Nicole Hage thought long and hard before hanging up her clubs. LPGA.com caught up with Hage for a quick Q&A to get the inside scoop behind her decision to say goodbye to the LPGA and find out what's next for her.
LPGA: When did you come to the decision to hang up your clubs and step away from the LPGA?
HAGE: After the Bahamas, I woke up one morning and knew it was time to move on. I've been playing competitive golf for 21 years and knew I was ready for my next adventure!
LPGA: How are you enjoying your new job?
HAGE: I am loving it! It's been two weeks and I'm getting to know most of the members. I have attended two member functions and they have been so much fun! I love getting to dress up and wear heels every day. My position is member relations so I am assisting in the marketing and planning of all member functions that happen at the club. It's a new perspective of what really goes into running a large Country Club.
LPGA: What will you miss the most about the LPGA?
HAGE: My girlfriends, interacting face-to-face with the fans and the travel. I loved having the opportunity to travel around the world and experience so many different cultures.
LPGA: What is the most memorable event over the span of your career?
HAGE: Well definitely the Alabama events, Mobile and Prattville, not only were they in my alma mater (Auburn) state but my favorite course designer is Robert Trent Jones. Also the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, because I shot my lowest career round of 65, played in the final group the final day and qualified for the RICOH Women's British Open held at St. Andrews on that course. It was just my heaven kind of course where I could bomb it around, it just sits so well in my eyes. The fans there are rock stars, unlike anywhere I've played.
LPGA: What do you feel is your career highlight?
HAGE: I would say playing St.Andrews. I hate using the word surreal but it was. It was just the coolest experience I've ever had in my life, to play a professional event at St.Andrews! Are you kidding me?! (I still kind of can't believe it).
LPGA: What was the response from everyone when they found out?
HAGE: Everyone has been so supportive! My family, friends and fans have been amazing. I was nervous announcing this but the response that I've gotten has really touched me. People have said the nicest and most encouraging things. I have been at peace with this decision for a while but after all the support I've received it's just really been incredible.
LPGA: How hard was your decision to retire?
HAGE: I have dedicated the last 21 years of my life training and preparing to be one of the best players on tour. The hours spent practicing, time traveled and away from family and the sacrifice my family made for me made this decision really difficult. But at the end of the day, you only live one life and I think that life should be a happy one. That is what my family and friends want for me, happiness. Golf wasn't giving me the happiness it once did. I knew it was time to move on to something else, and I honestly haven't felt this happy in a long time.