Women in Golf Wednesday! – Gwen Checho

gwenName: Gwen Checho

Where you live?

Ormond Beach, FL

Where you work & what you do?

 I am the Education Manager at LPGA Headquarters. I oversee making sure all members starting the program have a great experience and experience success in the certification. I get to talk to a lot of LPGA members and share what we do as an organization with the golf industry.

How long have you been an LPGA member?

10 years

How was the process of becoming a member for you?

I was invited to membership with the LPGA by my boss. It was the best thing I ever did. I loved attending the education programs and meeting other women with similar passions for changing the world one student and swing at a time.  I had just finished my class A when I got offered the job to help run the certification program that changed my career path.

What does it mean to be an LPGA member to you?

It means I am a part of something bigger than what I can do on my own. The LPGA is a group of smart, strong, and powerful women who are determined to make a difference in their own unique way.

What is the best part about the membership for you?

People. It is amazing to see the many walks of life our membership comes from and the dreams they have to change themselves and share golf.

What advice would you give someone just starting the program or thinking about starting?

You will get out of the LPGA what you put in. soak up all the information you can but know it takes time to digest, understand and apply. Our LPGA Founders and the women who built our certification compiled many years of research and experience to create the best teacher certification in the world. It is the way to teach because it is focused on the most important thing – the students we teach/coach.

What do you love most about the game of golf?

I love how it can bring people together. I can play it with my 66-year-old dad or my 6 year old daughter.

LPGA Announces 2018 Pioneers, Pays Tribute to Their Trailblazing Spirit

Amy Alcott, Sandy LaBauve and Susie Maxwell Berning to be honored at Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Amy Alcott, Sandy LaBauve and Susie Maxwell Berning are being honored in March at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup as the LPGA’s ‘Pioneers’ of 2018, a tribute to their trailblazing spirit as well as their exemplary participation in the development and advancement of the LPGA Tour and women’s golf.

Each year, the Founders Cup returns to Phoenix to celebrate the LPGA’s past, present and future. The tournament at Wildfire Golf Club honors the 13 Founders of the LPGA, provides a stage for the best players of today from all over the world to showcase their talents and ‘plays it forward’ to the future of the game by raising money to benefit the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program.

The event also celebrates the ‘pioneering’ women who continued the efforts of the LPGA Founders to maintain the momentum and growth of the tour. With Alcott, LaBauve and Maxwell Berning being honored as Pioneers this week, please see below for some of their amazing accomplishments and contributions to the LPGA.


LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Amy Alcott turned professional in 1975 at the age of 18 and claimed her first major championship title at the 1979 Peter Jackson Classic (later renamed the du Maurier Classic). She went on to win four more majors – the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open and the Nabisco Dinah Shore (in 1983, 1988 and 1991). She celebrated her triumph at the 1988 Dinah Shore with a leap into Poppie’s Pond, establishing a tradition which is now followed by every winner of that championship.

Alcott’s most successful season came in 1980 when she won four times and clinched the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. She ended her LPGA Tour career with 29 victories and started working in golf course design. She was part of the architectural team which designed the golf course for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.


A passionate LPGA Teaching Professional and mother of two daughters, Sandy LaBauve founded LPGA-USGA Girls Golf in Phoenix in 1989. She was first introduced to golf by her parents, Jack and Sherry Lumpkin, who taught her the game by infusing fun drills and games into her golf lessons as a child. LaBauve used these childhood experiences to create the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program.

Beginning with just 10 programs, Girls Golf is now in more than 400 communities in the United States and expanding every day. Thanks to LaBauve’s vision, more than 500,000 girls have been introduced to golf since the program’s inception. LaBauve is a Class A member of the LPGA and the PGA, as well as an AWGA and EWGA member. She was inducted into the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame in 2010 and last year she was included in the LPGA Top 50 Best Teachers list presented by Women’s Golf Journal.


Susie Maxwell Berning turned professional in 1964 and joined the LPGA Tour that same year, a season that ended with her earning Rookie of the Year honors. She won her first LPGA Tour title at the 1965 Muskogee Civitan Open and her maiden major crown at the 1965 Women’s Western Open. In all, she triumphed 11 times on the LPGA Tour, with four of her victories coming at major championships. She was a three-time winner of the U.S. Women’s Open (1968, 1972 and 1973).

Maxwell Berning went on to become a well-respected teaching professional after joining the Nicklaus/Flick Golf School Division in January 1998. She was recognized during the LPGA’s 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the LPGA’s top-50 players and teachers.

Characteristics of LPGA Pioneers:

  1. One who ventures into unknown or unclaimed territory
  2. One who opens up new areas of thought, research, or development
  3. Of, relating to or characteristic of early settlers: the pioneer spirit
  4. Leading the way; trailblazing
  5. To initiate or participate in the development and advancement of the LPGA

Previous Honorees

2017 – Sandra Post, Hollis Stacy

2016 – Sandra Haynie, Shirley Engelhorn, Jan Stephenson

2015 – Donna Caponi, Judy Rankin, Sandra Palmer

2014 – Kathy Whitworth, Renee Powell

2013 – Carol Mann, JoAnne Carner

2012 – Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, Barbara Romack, Peggy Kirk Bell

About the LPGA

The LPGA is the world’s leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla., the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 countries. With a vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women’s golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while the Symetra Tour, the official development and qualifying tour of the LPGA, consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. Additionally, LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management.

