Ask any mother what changed the most in their life after having a baby and they will all say the same thing.
As a wife, mother and full-time LPGA professional, Maria Hjorth will attest that finding the perfect balance between family and career is quite the challenge.
Hjorth and her husband Shaun McBride, a former caddy on the PGA Tour, balanced both Tour schedules for the first two years of their marriage. She admits they sometimes only saw each other for just one night a month.
“We just had to have a lot of understanding for each other,” says Hjorth. “It was very difficult at times, but it was also an understanding that caddying was something he wanted to do and I was also doing my thing. Balance meant more to me than anything. When we were both home we just tried to spend as much quality time as we could together.”
They welcomed their first child, a daughter named Emily, into the world in 2009. Although this life-changing event would put some players in a slump, it didn’t take long for the 14-year veteran to get back in the saddle and win a tournament. In fact, she won her fourth-career title at the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship in 2010 followed by another win at the 2011 Avnet LPGA Classic.
“I think in the beginning it’s always a trial getting your feet wet back on Tour after having a baby,” Hjorth said. “I think you have to prove to yourself and prove to others that if you balance your life right and have great support you can be successful as a mother on Tour.”
With each passing year, traveling with a toddler presented many challenges for the Swede so the family made a few decisions that would change the dynamic of their busy schedules.
McBride retired from caddying last June and has since shifted his career goals. With years of experience out on both the LPGA and PGA Tours, he hopes to begin working at a golf academy in Orlando to assist with the professional development of future and current golfers.
“His experience with different personalities on both Tours would be very valuable to aspiring players I think,” Hjorth said. “It’s not all about your technique, obviously you need a coach for that, but there are several areas that players have to conquer when playing. I think he would have a lot of influence on them.”
Now celebrating five years of marriage and their daughter’s fourth birthday, the couple enters the year shifting their focus to creating a more balanced life for their child. While McBride stays in Orlando, Hjorth will travel solo and focus on getting her game back together.
“I think being a mom you’re always very caring, obviously, having to look after everybody else and when you’re out there by yourself it’s a totally different feeling,” she says. “You can focus more on yourself and you can relax more. I think that’s what I need to in order to get back out there and win again.”
Although Hjorth will travel alone to most tournaments this year, she still plans to bring Emily out to a few events so she can see her mom in action.
“Some weeks I think it’s great to have her out there every now and then and meet all the other kids on Tour and for her to see what I do,” says Hjorth. “But I think it’s best for her to be at home and have a normal routine. She has a great daycare and she can sleep in her own bed. She has started to do dance and gymnastics, which for her it’s just a perfect balance for her.”
Although Hjorth and McBride have extensive backgrounds in the golf world, they have no expectations of their daughter following in her parent’s footsteps. For now.
“Right now, I can’t really see it,” Hjorth said. “All she loves is dance and ballet and gymnastics. But it might change. If she gets into golf great, if not I think it would be fun for me and my husband to share something else with her. Hopefully she gets into sports or something but to learn about something else and try new things is great. For more than 30 years we’ve been around golf courses so I think it would be fun for her to not play golf. We’ll see what happens.”