Lang finds secret to success
For a little more than six years, Brittany Lang struggled to get her big break on a Tour that features a star-studded field of the world’s best golfers.
With six runner-up finishes including one as an amateur, Lang knew something just wasn’t clicking and quick fixes to her golf swing weren’t the solution to finally stepping in the winner’s circle. Thus began a quest to change her mental game and finally, on a hot day in late June, her swing and her attitude were in sync enough to vault her to that first LPGA victory.
“I’ve never really had a ton of coaching,” Lang said. “I’ve always been a pretty natural athlete but with a little help here and there. For the last few years I got really technical with my game, just trying some different things and it really didn’t work.
“A couple years ago I just started getting back to the basics of golf, just basic practice, simple flow and just having more fun out there. I developed a basic, simple, fun mentality. It really helped me to relax.”
Lang notched her first victory at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in her 154th start as an LPGA player. Lang’s patience and newly discovered mentality aided to end possibly one of the longest winless droughts.
“It took me some time,” Lang said of her first win. “It took me a lot of years and a lot of second place finishes to learn what it took. I’m still learning, you know, I’ve only won once. But I know that week in Canada I was in every shot and I wasn’t worried about what place I was in or anything like that.”
The McKinney, Texas native put together rounds of 69-65-67-67 and inched her way up the leaderboard to land herself in a four-way tie for the lead, forcing a sudden-death playoff. Lang managed to eliminate Chella Choi, Hee Kyung Seo and Inbee Park one-by-one before sinking a birdie putt of the third hole to secure the win. Lang stood in the winner’s circle that day hoisting her first LPGA trophy; however, the victory didn’t quite sink in until later.
“I was just in complete and utter shock for a couple weeks,” Lang said. “I just couldn’t believe I finally did it. I had been so close many times but didn’t make it. I’m a very positive, fun person so I just went out just had fun with it. When I got back home to McKinney, it finally sank in. When I was with my family and friends, it sank in that I had finally done it.”
Lang was touched to be surrounded by family and friends as she celebrated her victory in her hometown. So much so that she recently packed up her house in Florida and moved to Texas to be near her close-knit family.
For the Langs, golf had always been somewhat of a family affair. Although Brittany’s mom was a tennis fan, she would always stand behind the ropes as she watched Brittany and her brother Luke on the links. Both went on to play collegiate golf, as Luke was an All-Conference golfer at Arkansas Tech and Brittany star at Duke University. The two are so close, in fact, that Luke stands beside his sister on the course as her caddie.
“It’s an absolutely blessing to have Luke on my bag,” Lang said. “He’s a good brother, he’s a good golfer, he’s a good caddy. We have so much fun. He’s really perceptive and really good at picking up on what I need to work on. He does a good job as a caddy and has learned a lot like what shots to take and when. I really feel like he is one of the best caddies out there without question. To always have family on the bag when you’re having a tough time or to celebrate in the good times it’s just such a blessing to have him on the bag. We have so much fun.”
Lang was around 10 years old when her dad put a club in her hand for the first time. For a girl who participated in nearly every sport, Lang developed a passion for golf from the start.
“I just fell in love with golf right away,” says Lang. “It was an individual sport. I just felt very calm and peaceful at golf courses and still to this day I love practicing, I love being on the golf course.”
At 18, Lang boasted an impressive amateur resume with eight American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) titles and was a two-time First-Team Polo Golf Junior All-American in 2001 and 2002. In 2003, Lang won the North and South Women’s Amateur and the Women’s Western Amateur Championship in consecutive weeks.
Her success as a teen secured her a spot on the Duke University women’s golf team where she won six collegiate events and played a key role in taking the team to a national championship title. She was also named the 2004 ACC Freshman of the Year and NCAA Freshman College Golfer of the Year. During her sophomore season, Lang competed as a sponsor exemption at the 2005 Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Corning Classic, where she tied for 15th. She capped off her well-decorated amateur career when she tied for second along with then-fellow amateur Morgan Pressel at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open.
By then, Lang had already accomplished more than most golfers can in two years. So, a few more sponsor exemptions and impressive finishes later, she found herself in her first sudden-death playoff at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in December 2005 where she earned one of the final three exempt cards remaining for the 2006 season.
“I just got to thinking ‘I’ve won six times in college and I’ve played very well out on the Tour and that ultimately was what I wanted to do my whole life,’” Lang said of turning pro. “So I was like ‘why not go now?’ The only way to get better out there is going out there and learning to do it.”
It may have been a long road, but the 27-year-old appreciates the journey to her first win and with an affable smile and demeanor on the course, she will remain positive in her trek to many more wins on the LPGA Tour.
“I just think golf is a cool sport because it changes a lot about yourself but it’s a learning process,” said Lang. “It just took me a little bit longer than usual to learn what it takes for me to do it and once you listen into what you need, it’s pretty easy to see what you need to do to get that win.”