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Q&A with Lori Atsedes, Donald Ross Head Pro & LPGA Award Winner

September 09, 2022
Lori Astedes overlooking golf course

ICYMI from recently our own Lori Atsedes, head golf professional at The Donald Ross Course, was named this year's Midwest Section Professional of the Year by the LPGA. Congrats, Lori! 

As Lori herself loves to say, she's never met a stranger. And she wears a ton of different hats — former LPGA Tour player and reality show star, chef extraordinaire, and the first female head golf pro in French Lick Resort history, just to name a few. Get to know Lori more with a little Q&A:

You probably hear it all the time: “Hey Lori, give me one good golf tip.” What’s your go-to tip for people when they ask?

I preach it, I teach it, everybody’s probably tired of hearing me say it: “Where’s the target? How much time do you spend looking at the target and how much time do you spend looking at the ball?” We tend to look at that ball and forget where we’re going. I have people look, acknowledge the target, get a grasp of something happens after the ball is struck – so know where you’re going.

You started up the ladies league this summer which just wrapped up. How’d it go?

We had a lot of beginners who’d never played golf before and showed up, and it was great – they bought clubs the night before, and got into golf. Getting locals and getting your community involved and supporting the Valley Links Course is a great thing. We had upwards of 15 ladies total, and an average of 8 each week. Every week we gave them a tip and went out and played. They enjoyed it being a little different format, with me going out on the golf course with them and giving them some tips on the course, not just the driving range.

Let’s talk food. You’ve said you are a chef by trade, turned golfer. By now, you’ve had a chance to eat at a lot of the resort venues and try a lot of different things. Any favorites when you dine out at the resort?

I’m a die-hard steak person, so of course 1875: The Steakhouse. I always get a ribeye. I like the Black and Blue Steak Salad at Ballard’s in the Atrium, and I think we make a nice wedge salad here at Hagen’s Club House Restaurant.

But, I like to cook for myself so I’d rather have you out for dinner than go out to eat too often. If it was winter I’d probably make you an Italian meal: big pot of gravy, meaning pork and sausage, chicken and all the fixin's – we call that a pot of gravy – with a nice pasta. If it’s summer, I’d probably throw you a steak on the grill, because that’s my favorite go-to.

Favorite pro golfers, male and female?

I don’t care what generation you are, I think you’d be crazy not to say that it’s been an incredible few decades of watching Tiger Woods. He’s done things for golf that nobody else has done, and I’m not sure anybody else will. To not ever put Tiger in that conversation is a crime in my book.

In 1990 I was getting ready to play my first professional golf and I met Nancy Lopez. You can’t say enough about Nancy Lopez. She speaks to everybody, whether you’re cutting grass or washing windows. She was down-to-earth, she invited me to play golf with her that afternoon, and I about fell over because playing golf with Nancy Lopez didn’t seem like something I was going to do that day, but I ended up spending the entire day with her and her family. It was just an incredible experience. And she’s never failed. She’s supported women’s golf, she’s been an ambassador her whole life.

Well, you’re pretty good at golf yourself. Tell us about the best round you ever shot.

There was a 9-hole golf course in Ithaca, New York where I grew up and they were opening a new nine. It was the grand opening and I was just playing with my buddies, and went out and shot 62. It was just one of those days everything went in, and you didn’t know how. It’s never happened again, probably never happen the rest of my life, but it was a fun round to play.

You were on two seasons of Golf Channel’s show The Big Break. You’re probably used to the cameras from your days on tour, but how’d it compare being on a reality television show?

The hardest part about seeing myself on television is my voice. I don’t think my voice sounds like it does on TV. I was always like, “That’s what I sound like?” And everybody’s like, “Yeah, you sound like that.” And mannerisms that you don’t realize you have … it is a little weird to watch yourself, then you get used to it and roll with it. The Big Break was really a fun show to be a part of, for sure.

Lori Atsedes and Friends at French Lick Golf

People probably think of golf trips as being mostly a guy thing. What about women’s golf groups?

We’re definitely seeing a lot more women’s groups here. I think women in general are playing more golf, and I don’t know if they ever thought of French Lick because sometimes it looks like a hard place to come and play golf. But more and more women are coming are realizing that it’s for them, too. I’ve heard of lot of the ladies going to the wineries and having a good time, and they really like the spa and the pools. There were a couple groups that came in recently they said they just didn’t know there was this much here for everybody to do, and they’ll be back and bring more people with them.

You’ve literally been all over the world playing golf. Now you’ve got about one year under your belt living and working here in French Lick, Indiana. How’s small-town life treating you?

I don’t think there’s another place on earth that I would be happier. It’s hard to explain to people. And my dad is 8 hours down the road, my sister is 3 hours down the road, and I feel like I’m home, even though it’s not home. Everyone here, they’ve just embraced me, and I’m the luckiest person to be here, to be honest.

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