New mom and pro golfer, Brittany Lincicome, can drive a golf ball. She turned professional at 19-years-old and in her rookie year, she led the LPGA in driving distance with an average of 270.3 yards. She had her first victory at 21, has eight LPGA Tour wins, including two Major Championships, and was the 5th woman to play in a PGA sanctioned event.
Lincicome, 34, recently returned to the LPGA Tour with her baby girl, Emery, in tow. We think she’s pretty fantastic. Brittany is helping to rewrite the narrative for female athletes who want to compete and also be a mom. She’s showing the world that these two desires don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
What would you tell other young women who want to become a mother as well as continue to be an athlete?
I think it’s great for our sport, specifically golf, because we have a wonderful daycare that travels with us. So, that makes it a lot easier. But even without it, if you had to use a family member or pay somebody to travel with you, it would be worth it. It’s so important not to lose your identity just because you want to have a family. I’ve played golf my whole life and I also wanted to become a mom. You should be able to do both. I never wanted to sacrifice having a family for my career. It’s so great that I have the option to do both and can be successful at both and have help from the tour and from my family. But there are some challenges. I’m sure if I didn’t have help, it would be hard. But I would definitely say, try to figure out a way, because there’s no reason why somebody should have to give up their career just to have a family. But, if I would have had to, I would have.
Was being a pro golfer the goal or was being a mom the goal, or both?
Definitely both. Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to be a pro golfer. I had dreams of being a pro golfer but never realized that I could actually do it. Also, I always wanted kids when, but then, you know, the more I waited, I realized that I just wasn’t ready. So, I was glad I waited until my thirties to get married and to finally start a family. I’m more stable and have a few more things figured out, and now it’s just absolutely perfect.
What was the process like to be an athlete and plan to have a baby?
I got married four years ago and I knew we wanted to have a family at some point in our lives and it just seemed like the right time. Whether I could play golf again or not, it didn’t matter. Having a baby was definitely a priority in our lives. Emery came two months early, so it wasn’t smooth, but she came naturally. I didn’t have to have a C-section and I got back to the tour pretty quickly.
When you announced you were pregnant, did you have a lot of support from your tour mates, your family, and your fans?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean everybody was so excited. We had a miscarriage that only a few people knew about prior to that. So, when we heard the heartbeat and finally announced it, everybody was obviously super excited for us. Telling our parents was so awesome, seeing their reaction, and of course, everybody cried, and it was pretty special.
Emery was born two months early. Pro athletes have to be mentally tough, but I’m guessing nothing prepared you for the time she was in the NICU.
Correct. I knew I was going to take a lot of time off to be home and get the nursery ready. I thought I was going to have time to do all that kind of stuff. I went to my last outing in Chicago and I was going to fly on Sunday night and fly out Monday night to get home quickly, but I went into labor that Sunday night, and I was like this isn’t right, my husband’s not here, the nursery is not ready. I had just had a baby shower and things were in boxes and still in packages.
Luckily, my mother-in-law, my husband, and my mom got the nursery ready for us. That definitely wasn’t the plan, but it worked out. We got so much advice being in the NICU and we learned so much from the nurses. I think it actually helped Emery because she came home and she was on such a perfect schedule. She ate every two hours on the dot. She’s so structured.
Did you play through your pregnancy?
I stopped just over six months. I had only gained about 18 pounds. I was waiting and waiting for my bump and it just wasn’t popping out. I was so sad. It had just started to pop out when I went into labor.
I was about to ask you what you did to get your body ready to play, but it sounds like you didn’t gain much weight.
Emery was premature and weighed only 4 pounds, 11 oz. Being in the NICU, there was so much stress. I weighed myself like two weeks after and I was already down to my starting weight. I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t hungry. Just worried about her. There was nothing wrong with her. She was on oxygen for one day and she was doing fine, but you still see your baby laying in a little hospital bed and all the monitors, and it’s still so sad.
It’s a struggle for many women regarding breastfeeding and hormones. How did that work for you?
For Emery to get out of the NICU, they had to know how much she was eating every day. I was pumping and feeding her, so I didn’t really breastfeed long. I did it for four months because, by the time I pumped, fed her, and got her to sleep, it was like a 90 minute process. She would sleep for like an hour and then I would do it again. I was getting no sleep.
Was there any special advice doctors gave you as an athlete?
Drink plenty of water, obviously. Whatever I ate, she was eating. Nothing spicy. A lot of protein and veggies. I think it’s pretty much the same for anybody, I guess.
Mother’s worry. That’s our job. No matter how much you try to put Emery out of your mind, she’s going to take up space in your brain, and being a golfer, you have to be in the right headspace. How do you separate the worrying when you are playing?
My first two LPGA events were in Florida where I live. My mom and Dad came to both. Emery walked 18 holes in the first tournament and she did awesomely. She did not make a peep. Then, she would walk the front nine every day, my mom would take her in to feed her and then she would come back out for the last two or three holes. She’s the happiest baby. It was great having her out. Every time I saw her watching me, I felt like I made way more birdies. When she went in, I didn’t do as well. So, I was like, Emery come back. Obviously, having family watching her, I knew she was safe all the time. Not that it will be much different when I put her in the LPGA’s daycare.
Tell us about the LPGA’s Childcare Program. It sounds amazing.
It is. We actually had to hire a third caretaker in the daycare because there are so many little babies right now. Gerina Piller, Stacy Lewis, Jackie Stoelting, Sarah Jane and I are all coming back with four to six-month-old babies. It’s going to be a great time. The first two events, the daycare was offsite, which is normal. Sometimes they’re off-site, sometimes they’re on the golf course. I think when I take her back out to Phoenix, it’s in the hotel, which is on-site. So, maybe I’ll try it there. I just want her as close as possible so I can see her as quickly as possible after the round.
The daycare has traveling pack in plays, toys and strollers. The caretakers have been with the LPGA for like 20 years. This is my 16 th year and I have gotten to know them through the years. Nice having that peace of mind.
Does Emery have her first set of clubs?
She has one that the Calloway guy made for her. I actually bought her this thing where you step on the little button and the ball pops up on the tee and then you hit it.
Do you already dream of Emery playing in the LPGA?
That would be great. You know a future retirement plan. A college scholarship obviously can save us a few dollars. Golf is great in business and life when she gets older. It’s just so awesome and you can play it until you’re a hundred. It’s a great sport. I feel like even if she just plays on a casual level with her dad and me, that would be very cool.
What’s your favorite part about being a mom and what’s the toughest part?
The toughest part is no sleep, not sleeping a full eight or ten hours on my own. Not getting the steady constant sleep I used to get, but, it’s so worth it.
The greatest part is seeing her at the turn and giving her a hug or seeing her after my round. That’s the most rewarding. When I feed her and she smiles, or you say something and she smiles at you or hears your voice. She’s learning our voices now. That’s pretty cool.
Are you able to work out or have a workout schedule?
Yeah, my mom only lives 20 minutes down the road so any chance she can get to watch Emery, she jumps on it. Normally, I just take the classes at the gym, full-body cardio and some weights. My caddy is huge into working out. She tells me I have to lift weights and that I will burn more calories and tone more muscles that way.
I read a lot of LPGA players are coming to you for advice regarding becoming a mom and continuing to play on the tour, what are you telling them?
That it’s possible. There are a few of us now that have babies and are doing it and playing well. There have been women before us that have done it and played well, so it’s definitely possible. Never give up on your dream. Don’t think you have to give up on your dream just to have a family, because you can do it. If there’s a will, there’s a way and you can make it happen for sure.