Ginger and Robbi Howard stepped away from the pile of range balls at their feet and introduced themselves to a photographer, just as an IMG Academy golf program coach approached with a grin.
“What’s going on here?”
“I think I need to change my hand position,” Ginger said, questioning her own ball striking.
“No,” the coach responded with a laugh, “I mean when is the photo shoot?”
Fully focused on their game and reaching their goal of playing on the LPGA Tour, Ginger, 15, and Robbi, 14, love to talk golf. They’re not so bad on the course, either, with Ginger at No. 23 in the Golfweek/Sagarin worldwide junior girls’ rankings and Robbi at No. 90. The sisters, though, aren’t one dimensional. The two recently answered a few questions for FCWT
The Howard sisters on…
…competition between each other:
Ginger: I love competing against her. She’s the one I can always compete against and compare myself, because I know she’s working hard. We argue occasionally, but we’re sisters, so we have to.
Robbi: We really try to root each other on. It’s never, “I wish you would lose.” We wish the best for each other.
G: If one of us wins, I feel like it’s both of us who won. We’re kind of a team because of how much time we practice and play together.
R: We’re never really separate unless one of us is at a tournament, and the other is at the Academy. Other than that, we’re always together.
…playing in a recent tournament with James Black, one of the first African-Americans to receive their PGA Tour card:
G: It was such an honor. It was incredibly inspiring. He gave us such great advice that made me want to work even harder. He told us to keep pushing on no matter what, because your dreams can happen.
…their daily schedule:
G: We get up at 6:45, do school work from 7:30 to 11:30, because we’re home-schooled. Our mom drives us to the Academy or the course for a few hours for practice, then we have Athletic & Personal Development program physical conditioning, mental conditioning or nutrition classes.
R: We just attended a talk Paula Creamer gave to Academy students, and she talked about having to work and sacrifice some things to reach your goals.
G: I really took to heart what she said about having to sacrifice. Sometime I wonder about my decisions to play and practice as much as I do, but I think it’s going to turn into something huge when I get older.
…life outside of golf:
R: About once a week, we take Taekwondo lessons. We just got our green belts and had to learn forms and philosophies. We had to recite some Korean words, so we’re learning the Korean language. It takes about five years to get a black belt. We’re only in our second year, but it would be really cool to get a black belt.
G: I’d love to be an actress. Maybe a singer. I really love to sing and write my own songs.
…their golfing role model:
G: I try to go in Tiger Woods’ path a little bit. The way he trains is just a lot of work. During our practice sessions, I try to remain as focused as possible. On the course, I’m always trying to break my own record, which is 3-under right now. A few years ago at the TPC Sawgrass, Tiger was like three feet away from us. My dad put his hand out, but Tiger was so focused that he didn’t even notice. It was pretty awesome.
…being compared to the Williams sisters:
R: I really like being compared to them. They’re very successful. Very respected.
G: I think it’s pretty cool just being compared to pro athletes. It’s a great honor.