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Born to be Wild
Amy Nutt
May 08, 1995
Helen Alfredsson, the rock-and-roll soul of the LPGA tour, lives—and plays the game—at full throttle
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May 08, 1995

Born To Be Wild

Helen Alfredsson, the rock-and-roll soul of the LPGA tour, lives—and plays the game—at full throttle

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There is a lot of truth to the last statement. At a time when golf coverage is increasing, the LPGA still suffers from the criticism that its players lack luster. Alfredsson, with her stylish play, emotional abandon and penchant for playfulness, is the tour's most charismatic asset.

Somewhere southwest of L.A., Alfredsson is humiliating another golf course. This time the links she is bringing to its knees is the dragon course at Golfland Miniature Golf in El Monte. When she gets to the 17th hole, Alfredsson has already made eight birdies on holes over bridges, through castles and into caves. But here she struggles, having trouble getting her ball through the small opening in the lime-green mission house that is the main obstruction on number 17. It takes her two to get down to the hole, and Alfredsson has to settle for her only bogey of the day. Though she is poised to beat her opponent by a rousing 18 strokes, she is clearly unhappy to have to concede the hole.

When she steps up to number 18, she's faced with a difficult putt up an anthill to the hole. No problem. Alfredsson grips her little aluminum putter and sends her blue ball rolling with perfect pace. It glides up the front side of the anthill and loses just enough speed at the top to fall gently into the cup. Hole in one. Alfredsson throws back her head, raises her putter into the air and does a jig. She has scorched the par-3 Golfland course with a seven-under-par 47. It's not surprising, of course. As Alfredsson would no doubt tell you, miniature golf—like driving and like life—can only be done at full throttle.

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