Nicole Castrale, a two-time U.S. Solheim Cup team member and one-time LPGA Tour winner, announced her retirement from the Tour on Thursday.
Castrale, 36, released a letter to her followers on social media detailing the conditions of her retirement, including a series of injuries that have followed her through much of her career.
The California native started playing the game at the age of 10 and found success in both high school and collegiate golf. In 1997, she won the CIF-Southern Section individual champions as a student at Palm Desert High School, playing as the only girl on the team. She also played for the USC Trojans while earning her bachelor’s degree until 2001, where she says she sustained her eventual career-ending injury.
“Since my college days at USC,” Castrale said in the letter, “I’ve been fighting the inevitable while strengthening my body and mind in the hopes of keeping a childhood dream alive.”
Castrale joined the LPGA Tour in 2002. She had the first of four shoulder surgeries that year and would go on to take time off for those injuries in 2010 and 2011, and again for the birth of her daughter in 2012. According to a story in The Desert Sun, the surgery that permanently sidelined her took place in November, when Castrale and her doctor decided that retirement was the better option as opposed to putting undue pressure on her back, ridden with calcified joints.
Castrale played on two U.S. Solheim Cup teams in 2007 and 2009, making the clinching putt to lead the United States to a victory over Europe in the 2007 event. Her final competition was at the 2015 Kia Classic.
And while she’s walking away from full-time play, Castrale will still be involved in the game she loves — she is a regular contributor to Golf Channel’s Morning Drive and Golf Central and will continue reporting from the sidelines of LPGA events.
“I have been given the gift of a dream that became my reality,” the letter continues. “Some people never get to live that out. I did. I thank God every day for my blessings and am truly grateful.”