Michelle Wie West doesn’t hesitate to give an honest answer regarging what life is like for her after the LPGA, saying, “I’m still going through an identity crisis.”
It’s been three years of adjustments for the 33-year-old. She got married, gave birth to her first child and stepped away from professional golf. For someone who’s been a pro golfer since age 15, an identity crisis is understandable.
“There were a lot of tough days,” Wie West said. “When you’re a professional athlete, that’s your identity. That’s what you live, eat, and breathe 24/7. That’s all you think about: playing golf. When I was a student [at Stanford], I had two identities. And now I’m not a student. I’m not a professional athlete. So then the question comes up, Who am I?”
The first answer to that question is: mother. Being Makenna’s mom is Wie West’s priority, and she candidly talks about motherhood being more exhausting, physically and mentally, than professional golf ever was.
“You can voluntarily leave the golf course any time you want, but motherhood is a 24/7 gig,” she says, laughing. “It’s amazing.”
Beyond motherhood, there are other things Wie West wants to explore. While she was playing professional golf, she had a mental list of the things she’d want to accomplish when she retired. After playing in the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open, Wie West announced her retirement from the tour, although the 2014 Women’s Open champion hasn’t ruled out playing the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open.
Having stepped away from golf, she broke out the list.
“I always wanted to go skydiving, but my husband nixed that one when we had our daughter,” Wie West said. “But I did go shark diving.”
She wanted to grow a vegetable garden, and says that she did and it is thriving right now. She wanted to invest in startups, which she’s doing. She wanted to host an LPGA event, which is happening next year at Liberty National. And she wanted to create accessible golf media content, which she’s now doing with her lifetime friend, Hally Leadbetter. Leadbetter is a content creator, who collaborates with many golf media companies including Golf Digest. The pair launched their new podcast, Golf Mostly, in November.
“I feel like there’s a lot of stigma in golf, and there’s a lot of new players that come into golf and have a certain way of what they believe, what golf is,” Wie West said. “I’m hoping that we can break down barriers. We’re hoping that we can use this avenue to make golf seem less intimidating.”
Professional tennis star Genie Bouchard is the podcast’s first guest, with new episodes launching every Wednesday. For Wie West and Leadbetter, it’s something that they’ve wanted to do for a long time.
“Success would be obviously to have fun and do something cool with your best friend, which I feel like we’re already in that category,” Wie West said. “We would love to be the top golf content out there and hopefully get more people to play golf, get people interested in golf and not scared of golf.”
And when that happens it’ll be one more item that Wie West can check off her list.