CHARLESTON, S.C. — Golf is a sport than can cause a lot of emotional reactions: anger, frustration, sadness, anxiety, etc. It can be a lot to handle, even when you're playing well, because knowing it could all unravel at any moment is always on the back of your mind. LPGA pro Nanna Koerstz Madsen has figured out an unconventional (and absolutely disgusting) method to deal with it all: Lemon wedges.
That's right, the 24-year-old from Denmark sucks on lemon wedges when her nerves, and sometimes temper, are getting the better of her. This gross method was first pointed out by Golfweek's Beth Ann Nichols last month during the LPGA's HUGEL-AIR Premia LA Open, where Koerstz Madsen played her way into the final group by shooting a third-round 67. After three putting the 11th hole that day, Koerstz Madsen pulled out a lemon wedge and started sucking, then finished her round with three birdies on her last seven holes.
“It’s like taking your senses away from whatever you’re on and thinking about this lemon,” she told Golfweek, “which is really disgusting and not very nice.”
No kidding. Madsen struggled on that Sunday, eventually finishing in solo 13th after posting a final-round 76. But it still marked the second-best finish of her LPGA career, so she was on to something with the ridiculously sour fruit.
This week, the Dane is making her second appearance in the U.S. Women's Open at Country Club of Charleston, and she brought the lemons with her. Following rounds of 73 and 71, she fired what is currently the best round of the day, a five-under 66 that vaulted her into the top 10. Afterwards, she further explained the unusual practice that she and her mental coach came up with prior to the 2019 season.
"Well, it's just if I get nervous or too angry or something, it's just to take my mind off that stuff. So, yeah, bite a lemon."
She didn't appear to be nervous, or angry, on Saturday, when she made five birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to climb the leader board. She didn't even need the lemons.
"Not today, no."
Koerstz Madsen did have them just in case though, and her caddie and boyfriend Nicki Hansen showed the (unbitten) ones off after the round:
Hansen, like any good caddie/significant other, has tried them too, and he keeps them as fresh as possible in tightly packed foil. That doesn't make them any less gross, of course, but that's the whole point according to Koerstz Madsen.
"It is [gross], yeah. That's why I'm doing this," she said.
It's working so far this week, as Koerstz Madsen is at three under overall, four off the current lead. She's looking for her first win on the LPGA Tour, and if she pulls it off she'd be the first player from Denmark to ever win a LPGA event, let alone a major. In addition to helping her golf game, there are also a number of health benefits to what she's doing, like reducing inflammation, improving your circulation, fighting fatigue, and many more. If Koerstz Madsen has taught us anything, it's that when life gives you lemons, do not make lemonade, just eat the lemons instead.