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Professional golfer learning new trade in offseason

by Jay Allred

By David Droschak

Lori Beth Adams took quite an unconventional break from the game during the COVID-19 outbreak that halted women’s professional golf for close to five months.

The former University of North Carolina-Wilmington star golfer returned to her home in Burlington and helped a family friend from church flip a house in rural Alamance County. Once the season ended in early November, Adams returned to her “flipping” apprenticeship as the aged wooden structure neared inside completion.

On the day I visited with Adams, she was set to learn how to lay some tile in a bathroom.

“I am learning a lot for the future, whenever I buy my own house,” she said. “It has been really fun. It’s something to pass the time and learn a new hobby. And it gets me out of the house.”

At 28, Adams still lives with her parents, having yet to hit the big time on the Symetra Tour, the minor leagues of women’s professional golf. Adams did earn her LPGA Tour card in 2019, but failed to make five cuts and has pocketed a little more than a combined $100,000 in winnings heading into her fifth year of pro golf in 2021.

“I am ready to move out, but financially it’s not working,” she said. “People tell me to stay at home as long as I can but I am ready to leave. I want to get a house and a puppy.”

Adams loves to hunt and fish, and would be best described as easy-going. She admitted she had a difficult time adjusting to the pandemic restrictions put in place by the professional tour while players were on the road, not recording a top 20 finish in eight events in 2020.

Adams shot a combined 37 over par in her final two tournaments and embraced a return to rural Alamance County to regroup for a fresh start to 2021 season.

“There have been ups and downs so far in my career; it’s a journey and you have to enjoy it no matter what, enjoy the process,” Adams said. “I’ve had some good years but this year wasn’t too good to me. Next year, I am going to hit it hard with my putting and short game and wedges, and hit it hard in the gym and let’s see how it goes.”

Adams, who does have a second place finish on the Symetra Tour in 2018 but has yet to win a tournament, didn’t quite say she’s at a crossroads in her career, but the writing is on the wall if she doesn’t soon start shooting better scores soon.

“I am pretty close. It’s a couple of inches of going on to the next level,” a confident Adams said of her game. “I’m really going to work on my mental game and give it a couple more years and then go into college coaching. We’ll see where the Lord puts me, I’ve been praying to him. It is his plan, not mine. We’ll see.”

“My ball striking is there, but my putting fell back a bit,” she added. “I switched putters a week before these last two tournaments so I’ll be working on that part of my game this winter. And from 100 yards and in I need improvement. I also need to play more aggressive and have a better game plan going into the week.”

Adams’ new putter is a TaylorMade Spider.

“My trouble has mainly been with the short birdie putts,” Adams said. “My mind is like ‘it’s ok if I get a par if I miss it.’ It’s training your mind to bear down. It’s all about playing mind tricks out there. Your mind is such a powerful muscle.”

Adams, who likes comedy movies and going bowling with her tour friends, said it was a “mental relief” to now be home. She would often pass the time in her hotel room on the road piecing together jigsaw puzzles.

“I wasn’t playing well and then we couldn’t do anything,” she said of the COVID-19 restrictions. “We would stay in our hotel room and we couldn’t go out to eat, we couldn’t hang out with friends, it was literally like a bubble and it was mentally exhausting. It was tough, but playing golf was fun no matter how good or bad you were playing. It’s always fun to be out there competing, but I would also say it was the longest eight tournaments of my life.”

Adams will be working some at Stoney Creek this offseason and also playing at nearby Indian Valley.

And, of course, helping finish off the flip.

“This house work lets me just exhale and enjoy the offseason,” Adams said.

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