Q&A with Symetra Tour Player Natalie Sheary
This past September, Natalie Sheary was challenged with catastrophe. The night before the first practice round of the Four Winds Invitational on the Symetra Tour, Natalie was a victim of a golfer’s worst nightmare: stolen golf clubs!
I reached out and asked Natalie if she would be interested in sharing her story as a teachable moment in a Q&A format. After dealing with such misfortune, we discussed how this situation could have affected her as a competitive junior golfer and her advice and perspective.
In addition to the Q&A below, hopefully, the tips, tricks, and suggestions will be helpful to everyone, from the weekend warrior to the competitive golfer. If you don’t know Natalie Sheary, her resume is impressive:
Wake Forest University
- 2008 ACC Rookie of the Year
- 2009 ACC Champion and Player of the Year
- 2010 Medalist at the LPGA Symetra Qualifying School
- 2011 Wake Forest Ed Wilson Award for Academic Excellence
- 2011 ACC Women’s Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year
- All ACC First Team and Academic Team, 3x
Q&A with Natalie Sheary
How would this have affected you as a junior or college golfer versus now as a professional?
“The impact is significant at any point, junior golf, college golf, or professional golf! Right now, I am trying to get back to the LPGA Tour and fighting for my livelihood. As a junior player, I was fighting for an opportunity that would be life-changing. As golfers, we must take advantage of every opportunity, especially at the junior level.”
It’s now mid-November. Have you been able to piece together a set of clubs you know you will compete with successfully?
“Yes, thankfully, but it was a long process I don’t want to go through again given the circumstances. Callaway Golf, Edel Golf, and Prove It Golf couldn’t have been more amazing during this process.”
How did you manage to put together a set of clubs to play that week on the Symetra Tour?
“I bought 90% of my equipment at a local pawn shop. The support from everyone playing that week was incredible. Many put clubs in the golf shop for me to use, and others let me use their Trackman to try and dial in my numbers just hours before the event.”
What club in your bag has been the hardest to replace?
“My Odyssey Two-Ball Blade putter. For me, finding comfort and confidence in a putter has been a challenge, and not having that putter to finish out the year in the quest to keep my card was tough.”
What club has been replaced but isn’t quite as good as the original?
“Like many players, finding the perfect 3-Wood is very difficult! I have opted to use a 5-Wood instead for years. However, I had gotten a new three wood after extensive fitting with Callaway only a couple of weeks before and losing that perfect 3-Wood stung.”
Has COVID-19 factored into any of this?
“Absolutely! I needed to regrip the clubs I bought from the pawn shop, but Dick’s Sporting Goods did not have enough standard-sized Golf Pride grips. Go into any golf store; inventory is limited, especially grips! So, I wound up finishing the year out playing six standard-size grips and seven mid-size grips just so that I would have the same type of grip on all my clubs.”
What is typically your process of getting comfortable with new clubs?
“My changes are typically made during the off-season when I have the luxury of time on my side to test through trial and error under various conditions. I prefer to see how clubs work outside the fitting studio; perfect numbers don’t mean nearly as much as actual results.”
How did you manage your expectations for the final five events of the season?
“Great question! Unfortunately, I was in a challenging position since I was trying to keep my status. My only option was to produce results. All I can say is that it was unnerving, but I am proud that I continued to compete regardless of the challenges.”
What advice would you give the competitive junior player regarding their equipment?
“First and foremost, be responsible! Also, as we discussed, Dan, it’s a good idea to talk to your insurance agent and discuss your options in protecting your golf equipment. Finally, build a relationship with an experienced club fitter and club builder. Todd Daigneault at Prove It Golf has been instrumental in my club selection through his highly detailed fitting and build process over the years.”
Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions:
- Take pictures before travel, create a timestamp
- Do not leave your clubs in the car. Aside from theft, hot and cold temperatures could be harmful
- Remove adjustable clubheads and place them in your carry-on bag
- Consider using iron covers, socks, or towels to protect irons and wedges
- Place your rangefinder, golf balls, and valuables pouch in your carry-on bag
- Invest in a quality travel bag and impact stick to absorb direct impact
- Avoid bag drops and leaving your club’s unattended while at the course
- Always check and double-check your bag before leaving the course
- Talk to your insurance agent about a Personal Article Policy
In closing, for some, golf clubs are for the weekend; but for others, they represent a major investment for you and your family: costly custom fittings, new clubs, and confidence in your ability to perform with them. These may be the key to your future golf career, whether high school, college, or professional.
Best of luck in your pursuits!
Dan Jermak, Founder
Albatross Junior Golf