When AJ (Anna-Jane) Eathorne began playing the Futures Tour in New York, she carried a Predator Ridge Golf Resort bag.
She had just graduated from New Mexico State University and was being coached by Predator pro Dean Atkinson.
Today, after winning a $1 million on the Ladies Professionals Golf Tour and caddying for three years, Eathorne is going back to the future. She has joined the golf academy team at Predator.
The 35-year-old Penticton product will be responsible for ladies’ instruction, continued development of the junior program, providing demonstrations and clinics to corporate groups, as well as acting as an ambassador for Predator’s golf program in the community.
“I have been looking to find something new to do with more stability,” she told Black Press Sports. “Somewhere that I could stay in one spot. Enough with the traveling. I just got a little bit tired of going somewhere different every week. Looked around to see what was available. Knowing Brad (Pelletier, VP of Okanagan Region at Wesbild Holdings and AJ Eathorne’s former manager) at Predator Ridge, and knowing Predator Ridge from growing up there, I knew that it was a good fit.”
Eathorne caddied last season for LPGA pro Brittany Lincicome, who is currently ranked 10th in the world. Lincicome gave Eathorne credit for keeping her calm while winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
She expects to put a little more focus on the ladies and juniors programs.
“First of all I’m just excited to be kind of coming home and to hang around people that are closer to me, closer to family,” said Eathorne. “For the most part it’s exciting to work on something that is not just a one- or two-year plan, but it could be a 10-year plan and can work towards bigger programs. More of a consistent plan each year to bring more people to Predator Ridge and the area.”
Eathorne is a three-time B.C. Ladies Amateur champion and winner of the Canadian Ladies Amateur Championship (1997). Following her 10-year pro career, Eathorne was a looper for PGA Tour pro Kris Blanks before hooking up with Lincicome.
“AJ is well known and respected in the golf community for her passion and drive,” said Pelletier. “She will be a great asset to Predator Ridge’s golf team and the community as a whole.”
Eathorne completed a Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Marketing at New Mexico University before making the jump to the world stage on the LPGA Tour in 1999.
Having travelled the world, Eathorne is eager to return to her roots in the Okanagan Valley, where she looks forward to helping golfers of all skill levels develop their game.
“Predator Ridge is a beautiful place to get the opportunity to work. It offers me the chance to make a difference in the golf world. The Predator Ridge team is one of hard work and positive attitudes. I look forward to being a part of it.”
The Predator Ridge Golf Academy offers instruction taught by a specially selected team of Canadian PGA Golf profs, offering the highest standard in golf instruction for everyone from first-time golfers to single-digit handicap players.
Before Eathorne turned pro, Atkinson said by sponsoring the highly positive athlete was “Predator’s
way of giving back to golf.”
He fully expected Eathorne to drive for success on the LPGA Tour.
“As far as goals that she has set over the past eight years, she’s made all of them,” Atkinson told The Morning Star, in a 1998 interview.