LIFE OF A GOLFER: Many important things happen off the course

Once you step up to the professional level, many things change. Suddenly, you have to take care of yourself, and there is much more attention focused on you. Media interest increases, and if you’re successful, so does fan interest. But what do you actually know about us besides our results? What is life like between tournaments? How do we plan our season, how do we travel, where do we live, what do we eat and what happens when something goes wrong?

I’ve been playing among the professionals since I was 16, and this year marks my 14th season. That is why my team and I have decided to reveal a few insights from behind the scenes through an irregular series of articles. So what is the life of golfer Klára Davidson Spilková like? I, and not only me, will try to show you a little bit of the other side in an irregular series of articles.


When the Ladies European Tour releases its new tournament schedule at the end of the year, the rapid planning phase begins just before Christmas. The initial plan is more of a draft. I try to add all the tournaments I would like to play in the season to the list, which is usually about twenty. Then comes the reduction phase. I have to plan breaks for regeneration, for partner and sponsor obligations, for charity events – which have become essential for me – and for my personal life, like vacation with Sean.  Usually, I end up with three swings: spring, summer and fall. This gives me a basis, which changes slightly during the season, depending on results or unforeseen circumstances I can’t control.  Not to mention the tournaments that are still marked as TBC (To Be Confirmed) in the calendar long after the start of the season, meaning they will only be confirmed during the year. Many times I don’t even know if the tournament will take place or where.

Just like this year when I added South Korea and the Aramco Team Series in Seoul to my schedule only at the last minute. The South Korean event will be a big premiere for me and Sean, and we’re already looking forward to the local cuisine. Perhaps we will have some authentic kimchi. The same goes for planned tournaments in Europe, when nobody knows which country they will be held in, such as the Scottish Open, the fourth Aramco tournament (supposedly to be played somewhere in Asia) or the series finale in Spain.

Planning is a nice thing, but I still have to account for last-minute changes, and promoters often give me a chance to look forward to something I only found out about maybe three weeks before departure. And then it’s a scramble to reorganize everything. My team often feels sorry for me.


It simply wouldn’t have been possible without my team. But sometimes my innate perfectionism drives me crazy. I set my requirements for the flight and then it’s a flood of emails and searching for the optimal solution between time, number of connecting flights and ticket price. It usually works out, but sometimes I end up flying at night and getting to the hotel maybe at three in the morning. So I don’t get much sleep before the first round, and instead of a practice round I plan a walk on the course or just play a few holes. Especially in the first part of this year’s season (when I literally circled the globe), many times I had the chance to see the course only during the pro-am tournament.

After Soul starts my favourite European part of the season, when I can move around comfortably in the massage seats of my beloved Volvo, without waiting at airports or worrying if those extra socks won’t be over-the-limit.


I stay in different places during tournaments. It’s a mix of hotels, Airbnb and staying privately with families who offer accommodation. The official hotel makes the most sense for me. The service includes transportation to the course and it is relatively safe, but still has its drawbacks: Whether the hotels are top or just good, they are usually expensive. So instead I sometimes book an Airbnb and share the accommodation and car costs together with another player. I already have favourite guesthouses in some destinations around Europe, where I like to return every year, and we stay in touch with the owners throughout the year.

The biggest adventure is staying with families. I never know what to expect, who will come to open the door for me or where I will sleep. I’m never afraid, but sometimes it happens that the next day you have to move somewhere else. After all, everyone has slightly different “life and hygiene” standards, and believe me, culture in certain parts of the world is really somewhat… different.


Sometimes it gets quite amusing with transportation, such as sitting behind the wheel at the Sydney airport and learning to drive on the left side while still having to give way from the right. Or Australian roundabouts where you drive counterclockwise just like in Czechia. It’s good to have a co-driver who checks if you’re not driving the wrong way or “too much” to the left. But you get used to it very quickly, especially when you rent a car with automatic transmission. Shifting with the left hand is a chapter in itself…

And then there’s another specialty – driving your own car with the steering wheel on the left in countries where they drive on the left. But that’s a separate topic, which I may come back to after England and Scotland.


When Sean doesn’t caddy for me, it’s always a big unknown. I don’t want to take another permanent caddie, so it’s often a lottery. Sometimes I ask Eva Koželuhová to come with me, other times I get a local caddie. I always try to meet with them already on Wednesday, two days before the tournament, so we can get to know each other at least a little. Only then do I find out, for example, that they are a former New York Yankees player or a local head pro, or just a volunteer trying to help.

Actually, I never search for a caddie myself – I write to the promoter and they offer me a professional and an amateur to choose from, or they just pick someone for me. Either it leads to a long-lasting friendship, or sometimes I change caddies on the first day.


One thing happened to me in Australia for the very first time. I went to the tournament on a buggy! Even though it was only for one competitive round and the tournament was later cancelled, it was new and special to me. It is also something that made me finally decide to be my own caddy.

I’ve never experienced anything like it, but the course was really challenging. Long transitions, holes up and down, and all that in a tropical forest. People still talk about what Laura Davies did there to this day. Back then, only some players were supposed to be transported between certain holes, but she refused this. She demanded an exception so that all players could use buggies. So, in a way, this Bonville specialty is thanks to this world legend. She could afford it and wasn’t afraid to say NO! Although I enjoy walking, I must admit that buggies make the tournament went by pretty quickly.


Everyone is afraid of the tax man or at least respects them. And now consider that the tax rules are different in every country. It’s not just about the percentage I have to pay in each destination, but also about complicated bureaucracy that goes with it. Such as in Australia, where I even had to become a local taxpayer, get a tax identification number and apply for a sports “tax” visa. Otherwise, I would have paid almost fifty percent in taxes.

Fortunately, the Ladies European Tour helps us a lot in this respect, and we know who to turn to for advice. This is also how I found out that for two tournaments in Australia I also have to set up a small accounting system. To take the winnings, deduct the expenses associated with the tournaments and pay “only” twenty percent from the remainder. We’re not just players – many times we’re also accountants and have to study tax circulars. By the way, I’m still waiting for my Australian tax number.


So, that’s it. The first part of the year, the first swing, is behind me. It was a bit up and down in terms of gameplay, but it’s just the beginning, and the whole season is still ahead of me. I’m really looking forward to European tournaments now, when I’ll be able to travel by car, and there’s also the domestic highlight in front of my own fans in Beroun in June. Next time, I’ll again reveal something about myself and my life with golf. It’s like going to work for us, and there’s always something happening around the most visible part, the tournaments. 

Simply put, we are no global superstars; we don’t fly on private jets or stay in luxury hotels. It’s sometimes an adventure, a lot of counting, and more often than not, things that happen off the course.