In 1987, Pitcock qualified for the LPGA Tour by tying for 14th at the LPGA Final Qualifying tournament to earn exempt status for the 1988 season. In her rookie season, she posted a career-low score of 63 during the second round of the Mitsubishi Motors Ocean State Open and tied for second. In 1995, she posted five top finishes, including a season-best tie for third at the Standard Register PING. Pitcock then became a Rolex First-Time Winner in 1996 at the Jamie Farr Kroger Classic. Two years later, in 1998, she crossed the $1M mark in career earnings at the Wegman’s Rochester retired from full-time play on the LPGA Tour in 2003. She now resides in Fresno, CA. and has been teaching and coaching every since. Joan recently accepted the position of Assistant Women’s Golf Coach at UC Riverside under Western Section Secretary and Highlanders Head Coach, Mary Ritchie.
What prompted you to retire from the Tour?
It was clear by the numbers I was shooting that I couldn’t compete after I injured my back in the late 90’s, but I kept going for 5 more years because I was an exempt player and wanted to take advantage of the privilege of playing on tour. It was always a dream of mine to play on tour, and I didn’t want to let go. It’s truly the best job in the world.
What have you been up to since retiring?
For the first 4 or 5 years, I didn’t do much at all. You go from a very fast pace of travel and interaction on many levels to almost a dead stop. I’m not very outgoing, so I really liked totally unplugging, retreating back to Fresno, and spending time with my family. After a while, I got involved at the club I’m at now, Sunnyside Country Club, helping out with junior clinics and teaching. I feel like I’ve seen so much golf and so many methods that are effective that not sharing that with players that are struggling seems selfish.
What are you passionate about these days?
What started as an innocent dabble had really grown into an obsession . . . it’s all things motorcycle. I bought my first bike right after I retired and since then I’ve had 15 different bikes. Twice I had 3 at a time, but I just have one now. I love cruising in the foothills. It’s very peaceful. It’s a great stress reliever; I just love it.
What’s your 5-year plan?
When I was in high school, my teachers asked me that all the time. At least then I had a plan to be a tour player. That wasn’t a very satisfying answer to them, but it worked great for me! Now I just take one day at a time, and it seems to be a comfortable plan for me. I’m pretty low maintenance, and I’m not a big risk taker. Ask me again in 5 years. 🙂
What is it like for your being in the T&CP and specifically, the western section?
After I started teaching, I joined the T&CP immediately. When I was on tour, we had mandatory player meetings three times a year and during those meetings we were given updates on the teaching division and strongly encouraged to support them. So, it was important to me to do that once I committed to teaching. I’ve really enjoyed the western section members. The members I’ve talked to have given me some great ideas on how to start and grow my business in golf and market my brand. It’s a great community of support and encouragement.
What could we be doing better in the T&CP and the Western Section to improve value for our members?
Try and get more teachers to join. Bigger numbers would bring more ideas (and generate more money). Starting a mentoring program with college players that want a career in golf but don’t want to play on tour might be something to explore. I also think we should have more events, even if it is just adding more webinars. Sharing ideas and business plans that are successful helps strengthen everyone’s endeavor in golf.