As Jessica Korda nears her thirtieth birthday, she has realized that no one has it all figured out. No one, she stresses. Not even her parents. “I thought my parents had it figured out when they were in their thirties,” she says. “But no—everyone is faking it.”
As a self-described high-strung person, Korda says this newfound wisdom has her excited about the onset of a fresh new decade in her life. The eighteenth-ranked female golfer in the world (at press time), Korda has logged 50 top-10 finishes and six victories in her 12-year career in the LPGA. She was at the top of her game—until a lower back injury forced her to bow out of the final two events of the 2022 season in November. A setback? Yes. But Korda knows that for every one of those, there’s also a comeback—which is exactly what she has her sights set on for 2023.
Leading up to this year’s tournament season, she was home in Jupiter healing and slowly working her way back to the links. “Coming from a family of athletes, I know this is part of it,” she says. “Plus, I know how to come back from situations like this and don’t freak out as much as I used to.”
Born in Bradenton to former professional tennis players Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova, Korda is the oldest of three kids. Growing up, she was hyperactive, she says, and didn’t take to her parents’ chosen sport. Gymnastics and figure skating were perfect outlets for her energy, but the taller she got (she stands 5-foot-11 today), the harder those sports became for her.
She fell in love with the game of golf after her first lesson. When she was 10, her parents enrolled her in the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, and her younger sister, Nelly, picked up the sport too. The sisters’ five-year age difference initially kept them from competing in the same division, but now both pros, they do occasionally play against each other.
“Nelly is an unbelievable golfer,” Korda boasts of her younger sis, who still lives in Bradenton and at press time was ranked number one in the world. “She will be the future of the sport for at least the next 10 years.”
Korda competed in her first U.S. Women’s Open when she was 15. And although she finished nineteenth in the tournament, she says it was such a good experience that she has competed in every single U.S. Women’s Open since. Playing pro at such a young age was not an easy life for a teenager, to be sure. For one, dating was nearly impossible while playing on the tour. In July 2011, Korda says she asked her manager, Chris Mullhaupt (whom she had met years earlier at the golf academy), to introduce her to one of his friends. Mullhaupt gave her the number of Johnny DelPrete, a Jupiter native and a collegiate golfer who had played for the University of Mississippi. Korda recalls telling Mullhaupt that DelPrete should be texting her, and not the other way around.
So DelPrete texted, and over the next three months, he and Korda got to know each other through calls and texts. Their tournament schedules prevented them from meeting in person, but DelPrete says the chats and messages provided a solid foundation for their blossoming relationship. “Jessica is the most caring individual I have ever met,” he gushes. “She is the best person I know. For how I am and what I want to be and do, she is exactly what I was looking for.” For her part, Korda says the relationship helps temper her nervous tendencies. “He’s the balance in my life,” she says. “He is so easygoing and brings me down to earth.”
After years of seeing each other here and there whenever they could, Korda moved to Jupiter to be closer to DelPrete in 2018. At that point, DelPrete had begun a career in local real estate. Later that year, during a vacation in the Czech Republic (where the Korda family is from), DelPrete proposed to Korda in front of her extended family.
“It was so much fun,” Korda recalls. “My cousin and grandparents were there, and we don’t get to share a lot of special moments like this with them. Plus, it was my favorite time of year in one of my favorite places in the world. It was so special.”
They married at the Pelican Club in December 2021 and settled into their new home in Jupiter, which they had closed on and moved into just a week before their wedding. The home—which the couple updated to reflect their personal taste with the help of interior designer Nicole Hurd of Hurd Homes—is “like the one I grew up in,” says Korda, with great spaces for entertaining, a large yard for their goldendoodle, Charlie, and plenty of room for the couple to start a family.
A homebody by nature, Korda says she has been enjoying her break from professional golf. She has kept busy nesting and making the residence as cozy as possible, hosting doggie playdates, and hanging out with non-golfer friends.
Of course, she has also been training—after all, she is planning a comeback this year. She usually trains at The Bear’s Club but says she also loves the intimacy and design of Turtle Creek and is a member at the Medalist. DelPrete doesn’t hit the links as often as he used to, but occasionally he gets out there with his wife for a little friendly competition. “It’s your typical couple smack-talking each other,” he says of their games. “I used to be more serious about it, but now I’m more playful with her—even though the competitiveness is still there.”
As for Korda’s birthday later this month, DelPrete has something in the works to usher in his wife’s thirties—but he’s not giving away any secrets. “I’m not sure yet, but it will definitely be a big celebration,” he says.
Whatever the celebration may be, hopefully it is the first of many in a year that, for Korda, is packed with promise.
Some of her favorite places and ways to unwind
Coffee spot: Perk Coffee House in Tequesta. “I just love their coffee and the vibe.”
Happy hour: 1000 North
Dining: 1000 North, Blackbird, and Echo
Hanging with Charlie: The dog beach
Favorite hole at a local course: “I don’t have a favorite hole, to be honest. In general, it’s usually just any eighteenth hole because then I know I’m done.”
Good reads: “I’ve definitely gotten on the Colleen Hoover train.” In addition to being a fan of the author, she cites Educated by Tara Westover, American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins, and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides as some of her favorite books. “It took me for a ride,” she says of the latter.