Carly Booth bares all

Williams + Hirakawa for ESPN The Magazine

From an early age, Booth had lots of opportunities to golf.

Growing up, how important were sports in your household?
CB: It was crazy. My dad was a wrestler and huge about working out and going to the gym. He built a gym and a golf course on our land [in Scotland]. I was in the gym before I could walk, pretty much. My oldest brother grew up wrestling and playing soccer and golf. I was a gymnast, swimmer and golfer. And my other brother, Paul, the middle child, has Down syndrome and is a weightlifter. He's outshining all of us, with gold medals in weightlifting and now he's swimming and winning medals in that sport as well.

How did you get started in golf?
CB: My oldest brother took up golf when he was about 9, and that's when my dad decided to build a golf course. When I was 2 or 3, I'd go outside while he was practicing and grab a golf club and try to hit. The opportunity was there at a very early age.

How were you able to compete against much older kids growing up?
CB: From the day I started golf, there was no one my age or at my level to play against. So it never fazed me, whether my opponent was my age or 10 years older. I started ladies golf at 12, and everyone was older than me. As an amateur, I think I was a little oblivious and just trying to play and win. If you want to be the best, you have to worry about your own game; you can't let anyone distract your focus.

How much of a mental game is golf?
CB: Anyone can hit a golf ball, but even if people practice for hours, they can get to a tournament and just not be the same. It's so important to be strong-minded and really trust yourself. Trust is very important in golf. Golf is not something you can completely get; it's a game where you can never be good enough. Even Tiger, even with the amount of tournaments he's won and the records he's broken, he still wants to be better. The key is being in the moment and taking one shot at a time. That's all you can do. All that is within your control is how you prepare for the shot and react after the shot.

How would you describe your sense of fashion?
CB: When I play golf, everything has to match. It comes naturally to me to make the effort to look good. Looking better makes me feel better, and if you are feeling good, it can only be a positive for your golf. I paint my nails, I wear big earrings, I wear a hat or a visor. I wear a lot of every color, mostly bright colors, but I wear pink the most.

I think it's only going to be a positive outcome if we all try to make ladies golf a bit more glamorous. Male golf has been more dominant. We want to make golf more popular, and we want young girls to see us and think, "Oh, I love her, I love what she's wearing." We want them to pick up the sport and we want to be good role models for younger girls.

Have you ever struggled with body image?
CB: When I was young, I was a skinny, muscular, athletic girl. I was a gymnast for six years and a swimmer. But when I was 14, I went to America for two years, and you could say I lost control. I ate poorly and got into bad habits, and that's when I gained weight. I went to America about 120 pounds and came back at 150 -- in two years. There were other things involved -- I developed from a girl to a woman in those years -- but I didn't have my dad's discipline or my mom's cooking, so I'd eat takeout or just eat cookies. Ever since, I've been trying to do right and eat better and work out.

What advice would you give girls struggling with body image?
CB: If you want to have a toned, muscular body, you have to work at it. You have to go to the gym. But at 14 or 15, you shouldn't be worrying. Everyone knows what's good for you and what's not. You know deep-fried takeout and McDonald's are not; salads and grilled meat are good for you. So you have to find that balance. You don't want it to take over your life -- believe me, you'll only be depressed. You'll start thinking more and more about food, and the more you do that, the more you'll eat. So keep busy, play sports, go out with your friends, be active. And just be happy.

How strict are you with your diet?
CB: I love to eat healthy, but I crave a little something sweet at every meal. The two things I really struggle with are cereal and Diet Coke. I don't crave chocolate -- just cereal and Diet Coke. And it's not even the sugary cereal; it's bran flakes or All-Bran. But I've gotten into a nice routine. I eat more smaller meals throughout the day, maybe five or six. I don't eat fried food, I eat more protein. I've been running more and feeling healthier and fitter.

I have five tattoos. The first wasn't symbolic of anything, except being a rebel and getting a tattoo. It took me a while before I told my mom. She wasn't too happy. This will probably be the first time my father finds out about my tattoos.`

What is the most unusual training you've done?
CB: I love to walk on my hands. I can be on my hands for ages. It's a good workout for balance and strengthening your shoulders and upper body. I'll walk anywhere on my hands -- the kitchen, outside, in the gym. I've even done it at a nightclub, but your hands get very dirty, so I don't recommend it. I've been able to do it since such a young age that my body just remembers how. It's just as easy for me to walk on my hands as it is to walk on my feet, except I do run out of breath after about two minutes.

What is the one exercise you can't live without?
CB: Recently I've been running a lot. And I'm working on my glutes and balance, so I use weight and resistance. I do single-arm cable pulls with a split stance. I do "Turkish Get-Ups," where you lie on the floor and raise the weight and sit up to a kneel to stand up, then go back down. It all relates to my golf swing and stability.

What would you define as your edge, mentally?
CB: Moving away from home at a young age, I grew up pretty fast. This is my fourth year of traveling on tour without family, and I'm only 20. I think I've gained strength through independence. It's still a learning curve, and I'm still growing as a person and learning every day. But you try to have the right people in your life to help bring you up and keep a positive attitude.

What about your body would surprise us?
CB: I have five tattoos. I got my first tattoo when I was 17, and the last one last year. The first wasn't really symbolic, except of being a rebel and getting a tattoo. I got a dove on my foot -- for peace. It took me a while before I told my mom. She's not a big fan of tattoos, so she wasn't too happy. I don't think my dad knows even now. This will probably be the first time my father finds out about my tattoos.

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