"Off the Course" is where we talk to the players, learn about who they are, and get their thoughts about playing the game. From time to time we'll also interview college players about their junior careers and how college golf is different. We welcome your comments and suggestions. E-mail us or call toll free- 888-549-4653.

Marika Lendl

Doral/Publix December 2004


Westfield PGA - Top Five
AJGA - Betsy Rawls - Champion
AJGA - Ringold - Champion


Kathy Whitworth - Top Ten
GolfWeek Junior - Top Ten


AJGA Polo - Runnerup
David Ledbetter Invitational - Champion
Scott Robertson Memorial - Champion

A relative newcomer to the game, Marika has established herself as a top caliber player in her short experience in junior golf. We sat down with her at the 2004 Doral/Publix.

You have been playing golf how long?

. Three and a half years. I'm 14 now and I started when I was 11. My dad told me I wasn't playing any sports and he said if I played golf every day for three months he would get me a dog.

How did you actually start? On the driving range?

Yeah, my Dad helped me out a little but I had a teacher too.

How long was it before you played in your first tournament?

About one month. It was on the Junior Players tour in Florida. There were ten girls in the field and I thought I played marveously, but apparently not. Dad saw a little opportunity for improvement..

You have how many sisters?

I have four sisters. There are all girls in the family.

What hooked you on golf?

I'm not really sure. I just became addicted to it and my Dad knew it was going to happen. 100% sure.

One on the appealing things about golf is that it is an individual sport and a person who plays is "in charge" of what happens. Is that true with you?

Definitely. I like being in charge of what I can do and how I play. How I am going to finish. How I'm going to do in my next tournament.

When we talk about the four components of the game, driving the ball, iron play, short game and putting, which part are you the most confident?

Driving the ball. I'm least confident about chipping, my short game. I can still get it up and down because I can make those six and seven footers. When I play well, I putt well. I always hit the ball decently. I know I have to get those short shots closer because then it won't be as much pressure.

What is a typical practice routine for you during a non tournament week?

I get up at 6:30AM, workout from 7AM to 8. School from 9 to 12.It's a typical Ledbetter day, I'm on the range from 12:30 to 1:15. I work out again from 1:30 to 2:30. I then practice from 2:45 approximately until it gets dark.,

What do you like about school?

Everything. At first I did not like the school when I first visited so my Dad sent me to public school in Vero Beach. Once I saw that, I threw a major "hissy fit" and asked him to send me back to Ledbetter. I have loved it ever since. There wasn't really anything wrong with the Vero Beach school, it was just more focused around theater and arts and not sports.

Bob Rotella talks about confidence, composure and concentration in the game of golf. Tell us about yourself in each of those three areas.

I don't like to be over confident. But in golf and in life you have to have some self-confidence or you're not going to get anywhere, but it has to be the right amount. ComposureÖI would never would do anything to lose it. My dad preaches about that and I agree. ConcentrationÖitís probably the most neglected but the most important thing. On the golf course I do pretty well but during practice I donít concentrate that well.

If I asked your best friend to describe you, what would she say?

She would say I am crazy. Weíre opposites. She is pretty reserved but I like running around, talking to people I donít know, being nosy. I was in a supermarket and I started talking to people and my Dad said ďDo you know everyone on this campus?Ē I said ďyesĒ.

What do you like about the competitive part of the game.

Iím not sure. Itís probably about pushing myself to be better than everyone else, testing myself. Thatís not being cocky and I donít want that to sound the wrong way. Itís the challenge. Itís one of those things that without competitiveness I couldnít go on. It gives me something to look forward to. I thought I would like some time off after the summer, but I drove myself crazy. I couldnít stand going to practice everyday for two months without having anything to work for.

Do you have a serious knob that gets turned on when you play.

Oh yeah. Iím a goof ball normally. But when I get on that first tee itís just so different. Iím here to do something.

Do you have goals, a major goal? Yes to be number one in the world. For the next year I want to make Solheim Cup and Canon Cup.

How much does goal setting matter?

It matters a great deal. It matters because it gives you something to work towards, something that drives you overall.

How about physical conditioning. How does that help besides being physically stronger?

Well it helps a great deal. If I can get through eight workouts a weeks then I can play a four hour round and stay focused. It gives you the confidence to know you can do things.

You were the runner up to Morgan Pressel at the Polo. Do you like match play?

I love match play. Itís one on one. I like things that are right there in front of you and you know exactly whatís going on all the time. You know what you have to do to win. Itís so straight forward.

And if you couldnít play golf?

I donít know what Iíd do. When youíre on a golf course, nothing else matters. It takes my worries away. Everything else I was thinking about is gone away.

What do you think the game of golf teaches you?

It teaches you to be honest, kind and a great deal about yourself. I have learned so much about myself through this game.

Marika, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Thank you for asking me. I enjoyed it.