The LET’s leading rookie professional, Julia Engström, 17, comes from a sporty family. Her mother, Jeanette, played tennis on the WTA tour from the ages of 18-25 and acts as her regular caddie. As part of our series highlighting the European Week of Sport, Julia and her mother discuss their passion for golf and tennis.
Who introduced you to sport and what sports did you try when you were younger?
Julia: My parents introduced me to sports when I was very young. I joined my parents when they played and I loved hitting golf balls on the driving range. I got my first set of golf clubs when I was four years old. I also played tennis and did some athletics. In the end, I decided to quit tennis and focus completely on golf. I have enjoyed sports my entire life and can’t imagine a life without it.
Jeanette: Julia really liked to play tennis, but golf is something she loved since she was little. As she grew up she had to choose and I think she always knew that golf was her first pick so it wasn’t a tough decision in the end. She had many friends on the golf course and that made the decision even easier for Julia.
Jeanette, how do you use your experience to help Julia in her golf?
Jeanette: I learned during my tennis career about nerves and how to minimise the pressure so I help Julia with this. I know how it is to compete on a high level and I’m just trying to pass my knowledge on to her.
Julia: I was not feeling well in Spain and had a really sore throat. It was a bit painful. Normally, I would push myself after the round and hit a lot of golf balls and practice but my mother told me instead that it will not get better by practicing. It’s better to rest and find a good balance and get ready for the next day. Put focus on the right things.
What is it about sport that makes you happy?
Julia: There is so much in sport that makes me happy. When you hit the perfect golf shot it is such a great feeling. I love to practice and I really enjoy the hard work and to see some progress in my game. I also enjoy playing golf or tennis with my family and friends because you have so much fun together.
Besides golf, what other sports do you actively do?
Julia: I play tennis when I have time. I really enjoy playing tennis because I think it´s a fun game to play. I think it’s healthy to play other sports sometimes to keep up with your coordination and to play just for fun. I also enjoy doing a good gym session.
Jeanette: As a family, we have always enjoyed sports and if it isn’t tennis or golf it is paddle tennis, floorball, football or ice-hockey. It brings us together and there is always sport on TV in our house.
What positive effects does a sporty lifestyle have?
Julia: I feel like an active lifestyle has a lot of benefits. When you play golf, you are always moving around and you spend all your time outside in nature which is great for your body. I think that if you have a sporty lifestyle when you are young, it will make your body stronger in the future. You meet a lot of people and make friends through sports as well.
Jeanette: Sport brings us together. Julia’s dad, her younger brother and I play and when Julia isn’t travelling we enjoy going out in the evenings and play for fun all four of us. Sport, and especially golf, is a great activity for the entire family.
What does the #BeActive campaign mean to you and why do you support the campaign?
Julia: The #BeActive campaign is a great initiative and I´m proud to be involved. I support it because the campaign has a really good purpose and I think it´s important for children in their young years to be active. It is a great way to keep your body healthy and at the same time make some friends.