Our series on top returning players to the Symetra Tour in 2018 continues with Kim Welch (Sacramento, California), who ended last season at No. 18 on the Race for the Card money list with $37,075 earned over 21 events.
Welch’s rookie year on the Symetra Tour was 2006, when it was still the FUTURES Tour. The wily veteran has made the jump to the LPGA Tour on a couple occasions, earning membership through the 2010 and 2012 LPGA Qualifying Tournament. And in case you didn’t know, Welch won Big Break Ka’anapali hosted by the Golf Channel in 2008.
However, there will be one vastly different item about her game when this season starts.
“Consistency,” said Welch.
Right to the point.
“I’m most excited to start fresh,” Welch added. “Some of my goals for 2018 include appreciating more, wasting less, and as ridiculously cliché as it sounds, finding joy in the little things. The wasting less is all encompassing—wasting less food, less strokes on the golf course, and less energy, especially on things out of my control.”
Throughout her time on the Symetra Tour, Welch has captured 17 career top-10 results, and one win—the 2008 Alliance Bank Golf Classic.
Last season alone, she came away with four top-10 finishes, including a season-best tied for second performance at the Fuccillo Kia Classic. Welch also found herself in the top-25 in several statistical categories, such as average driving distance (261.74, 22nd) and birdies (171, 21st). But, even veterans are always learning.
“I learned that there were parts of me that needed work, most notably my stamina during those mentally and physically tiring stretches of 6 or more weeks straight,” said Welch. “But, I also learned that I still really love golf. This season I’ll be stronger, smarter and more focused.”
As she continues to learn, Welch also continues to grind when it comes to practice.
“Always, always, always working on my putting,” Welch said. “For me, there’s no complacency when I set a goal but don’t reach it, no matter how good the finished result may have looked to outsiders.”
The goal for every player heading into a new Symetra Tour season is to be one of the top-10 in the final Race for the Card standings. That is no different for Welch, as she prepares to compete in a majority of tournaments in 2018.
“There are a few select events that I will probably skip with the idea that playing a ‘smarter schedule’ is more beneficial than playing a completely full one,” said Welch.
Nonetheless, she has a goal in mind and having already tasted what it’s like to be on the LPGA, the desire to get back only drives her more. It translated into a rigorous off-season regime to give her the best possible chance of reaching her goal and developing the consistency she discussed.
“I’ve been working on my strength, stamina and nutrition. Things that I didn’t focus much on last season,” Welch said. “A few times last year I didn’t have proper nutrition on the course and I definitely saw the effects on my scorecard. Those are three things completely in my control, so I’m working to gain a better grasp on them so I can use them to my advantage this season.”