Krista Puisite, a recent graduate of Texas State University, came to the USA from Latvia with her younger sister, Mara. Two weeks ago, Krista finished in a third-place tie at the inaugural Women’s Porter Cup. Last week, she qualified for match play and won two matches before bowing out in the round of 16 at the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links championship in Oklahoma. Krista took some time out from her practice schedule to answer a few questions for us.
1. How did you get started in golf? Do any other family members play?
Both me and my sister started because our dad got us golf clubs when we were around 8 and 9. Only our dad played at the time, but now our mom plays as well.
2. Texas State is not well known in golf circles, but you’re changing that. How is San Marcos, Texas, different from where you grew up?
It used to not be, but now we’re definitely getting some more respect in the college golf community. Comparing to Latvia, here we have way more choices of different golf courses to play on; we have a practice facility. The weather in San Marcos TX is much more appropriate for golf year round. Even though the heat in the summer took some time getting used to.
3. What is your schedule for this summer? You’ve finished top 3 at Porter Cup and top 16 at amateur public links. What’s next?
This week I am just practicing and resting, as well as taking care of my physical condition to get ready for the rest of the summer. Next week I am going to Florida to see Tom Burnett to work on my swing. After that I’m playing the US Amateur qualifying, then North & South Amateur in Pinehurst, then the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship. Then I get to spend 5 days at home in Latvia where I haven’t been since last summer. After that I come back to play the US Am, Suncoast Series event in California and Q-School in the end of August.
4. Describe your game for us…what are your strong skills? Which areas need a bit of work, in your estimation?
I believe there are always so many parts of my game that I can improve. I analyze my game on daily basis, so it changes a lot from day to day, or week to week as to what parts I’m working on. I’ve heard from coaches and other players that my putting is great, but then again I’ve heard the same about the tempo of my swing. I guess the only thing I know for sure is that my favorite clubs are driver and putter.. They rarely let me down 🙂
5. Do you work with a teacher? Describe that student-teacher interaction and what makes it successful.
I work with Tom Burnett in Florida on my swing approximately 2-3 times a year. We don’t meet often, but when we do then I know that I need to work very hard to change the things in my swing that we work on and also to maintain them. I have never doubted Tom’s opinion or advice, which is not the case with other coaches. When I go back to San Marcos I practice for a while, but when tournaments come around all I can do is to play with the swing I have created and practiced up to that moment. Then I play with whatever swing I have without technically adjusting it. I think the strict division of technical and athletic practice and playing times is the reason for our success.
I also always had our team coach Michael Akers here in San Marcos, and he would always keep his eye on my swing to help me work on the changes made with Tom.
6. Long-term goals for you and golf/life…
Golf: One of top LPGA players.. Of course, win some tournaments, and use this success for popularizing golf in Latvia. Life in general.. Just be true to myself and play while it makes me happy and keeps me healthy, excited about life and motivated to always improve myself in whatever part of life it is.
7. You have the opportunity to help an 8-year old girl who wants to play college golf…what do you tell her to do and to avoid?
First, I’d tell her that there is absolutely nothing aside of herself that would keep her from doing it. I would probably suggest to never make excuses or explain her failures to others, but instead ask herself why she thinks they happened and what would be a good way to avoid it happening again. Definitely would emphasize healthy diet and exercise outside golf as well. If she does all this, there should be plenty of schools for her to choose from.
8. Can you talk about your fitness plan? What do you do to stay in shape/develop strength-speed-flexibility?
On a playing week it is different, but usually I manage to workout around 4 times a week, depending on the tournament coming up or how my body feels. I like to run, always work on my core strength, always workout my upper body too. I love yoga because of both its physical and mental practice benefits.