By Linnet Carty
PGA of America
My first invitation to the game of golf was many years ago, and I remember it well. Three of my graduate school professors invited me to play with them, and I had a stroke of beginners luck. I played so well, they didn’t believe that it was my first time. Unfortunately, the next time I went out with them, I proved that I was a newbie and didn’t go back for a long time. However that never dulled my excitement for the game.
I had the opportunity to share this story as a panelist at the Southern California Women’s Golf Summit sponsored by PGA Magazine. ‘Empower, Engage & Educate’ was the panel topic, and I was joined by Azucena Maldonado, the Founder of Latina Golfers Association; Cynthia Cohen, from the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles; and Tina Mickelson, spokesperson for Women’s Golf for Callaway.
PGA Vice President Suzy Whaley, PGA/LPGA shared her first experience of rushing from the pool, still in her swimsuit, to play and how her mother bought her first golf outfit, and she never looked back.
Azucena told a riveting story of going on a date with an avid golfer and how it literally became a part of their courtship. It was there that she developed a relationship, not with him, but with her love for the game. She went on to add that there wasn’t anyone on the course that looked like her and that planted the seed for the growth of what is now the Latina Golfers Association.
Susan Bond, PGA was instrumental in planning this enlightening day that was moderated by Nikki Gatch, PGA. These compelling stories captivated the audience of PGA Professionals, LPGA Professionals, business leaders, industry professionals, merchandisers, country club members and golf lovers in general. They listened intently as we discussed other topics including 'Breaking the Grass Ceiling,' 'Making Golf More Welcoming for Women' and 'Giving Back to the Community.'
The power of the invitation was embedded in each person’s story as they shared their first experience in golf. As you think of your own fascinating first time on the golf course and who invited you, think about the power of the invitation. Think about the juncture of how we can grow the game of golf and who you will invite the next time you go out to play. Will it be a woman? Will it be a young person? Will it be a person with a disability? Will it be a member of the LGBT community, or maybe an English language learner, a veteran, or a senior citizen? Whose life will you change with the power of an invitation? It may be your own.
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