U.S. WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Hoffmans Reverse Roles at Women's Amateur
August 11, 2015 | PORTLAND, Ore.
By Joey Flyntz, USGA
Jeff Hoffman pointed to the spot on Portland Golf Club’s 18th green where he wanted his daughter, Emilee Hoffman, to hit her right-to-left breaking putt. It was easy to spot the comfort the duo has with one another, as if they have been doing this for a long time. That’s because they have.
Emilee is 17 years old, but already a seasoned pro when it comes to reading the greens in USGA championships. When she was 11, Emilee caddied for her dad in the 2009 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Kiawah Island Club.
This week, the roles are reversed, as Jeff is carrying Emilee’s bag in the 115th U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.
"I thought it would be really nice for her to be inside the ropes at a big-time event, because I knew she had an interest in the game,” said Jeff. “She got to see that level of competition, and here we are, six years later."
The duo has carried each other’s bags several times in local events near their hometown of Folsom, Calif., a Sacramento suburb. Emilee volunteered her services in 2009 and took an active role in helping Jeff read the greens, and he admitted Emilee identified the correct line on many made putts.
Emilee and Jeff have a very close relationship and share many of the same traits, but their on-course strategies differ.
"I'm probably a little bit more aggressive than he is,” said Emilee. “He likes to play more conservatively than I do. That's probably the only difference."
Added Jeff: "When she caddies for me, we're pretty much birds of a feather. We're reading putts for each other, selecting clubs, getting yardages."
Both are accomplished amateur golfers with a very competitive mindset. So, beneath their tight bond there’s definitely a spirited rivalry on the course.
"She's very competitive. When we're back home, she likes to beat me like a drum,” said Jeff.
How often does that happen?
“We’ll keep that a secret,” he said.
However, there were a few secrets Jeff couldn’t keep upon the completion of Emilee’s 5-over-par 149 performance in stroke play. Dad spilled the beans on a zip lining excursion later this week in Portland, as well as a potential trip to the LPGA Tour’s Cambia Portland Classic taking place this week at Columbia-Edgewater Country Club. Emilee beamed at the news, though she admitted she’s eager to get to Portland’s famous Voodoo Doughnut.
Of course, those plans could be interrupted by match play, which begins Wednesday with the Round of 64. Emilee played in the morning wave Tuesday and was waiting to see if 149 will be good enough to qualify.
Either way, it’s been a memorable week for Emilee and Jeff, who still plan to carry each other bags whenever possible.
"It was a lot of fun. I had a great time,” Emilee said. “He really helped me a lot this week and hopefully we'll make more memories."
Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.