The LPGA demonstrates its dedication to the development of the game through The LPGA Foundation. Since 1991, this charitable organization has been committed to empowering and supporting girls and women through developmental and humanitarian golf initiatives, such as LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.

Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via www.LPGA.com. Join the social conversation at www.facebook.com/lpga, www.twitter.com/lpga and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo, and on Instagram at @lpga_tour.

Media Contact
Mark Lamport-Stokes, Director of Public Relations, LPGA
mark.lamport-stokes@lpga.com, +1 386-274-6260

Women in Golf Wednesday!

Charlaine HirstName: Charlaine Hirst

Where do you live?

Pinehurst, NC

Where do you work & what do you do?

Independent Teaching Professional hosted by the Country Club of Whispering Pines since 2009.

How long have you been an LPGA member?

Joined in 2005

How was the process of becoming a member for you?

The process was easy.  A few calls to LPGA HQ and getting paperwork completed to begin the Apprentice stage of the journey.  I was assigned a mentor that was a point of contact throughout my process and that helped with answering the questions I had.  The NEP I instructors were fabulous and such great role models for a new member:  Vicki Phillips, Jane Frost, Kathy Gook, Karen Stellick, Debbie Crews and Deb Vangellow.

What does it mean to be an LPGA member to you?

Being an LPGA member is empowering.  To be surrounded by such an amazing group of strong women and learn from them is such an honor.  It is a strong organization that continues to strive to be better, grow and learn in their goal to empower all of us.

What is the best part about the membership for you?

I really enjoy the tournament opportunities every year.  It is great to be able to stay competitive.  The educational opportunities are always strong and I look forward to the Summit every other year.  Learning and education within the organization is so much fun.

What advice would you give someone just starting the program or thinking about starting?

You will love every minute of the journey.  You will be learning from the best and most unselfish group of women.  If you need anything there is always someone to talk to and point you in the right direction.  The experience is life changing and will be a great way to move forward in the career of golf.


Women in Golf Wednesday!

denise.pngName: Denise Lavigne

Where do you live? 

Boca Raton, Florida

Where do you work & what do you do?

I work in two places, Florida and Canada.

Deerfield Beach, Florida: Deer Creek Golf Club

Montreal, Canada: Golf Club Pinegrove and Club de Golf Le Mirage.

I am a golf teacher and coach that teaches at all levels. I coached the Quebec amateur junior team and was the ladies golf coach for the first “Canada Games” in 2009. I had the opportunity to teach 16 Years in Switzerland where I became the National Ladies Coach in 2010. I have trained a few players to play at the professional level such as Maude-Aimée Leblanc, Raphael de Sousa, and others.

How long have you been an LPGA member?

Since 1982.

How was the process of becoming a member for you? 

Very nice, and I felt I was welcomed.

What does it mean to be an LPGA member to you?

I am proud to be a member of a women’s organization that seems to care about our needs and that opens up doors to different populations. I can see a huge growth of the game through the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals division and I am glad that over the years we got closer to the LPGA touring division.

What is the best part about the membership for you?

It is nice to be recognized as an LPGA Member.  LPGA is a great name and brand to be associated with.

At this stage of my life, I would say social, informative, fun meetings, networking and helping grow the game together in a fun way.

What advice would you give someone just starting the program or thinking about starting?

Do not wait!  Join the LPGA as soon as possible!

I feel that the LPGA is the association that helped me the most in my structure as a teacher and teaching style over the years. They are also good communicators where you feel like you are part of a big family exchanging and learning.

Words of Wisdom:

Let’s keep being proactive and make the game of golf a fun experience!

Women in Golf Wednesday! – Dona Lerner


Name: Dona Lerner

Where do you live?

Cary, NC

Where do you work & what do you do?

Dona Lerner Golf Academy, Director of Instruction

How long have you been an LPGA member?

Since 2000

How was the process of becoming a member for you?

I loved it; the education and the interaction with experts was exactly how I hoped I would be trained and mentored. Kathy Murphy, Dr Debbie Crews and Jane Frost inspired me and I knew from the start I had made the right choice.

What does it mean to be an LPGA member to you?

I am a member of an organization of highly competent, qualified and passionate women who share the same respect for the game of golf as I do. It means everything to me.

What is the best part about the membership for you?

The interpersonal relationships I have been able to develop and the opportunities to learn from so many incredible women.

What advice would you give someone just starting the program or thinking about starting?

Find a mentor…….seek someone to help guide, inspire and support you through the certification process and beyond. Invest in yourself so you are worthy to be invested in.

Words of Wisdom:

I am a proud member of the LPGA T&CP. This is a second career for me, and one I have never regretted choosing. I immersed myself in the process, respect those who came before me, and am grateful to be a part of such an amazing organization. I welcome the newer members who ask my advice or guidance and hope to give back as I was given to.