Ash Barty may have dropped her biggest hint yet about a switch to professional golf after a telling development centring around a prestigious Victorian course.
Barty took to the fairways of Melbourne's Peninsula Kingswood Country Club recently, in preparation for the Icons Series golf event in New Jersey that she's playing in June.
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The three-time grand slam winner - who shocked the world when she retired from tennis at the age of 25 earlier in the year - will be one of the headline acts in the Icons Series, which will be played in the US for the first time.
Barty has been fine-tuning her game in preparation for the event, and was so impressed with a recent round at the Peninsula Kingswood Country Club that she reportedly enquired about joining the club ranked the fifth best in the country by Golf Australia.
Pictured on a Twitter post from the club, Barty can be seen staring down a shot played from the fairway alongside a caption reading: "Little warm up for @IconsSeries in June for @ashbarty".
— Peninsula Kingswood (@pkcgc) April 23, 2022
"She enjoyed it so much she wants to join," the club's general manager Anthony White told the Herald Sun.
The revelation adds credence to the idea Barty could be eyeing up a switch to professional golf - the most popular theory in the wake of her retirement from tennis.
Barty has been coy on her post-retirement plans after quitting tennis, although they are sure to involve golf in some way as she lives on a golf course with her fiance Garry Kissick, who is a PGA trainee professional.
The Australian Open champion won the ladies competition at her home club Brookwater (near Ipswich) in March, playing off a handicap of five.
Her involvement in the Icons Series has only intensified the speculation surrounding the 26-year-old's future.
Barty joins a long list of sporting identities to play in the golf event that the late Shane Warne once competed in.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya and retired swimming champion Michael Phelps will all line up for the 2022 event.
The June 30-July 1 tournament is a nine-hole team match-play format at Liberty National, with Barty reportedly looking to bring the event to Australia next year.
Aussie champ rates Barty's golfing ability
Seven-time major winner Karrie Webb played a round with Barty at the Victoria Golf Club in 2019 and told AAP that the tennis champion had the talent to make it on the LPGA tour.
"She's a really handy player and just that one day I could tell if she puts some time into it she will be a great player," Webb told AAP.
"It was everything - she hit the ball a long way - but a lot of athletes are very hand-eye co-ordinated and they get out there and they're fairly decent at hitting the ball.
"When it comes to the finesse shots, sometimes that's where they struggle, but she's got good hands from how she plays tennis.
"You could tell she had good hands and she'd developed a good short game and that just needs sharpening."
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