The swing looks great, perhaps better than it ever has. Even when she was winning on a regular basis – twice in 2005, four times in 2008, and a major championship, the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont, in 2010, along with 35 total Solheim Cup matches and a 17-9-5 record – Paula Creamer’s swing never looked as good as it did on Wednesday at the Dana Open presented by Marathon.
No one outside a few friends had seen Creamer hit a shot in more than a year, so there was great interest in her form. A couple of divers into her session and eyebrows went skyward.
Holy smokes, that’s strong.
Her move looks a lot more connected than it ever has, with her hands staying in front of her chest while her shoulders rotate more fully. The hip action, always unique, has changed slightly as well, with more rotation through the impact and into the finish. This could have been a compensation for the injuries she sustained to her left wrist and thumb, which required surgery. But more likely, it was all part of the plan to build speed, length, and consistency.
After walking away for a year to give birth to her first child, Hilton, Creamer spent time on the range at Isleworth in Florida with her new coach, Grant Waite. They worked on adding width to her takeaway and making the swing more full-body and less arms-only. The result is an increase of almost 10 mph in clubhead speed, and a fresh attitude now that she is back in competition.
“I feel great,” Creamer said the day before playing under the pencil for the first time since August 2021. “I'm just really excited to be back. It's definitely a different feel, obviously, being a mom now and coming back out on tour. I actually left (home) on Sunday, and I don't think I've ever left that early before for a tournament. But I knew that I needed to get out here and see a lot of the faces that I haven't seen for the last year or so.”
A new swing can be game changing, but motherhood is life changing. As all the moms on Tour know, priorities and perspectives shift, especially that first day you drop your previous baby off at the Smucker’s Child Development Center.
“I love coming to Toledo, so this is a great spot and return for me to start my comeback after maternity,” Creamer said. “Being able to balance the mom side of it and also the golf has been a challenge at first, but now I definitely am able to go out there and focus on golf and not really worry about Hilton at that moment until I come back.
“Motherhood is amazing. Getting back into golf - I had to have a C-section, so took me a little bit longer to pick up a club than what I thought, what I planned – but everything went well. Still, I’m just watching what my body has been able to do just through pregnancy and after pregnancy and then after that as well, it's remarkable. I feel really good. I feel strong.
“I actually was going to try to come out earlier,” she said. “I wanted to get out. With my schedule I really wanted Hilton to travel with me, and she would've been a little bit too young in my eyes to be able to travel with me. Because of that, I had a little longer to practice and I got my game a little bit better from what I wanted.
“Then I've also had such great memories here (in Ohio). I'm kind of all over the place with my scores and how I finished (in the past at the Dana Open) but I love coming to Toledo. I also knew that (this) was going to be a comfortable place to start. I know the golf course so well. So that kind of played into the fact, too.
“Mentally and physically, I knew I was ready now.”
The swing looks great. Her disposition couldn’t be better. She loves the golf course. And she seems to have the right balance in her life.
All that’s left now is for Paula Creamer to put up some numbers and give fans what they’ve been longing to see.