Danielle Kang couldn’t help but be disappointed with her final four holes in Thursday’s first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship. After opening with five birdies in her first eight holes, bogeys at Nos. 15, 17 and 18 dropped Kang out of solo first into a tie for second. Despite a noticeable breeze that swept through Sentosa Golf Club all week, Kang struggled to deal with the oppressive heat and humidity that are calling cards of a day in Singapore.
“It was just getting so hot at one point. And unfortunately, I think I just kind of checked out from golf for a little bit because I was more focused on trying to stay cool,” said Kang. “I haven't been in this kind of heat in a while.”
Thankfully, Kang has been working hard on her physical stamina and strength, revealing that she’s been training at the UFC Performance Institute near her Las Vegas home. Training alongside some of the world’s best mixed martial artists has been inspiring to the player who grew up training in Tae Kwon Do and earned her second-degree black belt at age 7.
“They're helping me build into another level of athlete. I wasn't banking on the fact that I was going to play better golf, but I wanted to surround myself with people that were stronger than me, older than me, and faster than me,” said Kang, who has gained 11 pounds of muscle on her petite frame. “They work harder in the gym, and how they fluctuate their body weight and what they can do with their bodies, like I wanted to be around that.”
Beyond the focus on her physical condition, Kang’s work at the UFCPI includes a deep five into mental training and stability. That intention allows her to focus on today’s struggles with the heat and instead of internalizing the anger, work to find and solve the root cause.
“I believe that I could have felt better. But my techniques were there. I didn't execute a couple of the shots that I should have. I was more focused on the result and the process of certain swings. I know that,” she said. “It's not an external factor, it's all up to me. It's like understanding the new level of like professionalism. It's kind of cool.”