It’s not technically her office, but the practice facility at the north end of the driving range at Encinitas Ranch GC is where Heidi Richardson spends four or five hours a day, five or six days a week. It’s her haven, where juniors, beginners, women and aspiring players go to hone their games and catch some of the boundless enthusiasm that Richardson brings to golf.
Richardson has been at Encinitas Ranch since it opened in 1998. She runs the USGA/LPGA girls golf program at the facility, is heavily involved in junior golf in the area, runs summer camps, is introducing yoga into her teaching and is preparing for the third annual Women’s Golf Festival in her continuing effort to bring more people into the game. She received the SCPGA Youth Development Award in 2016, and in 2017 was given the San Diego chapter’s Player Development Award.
She’s been playing golf since she was 5 years old, was the only girl on the La Jolla High School team and then played at UCLA. But a few years ago, she decided that she wanted to remember what it was like to be a beginner, to struggle to hit even the most basic shots. She thought it might help her relate to players just getting started.
So she began playing left-handed, and she’s continued to do so.
“I’m not breaking par, but I’m about a bogey golfer,” she said. “I’m pretty happy with that.”
She’s also somehow finding time to play more chapter events competitively, which has been a goal for some time. She’s sticking to right-handed in those, though.
originally published in FORE Magazine, April 2018, by Jonathan Coe