Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – There are tangible things, the measurables, in Lauren Grogan’s golf game that need some work.
And she takes a pragmatic approach to daily improvements in her swing, her short game, her bunker play.
It’s the other side -- the mindset, the confidence -- that aren’t so easily quantifiable, but equally as important as the nuts and bolts.
“It’s one of those things: ‘You’ve got to fake it until you make it,’” said Grogan, the graduate assistant coach on the Central Michigan women’s golf team.
She’s coming ever closer to ‘making it.’
The 23-year-old who joined coach Cheryl Stacy’s CMU staff almost exactly a year ago has made it through Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Stage II is at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla., in mid-October. If she plays well enough there, she will move on to Stage III in Daytona Beach, Fla., in late November. If she survives that, she will earn her LPGA Tour card for 2017.
Grogan finished at 6-over par 294 – “on the number” in golf parlance – to finish tied among a group tied for 78th at Mission Hills. The field was at 342 players at the start of the 72-hole event. It was cut to the low 135 before the final round.
Following Stage I, Grogan went immediately on to the Colorado Open, where she tied for 21st, shooting 70-74-76 -- 220. It brought to an end a summer – with an eye toward the fall and Stage II of Q School – in which she played in four state opens, including Michigan, two LPGA Monday qualifiers, and a U.S. Open qualifier.
“There were definitely a lot of positives that came out of it,” Grogan said of her year. “The big thing is learning; I put myself in contention quite a few times over the summer and I’m learning to stay there. It’s something you have to learn, to stay there.
“I definitely think the biggest stride was in my mental game. And I’m still working hard on ‘The only shot that is important is this next one.’”
Grogan is back in Mount Pleasant now, taking classes toward her Master’s degree and working with Stacy and the Chippewas as they prepare for the fall portion of their season, which opens Monday at the Ball State Cardinal Classic in Yorktown, Ind.
Grogan, a four-year letter winner at Michigan, said the experience she has gained in coaching the Chippewas over the past 12 months has helped her immensely in her own game.
“My knowledge definitely has grown, just from teaching the girls and being able to verbally explain things,” she said. “It’s a learning process and just minimizing errors. The biggest thing is mental, just knowing that you belong out there and you can compete.
“The biggest thing that I learned this year was to grind it out. It really sunk in after talking with the (CMU) girls this (past) year: ‘You’re not going to hit the ball well every day.’ When you talk to the pros, there are maybe only a handful of shots they hit exactly how they wanted to in a round.
“Those grind days, when you grind and shoot 74, 76 that’s making a difference from when a grind day is a 78, 80. I’m slowly working on that and again, it’s about believing that you can be out there.”
With a few more solid weeks on the course, Grogan will be.