University of Washington Alumni, Former LPGA Tour Player,
Major League Girls - CEO & Co-founder.
One of my first memories of playing golf took place during the winter when I was seven years-old. It had just snowed, and I was eager to go outside and play a sport that my father, a golf pro, had started teaching me. I lived right on the course, and the driving range was fifty yards away. I looked out the window towards the range and thought to myself, “I don’t care that it’s snowing. I am going to hit balls any way.”
I threw on all my winter gear, walked to the pro-shop, grabbed a bucket of balls, and marched to the driving range. With my winter gloves on, I used my hands to swipe away the snow so I could hit off the frozen grass.
Gripping the club in an almost baseball grip with my winter gloves on, I began swinging away. I would have stayed out there for longer if my father hadn’t told me to come in as the temperatures began to drop. You see, I loved golf so much as a little girl, and the passion to play no matter what carried me through my junior career, all the way through college, and onto the LPGA.
Outside of my father, I didn’t really have anyone to share that passion with though. I was the only girl who practiced at my dad’s course, and when I moved to a new city, I still struggled to find any peers to play with. My middle school didn’t have a girls program because not enough girls were interested in playing, so I joined the boys team.
The only time I would compete against other girls was during summer junior tournaments, and after the trophies were handed out, I was back to playing by myself again. It wasn’t until I transferred to a new high school my sophomore year that was known for both its boys AND girls golf program where I had the chance to play with other girls regularly. For the first time, I had a team to practice with who I could relate to. We would come up with games to play on the course, fun drills on putting green, and we pushed each other because we all wanted to be the number one player on the team. In fact, I was one of four senior girls who went on to play college golf on a scholarship.
Those three years in high school, where I built relationships on the course with other girls who also loved golf, were formative for me in so many ways. While I believe I would have played college golf no matter what, and would have turned professional still, the bonding experience of developing lifelong friendships and being amongst peers who understood the highs and lows that golf often presents was critical in helping me maintain a passion for golf.
Having teammates who I could fall back on when I had a rough day on the course, helped me process the ups and downs that come with the territory of playing golf competitively. I didn’t realize I needed that support group until I had it, and to this day, we all stay in touch and cheer each other on from a distance.
I learned a lot about the importance of supporting others by being around other girls who had similar aspirations, whether it was to play golf collegiately, professionally, or just to be the best they could at the time. I learned that while golf is an individual sport, it’s important to also be selfless and help others succeed. This ranged from looking at a teammate’s alignment and letting her know she was aiming way right, hence why she was pulling it, or listening to a teammate vent after a bad round. With golf, it’s easy to think it’s always about you, but we really develop and grow as players and people when we use golf as a way to build relationships with others.
These lessons from my high school team gave me a foundation for when I played at the University of Washington, and later when I played on the Symetra and LPGA Tour. I made lifelong friends in each of these places, and even though I stepped away from the game competitively five years ago I still cheer on my friends still playing.
Presently, I write about women’s golf for various publications like the BBC, espnW, and the Guardian. And perhaps, what I’m most proud of is my latest venture, Major League Girls, which is a media company that focuses on empowering girls in the sports space.
So when G2 Academy asked me to be a friend of G2, I immediately said yes. You see, they’re building out a space for girls who play golf that I would have benefited greatly from as a junior golfer, and it goes far beyond helping girls become elite golfers: They’re building an environment that will teach girls to become leaders, that will give girls tools to tap into the power they already have in themselves, that will foster friendships that will thrive off the golf course, and that will set girls up for a future outside of golf.
What G2 is doing is incredibly important in helping advance opportunities for girls in golf. Girls needs to be able to compete with other girls in a healthy environment, but they also need to learn how to be friends with those same girls they compete against. And more importantly, they need to learn how to transfer the lessons they learn on the golf course into their everyday lives, like how to be persistent, how to deal with failure, how to handle success, and how to commit to every choice they make on and off the course.
I believe in the mission of G2, which is aiming to help girls own their future. Whether it’s through their golf camps or academy, girls will benefit greatly not just from the golf instruction, but from the life lessons they will learn.
And in return, we’ll create a more equitable space for girls in golf and in life.
To learn more, you can click here, you can fill out my form and the G2 team will send you more information.
Together, let’s #LevelthePlayingField