Lorena Ochoa retired from pro golf at age 28, but she still has big ambitions.
Once the world’s premier woman golfer, Lorena Ochoa today may be the sport’s most philanthropically ambitious retiree.
Two nonprofit foundations bear the golf great’s name: The Lorena Ochoa Foundation, devoted to increasing educational opportunities for underprivileged children in Mexico, and The Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation, which provides health, nutrition and education programs through family golf for Hispanics in the U.S.
By now, her life story will be familiar to anyone even vaguely familiar with the sport. Born in Guadalajara, México, she began playing golf at age 5, won her first state event at 6, and her first national event at 7. She won five consecutive titles at the Junior World Golf Championships and competed in more than 60 tournaments throughout Mexico as a child.
As an 11-year-old, Ochoa approached Rafael Alarcon, winner of the 1979 Canadian Amateur Championship, for help with her game, telling him she wanted to become the world’s best player. Remarkably, she would realize that goal in short order.
During her college years at the University of Arizona, she garnered an unprecedented number of honors including consecutive NCAA Player of the Year awards, NCAA records for consecutive wins and single-season scoring average, and the National Sports Award from Mexican President Vicente Fox.
She went on to win 27 tournaments, including two majors, during her meteoric LPGA career.
Then in 2010, at age 28, she retired.
Her success continues to fuel the family business, Grupo Ochoa in Guadalajara, managed by her brother, Alejandro. The company includes Ochoa Sport Management; Ochoa Golf Academy in Acapulco, and Ochoa Hills, a golf course design company. It also runs the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, among the most prestigious golf tournaments in Latin America, as well as the Lorena Ochoa Foundation.