February 25, 2010 (Las Vegas, Nevada)–LPGA Tour player Stephanie Louden grew up in Las Vegas, honing her skills on Las Vegas golf courses, such as Las Vegas Golf Club and Canyon Gate Country Club, among others. Louden now lives in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas with her husband, Mike, and 22-month old son Lucas. And with the 2010 LPGA Tour kicking off, Louden has a new pro working with her and feels good about her prospects. By Brian Hurlburt.
"I have been working very hard on my game since October with a new coach so I haven't had much of an off-season," says Louden about her new partnership with Justin Poynter, who manages the Jim McLean Golf Center in Arlington. "We have been working on all parts of the swing, plus I have been working out and strengthening my body. And we are working to gain swing speed and add distance, and he has me doing some different speed drills. I am also working to flatten my swing a bit and I am spending a lot of time on the 100-yard-and-in shots … This is a new phase for me. I have been really grinding and I have to go full throttle this season."
Louden is one of more than 30 LPGA Tour, PGA Tour, Champions Tour, and Nationwide Tour golfers who have strong ties to Las Vegas golf courses. Other LPGA Tour golfers who live in Las Vegas include Kim Hall, Natalie Gulbis, and Erica Blasberg, among others. Some of the PGA Tour Las Vegas golfers are Rickie Fowler, Scott Piercy, Nick Watney, Chris Riley, Charley Hoffman, and many others. The Las Vegas Golf Region is also the home to more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses including Golf Summerlin, a grouping of three courses that make up 54 holes of Las Vegas golf. The three Las Vegas golf courses located in the Golf Summerlin area are the championship Palm Valley and Highland Falls Golf Clubs, and the executive length Eagle Crest. Click now to view the official website of Golf Summerlin to reserve your Las Vegas golf tee times at these Las Vegas golf courses.
Louden started working with Poynter on the advice of fellow LPGA Tour player Wendy Ward. Ward has known Poynter, who was recently named a Top 50 Instructor by Golf Range Magazine, for several years and thought the two would work well together. Ward also employs Mike, Stephanie's husband, as her caddie. The two have been working together for a couple years and entered the partnership when Mike left the ranks of playing professional golf. The caddie husband/LPGA Tour wife relationship works well because it allows the family to travel together and spend a lot of time in the same, beautiful places.
"We travel with Lucas full-time other than foreign tournaments, and he has already been to about 31 states with us," says Louden, who is considered exempt for the 2010 LPGA Tour season via category 15, and should be eligible for most full-field tournaments. "He really goes with the flow and we get to spend a lot of quality time together. It's very enjoyable and really opens your eyes to new things." Louden made 5 of 17 cuts while playing the LPGA Tour in 2009, earning $38,755 and finished 119th on the money list. Louden started her 2010 season by playing in some Cactus Tour events in Arizona, bringing to the course some of the things she and Poynter have been working on together. Louden finished 4th in the first event of the season which included a final-round 67, her lowest round in awhile.
Louden turned pro in 2002 and had collected $645,869 in career earnings entering the 2010 season. Her best-ever finish was a 5th place at the SemGroup Championship in 2007. Louden still keeps in touch with friends and family in Las Vegas, but is also very happy living in Texas. "The golf community here has been wonderful and has been very welcoming," says Louden, who is helping The First Tee of Dallas, a junior golf association in the area. "We are enjoying ourselves. Life is good." The first full-field event on the LPGA Tour is the Kia Classic Presented by J Golf to be played March 22-28, 2010.