Where you live:
Where do you work & what do you do?
Mike Bender Golf Academy, Director of Instruction
How long have you been an LPGA member?
How was the process of becoming a member for you?
It was more challenging than I thought it would be, but very well worth it.
What does it mean to be an LPGA member to you?
In the beginning it was motivating to me to be a member because of the playing opportunities. I really enjoyed competing during my first 20 years as a golf professional. I have had the opportunity to play in six LPGA Tour events. I never would have had that opportunity without being a member of the LPGA. I’ve also played in the National Club Pro Championship nearly every year that I’ve been a member. I still like to compete but my reasons for being a LPGA member now are different. I enjoy seeing the other LPGA members throughout the year at various events and interacting with them about their businesses. It’s a team environment and I feel that I’m part of something big rather than just being one teacher. It feels like a sorority.
What is the best part about the membership for you?
I love playing in the LPGA National Club Pro Championship each year, even though I’m not playing at the level that I once did. I also love learning from great women LPGA members. I will never forget attending one of my first LPGA seminars at the PGA Show. Dr. DeDe Owens was the speaker and she instantly became a role model of mine. I loved how she presented and I loved how good she was at teaching golf. She was so smart and sure of herself. I loved that confidence.
What advice would you give someone just starting the program or thinking about starting?
Understand golf equipment and club fitting, understand how the body works and understand how people learn. Find a mentor that knows these things if you don’t and learn from them. I used to go to Florida each winter for 10 years to take lessons from Mike Bender. I also worked for a PGA Master professional, Gene Borek, in the Metropolitan PGA Section. Pia Nilsson, Lynn Marriott and Dr. Rick Jensen have all had a huge impact on my teaching as well. Having all of these great coaches in my life during those early teaching years of mine was critical because I had so many questions. They were always there to guide me. Surround yourself with your personal team that you trust.
What do you love most about the game of golf?
It makes me complete, as corny as that sounds. I love golf because I love to walk, I love nature, I love to compete, I love that I’m pretty good at it, I love the clothes, I love that I met my husband through golf, I love that my daughter plays, I love that most of my family plays, I love that I gave a 100-year-old lady a golf lesson, I love that I get to teach some amazing people, and I love the many friends that I’ve made.
Words of Wisdom:
I’ve had so much fun teaching the LPGA 101 class this month. Every member should do this. It’s all laid out so well for us by the LPGA. The LPGA/USGA Girls Golf program has been wonderful too. Let’s all take advantage of these great programs and keep bringing more girls and women to the game.