Hall of Fame speaker Joel Weldon is my speech coach. He says we have not one, not two, not even three mentors but 10,000. It is his belief that mentor/protégé relationships aren’t all formal. We learn from everyone.
We learn — are mentored — watching others do things. Perhaps we notice something a good golfer does in her swing. Or the way someone deftly uses humor to advance a conversation. If you have small children, maybe you’ve seen another parent reprimand a child in manner that caused you to think I would NEVER do that! Mentors. Every one.
I expanded my cadre of mentors when I attended the 2016 LPGA Rolex Awards banquet at the PGA Merchandise Show in January. In fact, I’m sure every person in attendance gained new mentors. The speakers were authentic, inspiring and memorable.
Sara Doell, Seton Hall Women’s Head Golf Coach, was named the LPGA T&CP National Coach of the Year. One of the things she said that received lots of knowing nods from the crowd was, “How you react to your ball in a divot is revealing.” It happens to everyone, not often, but when it does it tests your composure and attitude even more than it challenges your skill swinging a club. Does it frustrate you, or do you take it in stride and make the best of an unfortunate circumstance?
Alison Curdt, 2015 LPGA National Teacher of the Year, used the motivational metaphor of an equilateral triangle to explain how you might picture your life, your drive, your contributions to society. “Take a look at your triangle, with its base on the bottom and the tip at the very top,” she said. “Inside the triangle, the bottom and middle are full. Yet there’s room at the top.” We all know we have room in our lives to do more, be more, reach higher and go farther. That was her point — strive to be in the top of the triangle. She gave credit for the metaphor to Dana Radar, who also received an award.
Dana received the 2015 Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, which the LPGA established in 1989 to honor Ellen Griffin, who is considered by many to be the best-known woman golf teacher in American history. Ellen taught near Greensboro, NC at a teaching facility called “The Farm,” which really was a farm. One evening when Dana was there back in the 1980s, Ellen called her to come quickly to the barn. A cow was giving birth. Dana was 20 and couldn’t imagine anything more gross than watching the birth of a calf. But Ellen insisted. “It is important to see something being born. You must move forward from where you are.” (Upward in your triangle?) Dana also told the audience that it is important to have “the gift of gab.” Today we call it “networking.”
LPGA great and member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Nancy Lopez, told the story of going to the Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open with her father at her side. She was 15 and excited to see some of the players up close. Her father had been saving money so he could take Nancy to the tournament.
She was anxious to see one player in particular and imagined even being so lucky as to meet him. They positioned themselves perfectly to see the players as they came out. Suddenly there he was! She could hardly believe it. But just as he neared where they stood, a gentleman in front of Nancy asked the player for an autograph. “I don’t have time for this!” the player snapped.
To this day Nancy gives thanks to that player because, she says, he made her a better person. She vowed never to to be like him. That’s why, when you meet Nancy, you can count on a pleasant greeting, a smile, an autograph, even a joke.
Annika Sorenstam spoke earlier in the morning at the We Are the Women in Golf LPGA breakfast. She talked about the LPGA Leadership Academy, which provides programming for girls age 15 to 18, and is sponsored by the AKSA Foundation, believed to be the largest insurance company committed to women.
Fighting back tears Annika said, “I want to be a part of the LPGA Leadership Academy for my little girl. I want her to know that she can do it, do it big and do it hard.” She left the stage in tears, displaying a sensitivity that many have never seen.
After the weeklong conference, like many others, I left with countless new mentors. Joel Weldon is right. Mentors are everywhere.
Learn something new every day and turn golf into gold®!
Sporting my “perfect” polo out and about with Cori Matheson, LPGA USGA Girls Golf
As summer nears, my husband and I are planning our golf trips and are ready to start packing!
Two years ago, we enjoyed an amazing trip southwest Ireland. “Enjoyed” is quite the understatement—we’ve encouraged three more couples to join us for a repeat performance this June. As part of our preplanning, we gathered over lunch last weekend to review flight arrangements, golf courses, betting games, tourist attractions, songs to know, adult beverage preferences (Guinness vs Jamison) and, of course, wardrobe.
I turned to my girlfriend sitting next to me and said, “I have the perfect top to bring this time!” My “perfect” shirt is the new stretch stripe polo from Carnoustie. Right from the package it was comfortable—great lines and not boxy, which we women experience with some clothing lines that specialize in menswear. Yet after washing the shirt, wow!—even softer and more comfortable. It sports a unique three-quarter length sleeve and breathes well. It’s lightweight and, with a bit of spandex, doesn’t wrinkle.
I admit to being the practical packer. Clothing better not wrinkle—early morning tee times don’t accommodate pulling out the iron and ironing board in the hotel room. And, clothes should dry overnight after a quick wash so that I can wear them again.
Because we’re heading to Ireland, there’s a high probability of a raindrop or two. Living in the Arizona desert, I’m quite accustomed to layering—chilly mornings, warm days and the occasional cooler evenings. Layering with the intent to play golf in the rain is different. It adds the importance of not feeling constricted. My “perfect” Carnoustie polo is designed for performance so there’s no constricted movement under an outer rain shell. Like I said, perfect for Ireland, perfect for anywhere.
Make your summer plans, check out Carnoustie and start packing!
Debbie Waitkus &
Lyn St. James
It always is interesting to hear successful women talk about their career paths and “how it all began.” At last year’s YWCA Women’s Empowerment Event in Phoenix, AZ, a panel of five, fabulous women shared their stories and discussed how participating in sports was instrumental in their personal and professional growth and development. As you read about these women, think about a dramatic connection between success and involvement in sports that was recently uncovered:
Ernst & Young research shows that among senior businesswomen in the C-suite today, 94 percent played sports and over half played at a university level.
