A top LPGA and former Solheim Cup player has revealed she once considered deliberately crashing her car because she was so stressed by golf.
Alison Lee, who has played on the top ladies’ circuit for eight years, opened up about her mental health struggles in a powerful blog to mark Mental Health Awareness Month.
Detailing the troubles which saw her almost quit the game just three years after playing in the Solheim Cup, the 27-year-old admitted she became “terrified, anxious and sick to my stomach at the thought of stepping on a golf course”.
Her situation was so severe she thought about injuring herself so she would not have to play in an event – something she described as her “rock bottom”.
“The first event of the year in 2020 was when I felt all-consumed by the game of golf,” Lee wrote.
“With my conditional status, I had to Monday qualify to get into the field for the first time ever, and had a plan set up for the year.
“I made it through and knew that if I just made the cut that week, I would get reshuffled up and get into more fields.
“But on the drive to the course for the opening round, excitement turned into fear, and I had a panic attack. Every mile I got closer to the course; the more anxiety overcame my body.
“I couldn’t breathe and I could hardly see with all the tears streaming down my face. The feelings became so overwhelming that I began to look at the concrete barrier on the interstate and considered crashing my car into it, because I would rather have been in the hospital than have to tee off and compete.
“In that moment, anywhere else besides the golf course felt safe.”
Lee, who admitted she still struggles but vowed to fight on, went on to lift the lid on some of the pressures faced by players at the very top of both the men’s and women’s games.
“People don’t see that side of golf,” she said. They don’t see the anxiety, the mental anguish on both the women’s and men’s tours.
“The pressures that are set on us by ourselves and society. Waking up every day to get better at what we do, but also the failures that might come with it.
“Some days feel like a giant step forward, while others feel as though everything is completely lost. We are all just one shot away from believing we are the number one player in the world, or one shot from wanting to throw it all away.”