Redman happy with retirement, career transition
BY NEAL REID
Michele Redman is at peace.
The LPGA Tour veteran took her last swings at the Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola in North Plains, Ore., in late August, announcing her retirement after 20 years, $5.7 million in earnings and a treasure trove of great memories. Spurring that decision was the fact that Redman was named as the head women’s golf coach at the University of Minnesota on Aug. 10, and she is more than ready for her new challenge.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Redman said. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I was probably going to retire anyway at the end of the season, but this just prompted it a few weeks earlier. I knew I was going to be moving in the direction of doing something else, but I just wasn’t quite sure what it was going to be. It couldn’t have worked out any better, and it’s the perfect transition for me.”
Instead of worrying about her own practice and travel schedule, Redman will turn her attention to building a Gophers program in her own vision and passing on her knowledge to a group of young and budding players.
Redman knows what it takes to be a successful collegiate player, twice earning All-America honors at Indiana University. She was a four-time All-Big Ten Conference selection and won four collegiate tournaments.
Not only will Redman work to help her players improve on the golf course, but also off it as well.
“Knowing how much I’m going to help these kids develop as people – whether they play professional golf or go on to do something else – I know I’m going to be able to help them and get them going in the right direction,” she said. “It’s what I want to do, and there’s no doubt in my mind about that.”
After joining the Tour in 1992, Redman spent five years learning the ropes and bringing her game up to par. Her first win – the JAL Big Apple Classic – came in 1997, and her second victory followed three years later at the 2000 First Union Betsy King Classic.
Redman was always a solid, consistent player, and she is a self-described “grinder.” That high level of play propelled her to 80 career top-10 finishes, and she qualified for four Solheim Cups (2000, 2002, 2003, 2005) as a member of the U.S. squad.
Consistent is the word that Redman thinks most people will associate with her as a player, and she looks back fondly on her career.
“I think I’ll probably be remembered as one of the most consistent and better grinders out there and probably as somebody who was approachable and fun to watch,” she said. “Obviously, I would have loved to have won a major or to have won more tournaments, but I was always consistent and never really struggled much. I think I would have much rather had that than the ups and the downs, because it’s just more enjoyable to be consistent.”
Playing professional golf was a dream come true for Redman, and she cherished her time on Tour.
“I really, really enjoyed playing the Tour, and I was just fortunate to be out there during the time I was out there,” she said. “If somebody had told me 30 years ago that I was going to be able to play the Tour for 20 years and be successful, I would have been like, ‘Wow!’”
The chance to represent her country on four occasions, Redman said, is what she’ll remember most about her two-decade career.
“Just getting to know the best players for that one week – I loved that experience,” Redman said of The Solheim Cup. “Being able to play together as a team instead of against them was probably my favorite thing.”
In recent years, Redman’s desire to continue with the grind of the Tour waned, and she wanted a more stable environment for her daughter McKenna, who will be 4 in October. Redman earned her real estate license last year in the offseason and was ready to perhaps try that career, but jumped at the chance to coach at the collegiate level when the position opened up at Minnesota.
“I just think I was ready to move on and do something else, and I was fortunate enough to have this opportunity,” she said. “Professional golf always filled me up inside, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t really getting that feeling anymore.”
Things are falling into place for the affable Redman, and she’s eager and excited to begin the next chapter of her life in the sport she loves.
“I went out to the airport to pick up one of my incoming freshmen, and I had one of those ‘Aha!’ moments where I realized that this is what I want to be doing,” she said. “One of the reasons I was hired is that I’m committed to be here for a while. I don’t want to just be here for two or three years. I want to be here until I retire, to be quite honest.”