Lyn St. James — 7-time Indy 500 Driver
"I like to drive fast. My mother said, ‘Lyn, the gas pedal can get you out of more trouble than the brake.’” Although she wasn’t considered a great athlete at most of the traditional sports, she was exposed to them at school in Grade 7 and became a great athlete by using her brain. She acknowledges that without sports she wouldn’t have the enviable life she’s been living. The 1992 Rookie of the Year (in her 40s!) and survivor of many crashes, including fireballs, Lyn says that when you find your passion, you don’t see the obstacles others see. “It’s all about where you focus.”
Ann Meyers-Drysdale —VP Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury
Ann grew up with 5 brothers and 5 sisters. Her parents wanted them out of the house (imagine that!), so they went outside and played sports. Hers was a sports oriented family. Dad played ball at Marquette, and both parents believed their daughters and sons could and should be participants. Ann says older sister Patty was her role model. “Sports opened doors for me, always,” Ann says. Her family is her biggest accomplishments, she believes. Ann and husband Don have three children; son DJ works for the AZ Diamondbacks.
“The biggest obstacle is insecurity,” she says. Echoing Marilynn Smith (LPGA Co-Founder), Ann observed that there always will be people out there trying to discourage you, suggesting that you should be at home, making babies.
Misty Hyman — Olympic Gold Medalist, 2000 Sydney Olympics (200m butterfly)
Diagnosed with asthma as a young child, Misty had a doctor who told her parents swimming would be good for her. Into the pool she went, at Roadrunner Park in Phoenix, AZ. Her first race gave no hint of the greatness to come. She dove in, swam a few strokes, then headed straight for the side of the pool and got out. After that, her first goal became simply to finish a race. Next goal?—not to finish last. She learned that by setting goals, things become possibilities.
“When I missed making the Olympic team by 3 one-hundredths of a second, I was heartbroken at first. It meant another four years before I could try again.” But she got in touch with why she really loved to swim and be in the pool (and today mentions the smell of chlorine and coffee together!). Her times became record times and she moved forward by overcoming adversity. “The angst and pressure melted away, and the love of swimming shined through.”
Linda Vollstedt — ASU Women’s Golf Coach 1980 - 2001
Linda believes her introduction to golf was destiny. When she was 10 her parents joined a country club in Portland, OR. It was family oriented, and she started playing. Growing up with boys, she loved to compete, but couldn’t compete in football and baseball. Golf was acceptable. She played in tournaments and enjoyed the competition and camaraderie. After earning a degree in Math Education from ASU, Linda went to work as a high school teacher. One day the school needed a golf coach. She said yes. “Destiny,” she says.
More “destiny” was to follow. The golf coach position opened up at ASU. She took it and left a job at the top of her pay grade ($30K, at the time) for a “part time” coaching job that paid $9K. The pay was not fair for a woman, clearly, but Linda made it work. She cashed in her 401K, sold property and did what she could to get by. A small voice kept telling her, “If you do this, you will be rewarded.” She truly believes she has been. During the Q & A portion of the program, Linda was asked about the wisdom of giving kids ribbons for merely showing up. She surprised a few people when she said she believes it’s okay, because kids should be encouraged. She reflected on Misty’s goals of finishing a race and not being last. “I think it’s good to give them something to build upon.”
Nona Lee — SVP & General Counsel, AZ Diamondbacks
Nona was an athlete growing up, playing in the streets with boys. She was a good athlete, but acknowledges she “wasn’t an elite athlete.” After college she worked as a litigator for a law firm, and wanted to start a sports law practice at the firm. She was told no. However, when the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) arrived on the scene, she was able to marry her passion for sports with her law background. One of her favorite memories is working at America West Arena and having a key to the Arena (before card keys were invented).
All of these women had to overcome challenges. Nona was a black, woman lawyer in a male-dominated industry. Today she is happily “where I’m supposed to be.”
You don’t have to be an elite athlete to derive the benefits of participating in sports. But you can challenge yourself, and by challenging yourself, improve yourself — mentally, emotionally and physically. Not everyone can win a gold medal, but anyone can turn golf into gold. Say ‘Yes!’ to sports!
The other day, while working on details for Arizona Cardinals All-Pro Defensive Lineman Calais Campbell’s 4th Annual Celebrity Golf Tournament, I was reminded yet again that golf is so much more than just a game.
Campbell’s golf tournament supports his CRC Foundation, which is committed to the enhancement of our community through teaching critical life skills to young people, empowering them to become self-aware leaders for the future.
The tournament brings together hundreds of people — golfers, organizers, supporters and sponsors, volunteers and vendors. A great deal of planning takes place in advance of the event, this year to be held at Wild Horse Pass & Whirlwind Golf Club. On Thursday, May 19 there will be a VIP pairings party hosted by Campbell and attended by a who’s who of sports, entertainment, the Phoenix business community and local philanthropists. The tournament will be played the following day, rain or shine.
Even those who don’t play golf can support The CRC Foundation by purchasing a ball for the helicopter ball drop for just $20.
All these people, joining forces to support a charitable foundation…and many of them don’t even play golf. Yet, golf gives them the opportunity to participate in a worthwhile activity, to contribute their time and talent, to be involved in their community. It also opens the door to meeting new people, creating new friendships and perhaps discovering new business hook-ups.
I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but the importance of golf as a vehicle for bringing people together, enhancing life and promoting personal growth is something I never tire of promoting.
Golf. It’s a game and so much more — and anyone can get involved. How can you turn golf into gold?
For information about Calais Campbell’s CRC Foundation and the celebrity golf tournament, visit: www.thecrcfoundation.org.
Enjoy this video from EA Sports about Calais and how he channels his passion through The CRC Foundation and makes a difference in the community. https://vimeo.com/158266816