This week was a step on a larger stage for pro golfer Hailey Davidson in a quest to be the first transgender competitor to earn an LPGA tour card.
Consistent efforts on the East Coast Women’s Golf Tour over the winter earned her an invite to this week’s Colorado Women’s Open, a special tournament featuring the top players from the nation’s developmental golf tours. For Davidson, it would be a new experience on a new course with a new variable — a mile-high altitude.
“I’m excited-slash-worried for that,” she said during the interview on the Trans Sporter Room this week. “Everything I hit is going to be 20 yards longer and it’s going to be such a mental thing, but I’m excited for that.”
The Floridian’s excitement ran into a rough outing that began with a long weather delay that extended her Wednesday opening round into Thursday morning. A brutal back nine with three bogies and a double-bogey left her at 7-over par. Despite a more consistent round two, she ended up at 10-over and missed the cut to move to Friday’s final round.
Despite this setback, most of her 2022 effort has seen improvement in her game and consistent finishes near the front during the ECGT slate. In the offseason she made a number of changes including bringing in a new swing coach who was more in tune with Davidson’s playing style.
“I’ve been working with Tony Ziegler who works with a lot of the LPGA girls,” Davidson noted. “The way he works with me was more in tune with the way my body moves. I’ve only had two lessons so far but in those two, it’s been drastic.”
Davidson pointed out the details weren’t major revisions, but a number of small tweaks starting with the first lesson. Less than a week after that first session with Ziegler, Davidson finished sixth and shot 4-under.
That effort was the first of a number of strong outings that saw her finish second overall in the ECGT standings and earned her the place in the Colorado Women’s Open. She says her consistent play this year is better than a boom-and-bust set of results in 2021, even with a history-making three tournament wins.
“After that first lesson, I had my first tournament were I shot under par every day,” she pointed out. “Finally knowing what to work on after that, everything changed from there. The consistency was so much different. I was always in play and my ball striking was hugely different.
“That is what killed me at Q-School last year. If I would have had a lesson with Tony before Q-School, I would have had no problem getting through the first stage.”
Even with a rough result this week, every chance to tee off to become the first trans golfer to win a pro event is history written. Competing at the start of Pride this week underscores a greater mission for he in what is a difficult period for transgender people in the U.S., with the continuing national assault on trans rights.
“I know what I can do within professional sports can hopefully knock some sense into people to stop hurting these kids,” she said emphatically. “My making money on a golf course is great and all, but what is really important are the lives of people being affected by this. I’m going to find a way to make sure that every single one of those laws are gone before I leave this earth.”
Hailey Davidson discussed how she upgraded her game in greater detail when she was, beamed up to the Trans Sporter Room this week. She also had a lot to say about being in competition with the continuing debate about trans Americans going white hot, and how other LGBTQ figures in golf have encouraged her. Now available on Apple, Megaphone, Google, Spotify, and anywhere you find Outsports podcasts