Danielle Kang turns to Google Maps for Aronimink analysis
NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA – Danielle Kang does her homework.
Whenever Kang arrives at a venue she hasn’t played before, she hunts down someone who has and gets them to walk her through the intricacies of the course.
And it’s a strategy that works.
In 2014, when the U.S. Women’s Open was at Pinehurst, the week after the men played the same course, Kang borrowed the yardage book of longtime friend and PGA Tour professional Dustin Johnson who had just competed.
In 2017, when she arrived at Olympia Fields Country Club, site of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, she had never step foot on the course before. But as luck would have it, her brother Alex, who is also a professional golfer, had played the course before. When Danielle struggled during practice rounds to figure out a strategy for how to play the course, she gave her brother Alex a call. Kang went on to win that week and capture not only her first win but also her first major title.
In 2018, when the U.S. Women’s Open was held at Shoal Creek, she solicited the help of Trey Mullinax, a PGA Tour professional who grew up in the Birmingham area and had played for Alabama.
Unfortunately, when it came to this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club, Kang couldn’t find one person to give her inside scoop on the course.
“I actually don't know anyone that's played here,” Kang said about Aronimink. “But I have heard a lot of different things, people that had advice for me that they said I would like it. It's more of a ball striker's golf course, they said, but if you miss a green you've still got to know how to chip around here. It's the fall, the grass is soft with the firmer rough around it. It's just going to be tough.”
Kang wanted to learn more, so she got creative. She went to Google Maps.
“From an aerial view I like to see how many bunkers are in the fairways, if bunkers are hugging the fairways and roughs, and around the greens how undulated it would be,” Kang said about what she was able to view on Google. “I wanted to know how the golf course was going to protect itself, and right now it seems like the bunkers, so I kind of try to focus on the bunkers and type of sand and what kind of shots you can hit from fairways and around the greens.”
While Kang couldn’t get a good handle looking at Google Maps the amount of sloping, the map gave her enough insight to identify areas in need of follow up once she arrived on site. For example, at the par 4 13th hole she was able to identify a bunker protecting the fairway along the left side but saw there was potentially enough rough to bail out to the right if she needed but wanted to review the rough in person.
“I think trying to eliminate minuscule mistakes might be kind of key,” Kang said.
Kang likes to do her homework. And she certainly gets an A+ when it comes to preparation.