GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Whitehall native Laura Kueny, one of the most successful high school and collegiate golfers ever to come out of West Michigan, has spent the past seven years chasing the dream of being a regular on the LPGA tour.
“It’s been a good road. I’ll cherish the memories and the friends that I’ve made,” she said. “I’ve made a lot of great friends on the road. That was probably the best part of professional golf.”
But the travel, injuries, pain, endless practice hours and lack of family time have taken their toll.
“I’m tired of traveling, living out of a suitcase and playing for the mere possibility of a paycheck,” Kueny said. “I’m almost 30 now and I kind of want to settle down and start a new adventure in my life.”
As a senior a Whitehall High School in 2006, Kueny became just the fourth female ever to win back-to-back Michigan Miss Golf honors. At Michigan State University, she set the Spartans’ all-time career average stroke record, earned first-team all-Big Ten honors three times and was named Big Ten player of the year as a senior.
“She’s one of the best players that Michigan State ever had,” women’s golf head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said. “And my job is not only to coach kids in golf, but also to coach young women in life. And I think with Laura, with what she’s gone through, she realizes what life is all about.”
Last September, Kueny underwent surgery on her left wrist for the second time in five years.
“Every time I swung a golf club, it was very painful,” she recalled.
It was major surgery to shorten the bone that had caused the cartilage tear that led to the first surgery.
“To be honest, when I was recovering from my surgery, I realized I didn’t quite miss it as much as I did the first time around,” Kueny said.
The woman who battled and beat leukemia as a kid now wants to focus on family.
“When I was recovering from surgery, I enjoyed spending time with my boyfriend and my family,” Kueny said. “Those things you sacrifice when you’re out here on tour. I think I’m ready to spend more time with my family.”
So Kueny decided that the Tullymore Classic (which runs Wednesday through Sunday) near Stanwood, where she is the face of the tournament, will also be her last as a competitive pro.
“I’m not going to think about this being my last event,” Kuney said. “I’m just going to go out there and enjoy the three days. I’m definitely going to miss the friends, the great courses I’ve played and the cool places I’ve visited, but I’m ready for a new adventure.”