When Charlotte Thomas turned 11, she was presented with a dilemma. She was no longer allowed to play rugby with her brothers in countryside England.
Fortunately for her, a golf course was right next door to the rugby field, letting her mom drop her off there. Thomas fortunately caught the eye of a local professional in her maiden trip to a driving range.
“The first day, a coach saw me there, I was so awful. He decided, I’m going to teach her, she’s really bad, this will be a challenge,” Thomas told LPGA.com.
Taking on that challenge has turned into Thomas’s successful professional golf career.
Thomas Packs her Bags to Move Around the World
Thomas’s family moved to Singapore when she was thirteen years old, where she found her coach Craig Mclean. Thomas still works with McLean today.
She enrolled at the United World College of South East Asia, where over 60 nationalities attended and no nationality made up more than three percent of the student body.
The time in Singapore didn’t provide Thomas enough opportunities to get recruited by college programs. She would golf in England over the summer, and play in amateur events in Australia, but it wasn’t enough to get her noticed by collegiate programs.
Thomas realized at the age of 16 that she wanted to make golf her profession. Loving the grind of improvement, and in spite of a lack of a stellar amateur resume, Thomas took a gap year to help chase her dream.
She made her second move to Australia to live with McLean after graduating from high school in 2011.
“I played a bunch of events in Australia, then went to China and tried to get as much experience as I could. It was the best thing I could’ve done, I wasn’t ready for college yet. I needed more tournament reps.”
Thomas went on to email coaches during her gap year, as Singapore isn’t on most program’s radars. She vibed with the city of Seattle, joining the University of Washington, moving to her fourth country in seven years. While returning to Australia, Washington would be her home for four years.
Before joining the Symetra Tour after graduating from the University of Washington in 2017, Thomas won the national championship with the Huskies.
“I feel like your rookie year as a professional is like your freshman year in college but on steroids. It’s crazy. So much you can’t fathom, and it can’t be explained to you.”
Moving so much gave Thomas an advantage as she began her Symetra career, allowing her to smell the roses as she navigated a professional schedule for the first time. “I’ve gotten really good at traveling, I’ve gotten really good at embracing wherever I am. I don’t get super attached to any one place, that’s really helped me being out here and be happy knowing that I don’t really have a home anywhere, so might as well be out here.”
Thomas finished in 37th in the Symetra Tour money list in 2017, and charged to 8th on the list to lock in her LPGA Tour card in 2018.
It was no sure thing that Thomas would secure her card, as it was a tight race from six to 10 on the money list heading into the Symetra Tour Championship.
Thomas’s Mom was on the bag for her that week, as she caddied about a third of Thomas’s 2018 Symetra campaign. She may have described the experience the best when while walking off the 72nd hole Thomas’s Mom declared, “I’m never caddying again!”
Her family has been an incredible support system. Describing her father’s love of watching her play with a large smile on her face, Thomas dived in to how her family follows her despite living a world away.
“I have three brothers too, they have a family whatsapp group that I’m not in. It’s shot for shot, somebody is watching me at most events, and they say every single shot that I’m in.
“I’m not involved, but it’s my brother’s mates, girlfriends, my coach, they’re getting this shot by shot.”
That group got to experience Thomas in person at the ISPS Handa Vic Open, her self-described best week of golf in her life. She finished T2 in her first event, and had a commute to the tournament to match her performance.
“It was like a home event, our family house is across the bay. So I ferried across Sunday and stayed there for the week.”
Thomas backed up her top 10 in Australia with a T6 finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, helping her to accomplish one of her two goals for the year.
“I really really want to play my way into the Singapore event, because that’s kind of a home event for me and I have to have a really good year in order to do that. It would be really cool to go back there and play professional golf.”
Her other goal? It’s not entirely in her hands at this stage. “My goal for the year was rookie of the year, but 6 (Jeongeun Lee6) has kind of taken that dream away from me. She’s killing it, it’s so cool to see and I’m absolutely loving it.”
It may be a consistent changing of states and countries for Thomas, but she’s found her new home: the LPGA Tour.