the biggest influence on my game and where I am as a golfer more than anyone. Being around him as a coach and also being around him with his players while watching him teach them has also been a huge advantage for me to become better.
What is the best advice you could give to young girls just starting to compete?
The best advice I’d give to any young girl who is starting to play the game and compete is to just enjoy it and have fun. In this game there are many ups and downs, and you get to make many new friends, but it isn’t worth it unless you are enjoying it.
What is your normal weekly practice routine? How does it change, if at all, during a tournament week?
On a typical week, when I am home without a tournament, I workout with a trainer three times a week. Typically, those days I will practice about three to four hours and sometimes, I will have a shorter practice and play nine holes in the evening. On days I don’t workout, I like to practice in the mornings before lunch for a few hours, then go home and do school, and then go out and play some holes. During a tournament week, let’s say I leave on Friday, I probably will only play two days in the week before I leave. That week I am really focusing on making sure I think each aspect of my game is in a good spot before getting to the tournament.
You are heading to Alabama to play collegiately...how excited are you about that?
I couldn’t be more excited to head to the University of Alabama. It is such an amazing school and golf program and I fell in love with it as soon as I stepped on campus. The facilities they get to offer us there, on and off the course, are like no other school in the country and it is just a very special place. I also can’t wait to play for Coach Potter and Coach Rosenstiel, two of the best coaches in the country and I know they will help me be the best college player I can be. Another thing I loved about the school is the culture within our team and within the athletic programs themselves with how they want every sport to compete at high levels and will help you in any way to make that possible.