New face in the crowd

Stephanie Louden spent 11 years playing on the LPGA Tour. The 34-year-old, who was a rookie on Tour back in 2002, made the decision at the end of the 2012 season to hang up her spikes and transition into a new phase of her career in golf.

Since leaving the LPGA Tour, Louden joined the Jim McClean Junior Golf Academy, which is located in Arlington, Texas, to help out the junior golfers at the academy with things such as the college recruiting process, managing the ups and downs on the golf course and assisting with some on the course work as well. Louden’s job is really about being a mentor to these junior golfers as they work to pursue the same dream that Louden saw fulfilled of being a professional golfer.

“There are 21 juniors out there that we have with us,” Louden said. “We have some international kids as well as a lot of kids from Texas and all over the U.S. It’s been wonderful working with all of them, a real pleasure.”

Louden was out walking the golf course on Thursday at the North Texas LPGA Shootout for nine holes watching one of those junior golfers. Haley Mills, 18, is a student at the academy and earned her way into the field by winning the High School Shootout on Monday. Mills shot 70 to earn the first of two spots given to high school player this week for the unique “Shootout” format.

“She did an awesome job,” Louden said. “She handled herself really well.”

Louden now lives just north of Dallas in Frisco, Texas with her husband, Mike, and their son, Lucas, who turned five on Wednesday. With Lucas set to enter kindergarten in the fall, Louden felt that now was the time to make the switch from traveling full-time on the LPGA Tour to making a new career in the golf industry.

“It’s one of those things where you have a season for everything and I’m kind of moving out of that part of golf now,” Louden said of her playing career. “Hopefully I can help other juniors as they are going through the process and help them in the right direction.”

Topics: Louden, Stephanie

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