How this busy mom kept her golf game in top shape — and won the 2022 U.S. Women’s Mid-Am

Krissy Carman poses with her family after winning the 2022 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur Championship.

USGA/Darren Carroll

Last Thursday, Krissy Carman made history.

Not only did she win the 2022 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship by defeating her 26-year-old opponent, Aliea Clark, 2 and 1 at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers, Fla. — but she also became the first mother to win the title in over a decade. Ellen Port was the last woman to do it when she won in 2011.

Carman claimed the fifth seed in match play after firing rounds of 73-70 (one under), then blazed through her initial match-play opponents, dispatching them with tallies of 3 and 1, 6 and 5, 4 and 3, 4 and 3 and 3 and 2, before taking the championship match 2 and 1.

Carman’s husband, Mitchell, was on the bag for the win, and there to greet her in the aftermath was her mother, Suzanne Peterson, and the Carmans’ two-year-old son, Conrad.

Carman’s victory is inspiration for parents everywhere, but especially mothers who love the game. So, as a mom myself, I was very interested to ask Carman how she managed to maintain her game at such a high level while also parenting a toddler.

Carman, 27, already has a solid competitive foundation, having played collegiate golf at Oregon State and Portland State. But Conrad’s birth in March 2020 was harder on her body than she anticipated, and she took a significant amount of time off from golf.

Krissy Carman started practicing by using her son’s stroller as a makeshift push-cart. Courtesy of Krissy Carman

“I had a super awful delivery with Conrad. Kind of everything that could go wrong went wrong,” Carman told me by phone. “And then I didn’t golf at all the following summer until probably October of 2020, and we just went to the range and hit balls. It wasn’t until June of 2021 where my husband and I took him out, and we just brought the jogging stroller, and we hooked up to the cart and my husband drove all our golf clubs, and I just pushed Conrad and hit my shots.”

Taking Conrad with them to the course proved to be a revelation of sorts — a win-win for both mom and son.

“We started out just playing nine just to see how he would handle it,” she said. “And then he took a nap in the stroller and loved it, and didn’t make a peep, and didn’t complain at all. And so we ended up playing 18 and then we tried again thinking maybe it was a fluke thing. And then he ended up loving it a second, and a third, and a fourth time.”

The Carmans joined their local country club and made family golf a frequent outing. Carman estimates that the family plays nine holes three to five times per week, depending on her husband’s work schedule, with a smattering of range time in between.

“During my husband’s work week, Conrad and I will go out and hit balls for maybe 30 minutes and then sometimes, he’ll let me chip and put and be super happy and content,” Carman said. “And sometimes, I might get an hour or an hour and 15 minutes of practice in. So we just fly by the seat of our pants and if it works that day, then awesome. And if we’re having a harder day, then we just take it for what it is and we move on.”

Now that Conrad is a toddler, he’s started hitting shots himself, which complicates Carman’s practice sessions somewhat, but hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm for bringing him along. And Carman credits her willingness to bring Conrad to the course with her ability to keep her game sharp.

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“I just play more rounds now because that’s just what Conrad loves to do. He likes to be out on the golf course,” she said. “And so I’m just not grinding on the putting green and chipping green as much and just more getting course experience I guess. And so yeah, that’s probably the main thing is I get a couple little fine tune-up practicing on the range and what not. But mostly, it’s getting out there and playing, whether it’s nine holes or 18.”

Carman has also maintained a relationship with her childhood swing coach, Bruce Stewart, who she says she’s seen a handful of times for quick swing tune-ups. But Carman says she would encourage more moms to bring their kids along for practice sessions.

“I feel like a lot of the time, new moms or golf moms with kids, they at times might feel some sort of way about bringing their kids out there. But I would just say just take them. Just bring them out,” she said. “You would probably be surprised by how they behave on the course. And I would just say, just getting out there and going out and playing, whether it’s three holes or nine holes, just bring the kids out because then they’ll start to love it too. Because Conrad, he loves being out there. So it’s just an added bonus.”

Another bonus for Carman? A berth in next year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach.

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jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.