If Rob Rennell has one regret, it’s that he didn’t buy a fifth wheel sooner. Rennell estimates that traveling the junior golf circuit by trailer with daughter Riley would’ve cut the family’s expenses in half. Rob and Riley have been practicing in Scottsdale, Arizona, for the past three months while their 42-foot trailer is parked at Eagle View RV Resort at Fort McDowell.
“It’s almost like an apartment,” said Riley of the setup, which includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms. RV life allows Riley to bring her dog Alex and kitten Frankie on tour.
The Rennells also have a 40-acre farm in Columbia, Tennessee, which supplies hay for the cattle ranches that surround. Kendra Rennell, who was back home overseeing roof repairs at the farm, recently made her way out west to watch Riley make her LPGA debut this week at the Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon, Arizona.
While Jordan Spieth made some headlines earlier this year talking about his new rig, the women who haul trailers around the country aren’t having quite the same experience as the luxury motor homes that Jason Day, John Daly, Jimmy Walker and others have used for years.
“We’re the trailer girls,” said Dorsey Addicks, who lived 280 days in her Airstream the first year she bought it. Addicks’s father, Rich, a retired photojournalist, has an Airstream, too.
After the pandemic hit, the family decided to look into seeing if it made sense financially for Dorsey, who now hails from Big Sky, Montana, to get her own home on wheels. She lives in her 20-foot Airstream when she’s wintering in Georgia and on the east coast of the Epson Tour. When on the west coast, they use dad’s trailer.
“I would still be driving anyway,” said Addicks of tour life, “so I might as well tow a trailer.”
Addicks tows her Airstream with a Chevy Silverado 1500 and documents her travels on the Instagram account, @dagolfstream. A couple of season ago, she met a man in an RV park who walked his goats every night.
Addicks’ good friend Lindsey McCurdy also pulls a 19-foot trailer on the Epson Tour. She enjoys the freedom of being able to cook what she wants. McCurdy’s RV has a full-size bed and a twin bunk. That McCurdy managed to navigate life on the road while unknowingly battling ulcerative colitis is all the more impressive to Addicks, who sometimes parked next to McCurdy for the week.
“In our little off time, we would talk RVs,” said Riley of the trailer crew. “How is this going for you? Are you still working on fixing that window? How’s the wheel holding up? I know you had a flat a week ago.”
Rob said RVs are often a series of little things going wrong, but worth the effort.
As Addicks pulled out of Arizona after last week’s Epson Tour event in Mesa, Rennell geared up for the start of an LPGA west coast stretch on wheels.
The Rennells pull their trailer with a Dodge Ram 3500 and figure they’ve put close to 100,000 miles on it the past couple years on the Epson Tour. Their longest ride stretched from Indiana to Idaho, with a week to get there and a week off on the back end. Along the way they saw Mount Rushmore and Bighorn National Forest, back when diesel was more affordable.
“It was a hard pull,” said Riley, “but it was amazing.”
The Rennells are a close-knit bunch, which is basically mandatory when living in close proximity. As Rob said, there are no secrets.
Riley had a club in her hand the day she was born. Rob, a PGA teaching professional, was part-owner of a nine-hole lighted golf course and driving range, and he liked to carry Riley around in a backpack while he gave lessons.
Golf wasn’t Riley’s only interest. She became a fourth-degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and an orange belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. She also rode a beloved horse named Summer in local competitions. Along the way, Riley rose through the ranks of junior golf, eventually giving a verbal commitment to the University of Georgia before deciding to forgo college for the professional ranks.
When Riley was 4 years old, the nine-hole course and range were sold and Rob took all that golf equipment to the 40-acre farm the family had purchased. Rob would give lessons in the barn and watch students hit the more than 30,000 range balls they’d inherited into a field. In the summer, they’d hit balls until it was time to now and then have a pick-a-thon.
With the family now on the road living out 24-year-old Riley’s dreams, they don’t use the farm range as much anymore, but Rob still pays a high school kid in the area to keep it bush-hogged.
The family made a pledge this year that they’d take time to enjoy the journey during this LPGA rookie year.
Golf is Riley’s job, but she keeps her mind occupied with plenty of road hobbies. She enjoys painting with watercolors and acrylics and is teaching herself to read and speak Japanese.
There are times in the RV when there’s no TV and the wifi is less than spotty.
One of her favorite places to park last year on the Epson Tour was in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where they paid $20 to sleep 20 yards from the sound of crashing waves.
Everything in Riley’s life right now feels like an adventure.
“I love this game because it’s imperfect,” she said.
“The creativity – it’s very similar, I think, to painting and to life. It’s never going to be the same every day. I think that’s really beautiful and cool.”