May 5, 2008
Junior Lauren Cousart, who enters the 2008 NCAA Central Regional Championship averaging a career-best 77.73 strokes in 15 rounds this year, is enjoying the best season of her three-year Seminole career. She established her career low score for a single round in the third round of the Cougar Classic (70) and tied her career low 36-hole score in the first two rounds of the LSU/Cleveland Classic (151). Cousart took time to sit down with seminoles.com before she and her teammates left for Austin, Texas and the regional championship.
What did you start playing golf and when did you believe you could play at the highest level of college golf?
“I started playing golf in eighth grade and have been around the sport my entire life. By the beginning of my junior year in high school I thought that I had a chance to play golf at a higher level. I knew that I had been working really hard and knew that I could be successful as a college golfer. I started to believe in my game when I began playing well in junior golf and amateur tournaments around the state of Georgia as I continued to get better.”
What is your fondest memory of playing in the 2007 NCAA East Regional Championship?
“My fondest memory of the 2007 regional is the way our team came together and we really bonded as teammates. Each day when we were warming up on the range everybody was very positive and everybody wanted each other to play well. We were doing cheers and were all believing in each other. We were playing our own games but we knew we could rely on each other to shoot the scores that we need to be successful as a team.”
During your collegiate career, what is your favorite course you have played? Why?
“My favorite course is the course we play on at the tournament at the College of Charleston (Yeamans Hall Golf Course). I have always played well there and it is a great way to kick off our fall season. I also love to go home to Athens and play the UGA golf course where I can see family and friends. That’s where my dad is (he’s the Director of Golf) and that’s just awesome that I can be there with family and they can see me play. It’s really neat that I can go home and play a course like that and have friends and family around in town.”
What clubs are in your bag? Do the clubs in your bag differ with each tournament or type of golf course?
“Right now I am carrying four wedges and I have recently taken a three-wood out of my bag. I typically don’t hit the ball quite as far as some players so I can’t quite reach the par fives in two shots so I decided I am going to carry a five-wood and two hybrid woods that I really like. If I needed to put in a three-wood and could reach the greens in the par fives I could go back to it. I have recently been hitting the ball further so that might be an option for me to put a four-wood in my bag. Typically I can work my way around and use all the wedges to my advantage. I have a pretty good short game right now. The hybrids have been really great and I think they should work well for me in Texas.”
How much time do you devote to practicing each week and are there any specific things you are working on as the NCAA Championship approaches next week?
“I put in about four or five hours a day practicing and maybe more if we are playing in a tournament. Specifically I have been working on my short game and continuing to get better on my putting. I have really worked hard to become better at consistently making the four or five foot shots that you need to make to shoot low. We all need to hit as many greens as we can and it is also important to get the ball up and down and make birdies – that is how you really score.”
What do you practice? Your chipping, putting or long game?
“I practice every aspect of my game but I probably chip and putt more that anything else. I could really practice putting for hours and hours. I love playing putting games; we also play horseshoes and we compete against each other in little games that can make our overall games better. With our new practice facility we have really practiced our up and down games, hitting 100-yard wedges and have really worked on chipping and putting.”
How important is strength training and conditioning in your overall game during the playing season?
“I think that strength training and conditioning are important to playing successful golf. It’s good to be in good shape and not be huffing and puffing while you are on the 18th hole. It’s good to stay focused and not have to worry about walking up and downs hills and being on our feet all day long. We are on the course for six and seven hours so I do think it is important but we don’t need to work out like our football players so we become bulky but we do need to have core strength and good cardio so we can be on our feet all day and not get tired.”
After enjoying a strong round one day, how do you carry that confidence over to your next round/rounds?
“After playing well in a round I really try to stay patient and calm the next day and during the next round. It’s a long day on the golf course and I have worked hard on focusing, staying clam and being mentally ready for whatever comes next. You really have to be confident – but not too confident – because anything can happen out on the courses. There is a lot of golf to play in every round and often times a long day on the golf course. I fell that I have to stay clam, stay in the present and not think about my score while I still have four or five holes left. I jut have to work hard on focusing on the present and staying mentally tough. Each round is not over until the last hole and until the last putt goes in the hole. We have to focus on staying calm and staying mentally tough.”
How do you balance going to class and studying for exams with travelling and playing tournaments during the spring?
“It can be hard to stay focused and balanced with academics and playing golf. To balance class, golf and workouts we have to stay on top of everything we have to do. We can’t get behind in school and that’s tough because we typically miss a great deal of school during the season. It was tough to miss so much class during the month of March. We just have to be up front with our professors and let them know that we would be away from campus. We have to work hard to get the notes and make up any tests that we need to make up. We have to find a mix between studying and playing. We get a day or two here and there to relax and that’s where we have to catch up on things like laundry and to sleep in. Those days are good. We have to get our minds on golf when we are at a tournament and on school work when we are in class.”
Do you like to listen to music before/after practice and competitions to relax and in that case, what kind of music?
“I like to listen to all kinds of music. When I am practicing by myself I like to listen to my iPod. I listen to Dave Mathews, John Mayer and OneRepublic. I like to listen to music that is laid back and quiet in order to relax while I am practicing. I know before we all go to a tournament we love to listen to pop, rock and funny rap songs. We all like to goof off and at the same time get pumped up before we play. We all ride together to a tournament and have the music in the van cranked up. That relaxes us and pumps us up at the same time.”
I am in five words…
“Funny, smart, hard-working, trustworthy, dependable”
Nobody knows that…
“I wish I could be a singer and have my own band.”
I wish I could…
I’ve always had a crush on…
My biggest vice is…
“Chocolate. Chocolate and peanut butter. Chocolate and strawberries. Chocolate and anything.”