She’s got the drive – A chat with New Zealand’s up-and-coming professional golfer, Laura Hoskin, on self-motivation, staying focussed, and maintaining a routine (no matter which country she is in).
Originally from the cosy nooks of Arrowtown, Laura Hoskin (25) has developed and excelled in her professional golf career, covering an impressive amount of ground. From completing her degree from the University of Mississippi, competing in tours across Korea, China, Australia, and just recently, playing brilliantly in the first round of qualifying school for the LPGA tour in California – she hasn’t shied away from unfamiliar surroundings and cultures.
We chatted to her about her refreshing self-drive, positivity, and routine-keeping in and amongst maintaining a professional career. We hope you enjoy this inside conversation as much as we did.
Laura, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us – now that you’re back in New Zealand, what are some things you’ve been most excited about?
To enjoy the New Zealand Summer, work with my new coach, who has been helping me on gaining more distance with my driver. I have also loved spending some more quality time with my boyfriend, who lives in Auckland. I am not a city girl, but I have loved spending time with him here in Auckland!
I think it is safe to say golf has been a long-time male-dominated sport; however, this is now changing with an increase in women taking up the sport. What are your thoughts on this?
Yes, throughout my whole junior career here in NZ, I was one of 3 junior girl golfers in the whole South Island. It wasn’t until my first ever trip to the USA when I was 16 that I was surrounded by hundreds of other girl golfers, and if it wasn’t for those experiences and knowing there were more girl players out there (with way cuter outfits than me at the time!) I don’t think I would have pursued the game.
I remember having to enter men’s events just, so I could play in competitions as there were none for me to play in. In the USA, there are a lot of opportunities for women golfers to go to a university on a golf scholarship and play and compete. However, professional golf life is still a tough tour to crack. The women’s tours have a severe prize purse gap compared to the men’s tours. To play on tour, women need to have a good backing in the form of sponsorship; otherwise, they work part-time as well as compete. The men can rely on winnings solely to fund their season as they make a ton more than the girls do.
How did you get started in the sport? And progress to professional level?
My Dad started me out in the sport when I was ten years old. He played cricket at a New Zealand level (way back in the day) so knew that picking one sport and sticking at it was important if I wanted to get good. I played on the Ole Miss (The University of Mississippi) golf team until 2018 and then turned professional in 2019 in China, playing on tour over there for 12 months. I then played a season in Australia before covid-19 hit the world and put all professional sports on hold.
Tell us a bit more about your time at the University of Mississippi – what drove your choice to transfer there, and how did you and the team perform during your time there?
The University of Mississippi was life-changing. I got to experience the USA college life to the fullest and play the game I love, traveling all around the country with my team. The Ole Miss team actually won the NCEA title last year, which is the most significant achievement any team can have in college sport. I graduated two years before their win, but I was coached by Kory Henkes, who still coaches the team today. She really changed the team atmosphere and helped the girls be the best players they could be.
Not only do you have a brilliant drive off the tee, but you’ve also shown an admirable drive to build your career. What do you do to motivate yourself and rev up the engine?
Hahaha!!! Thanks!!! I have always loved the journey of improving and seeing hard work pay off. Whether it be in the gym, on the course, seeing lower scores, hitting longer drives, etc. I just want to live my life to the fullest and see how good I can get and where the game of golf can take me. So far, I have been super blessed with the adventures I have had & people I have met from golf!
In golf, it seems that keeping your head in the game and not letting an ‘off’ shot get to you is one of the more significant challenges – how do you stay focussed while competing?
Good question! I used to get super anxious and upset on the golf course if I had a bad hole; my mind would start racing and think my whole round was ruined, and my practice went to waste. The worst of the anxiety came when I was traveling in Asia; I put so much pressure on myself and not enough emphasis on actually enjoying the game! Long story short – I am only good at getting over my bad shots and bad holes due to realising it is not the end of the world (like it might seem in the moment!). No golfer hits it perfect all the time, and as soon as I accepted that I couldn’t always play perfectly, I was able to move on a lot quicker and recover from mistakes faster!
It is also important to let your mind REST while competing… An average round is 4-5 hours long and can be 35 degrees a lot of the time when in summer. A good skill to have is to be able to ‘switch off’ between shots, talk to your playing partners or caddy and ENJOY the round of golf!
You recently returned back from playing exceptionally at the qualifying round of the LGGA tour in California. It’s refreshing to see someone speak positively about the way they performed – cheerleading and taking pride in themselves. Is this something that comes naturally to you, and have you found this has helped you get to where you are?
No, I have not always been like that! I think living in the USA helped me build my confidence up around taking pride in something you are good at. In New Zealand – people are very good at downplaying achievements. Americans celebrate everything, and if you are good at something over there, they embrace it and don’t feel embarrassed about being good at something! Americans are not cocky, they are just confident, and I think it is something New Zealanders could be better at!
What does 2022 have in store for you in terms of tours and training?
2022 is going to be such an amazing year! I am heading to the USA in May to compete on tour. Then might go to the European Qualifying school to earn status for the European tour for 2023. I hope to improve my ESPON (Symetra) Tour status by placing well in upcoming events so I can play an entire season in 2023.
Some say the biggest growth comes from moving outside your comfort zone. How do you approach risk and change to your game, career, and life in general?
This year has been the biggest change for me. I have always based myself in Queenstown to train before heading over to the USA or Asia to compete. But this year, I have decided to base myself in Auckland with my boyfriend. I did not feel comfortable about it as it was such a significant change for me and 100% outside my comfort zone, not being in familiar territory. But some advice my Dad gave was to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” He said that I was too comfortable in Queenstown and for me to grow stronger and get used to being able to adapt, changing my location was something I needed to embrace and do!
Another example was right before the biggest event of my career (LPGA Qualifying) – I had an equipment change with my putter. I had gone all season using the same putter I had for the last one month, but I just wasn’t sinking enough to be competitive. So right before the event started (2 days out) – I swapped my putter to an old one and took the risk! I had nothing to lose, and I wasn’t going to get worse! Haha. It was the best decision I made all season!
Favourite golf course to play worldwide? What about New Zealand?
Tara Iti is beautiful. I think it is ranked number 2 in the world. It is located 1.5 hours north of Auckland.
What does your nutrition and exercise routine look like?
Nutrition is an interesting subject for me. My goal is to have a healthy relationship with food and feed my body nutrients that will help me feel and perform my best. I had an eating disorder when in College in the USA, and it took me coming home and being surrounded by whole, healthy, and ‘real’ food again to get back to a normal balanced diet and not being scared of eating.
While you’re in a foreign country like China, how does this affect your routines around nutrition, exercise, and sleep? How do you get through it?
My first few months in China were really hard in regard to food! I couldn’t find anything to eat that I liked. The hotels we would stay at never had any western food options, so a lot of the time, I would have to go to fast food places to actually eat something (it would always just be fries). It wasn’t good. I lost 5kg over my Asian season from the lack of food and nutrients I didn’t get over there!
Sleep is ok, I was lucky enough to have a HyoumanKind Pillow with me on my trip, which meant my sleeps were always super consistent.
We see you’ve tried the Pro You Vanilla Pea Protein Blend! What’s your favourite way to have it?
I love having it in a smoothie after a workout! It is perfect with ½ a banana, some berries, and peanut butter. I never feel bloated and love the fact that it is a plant-based protein. I have noticed a difference in my tummy since switching to pea-based protein!
What’s something about you that people wouldn’t ordinarily guess?
I can speak Spanish
And lastly, what are your three desert island items you can’t live without?
Haha, would it be cheesy to say my Pro You pea-based protein? A camera and my golf clubs!