Why Golf? Breaking Glass Ceilings While Breaking Par
Written by: A passionate group of women from KemperSports and KemperLesnik
September 1, 2020
At KemperSports, we know that it takes a daily effort to introduce more women to the joys of the game and provide a welcoming environment that facilitates participation from all women – from young girls to those picking up the game as adults to the very best professional players. We are focused on this mission every day.
According to the National Golf Foundation (NGF)*, there were about 5.6 million female on-course golfers last year, representing 23% of on-course golfers. As a company, we will continue to work hard to grow this number, providing an outlet for everyone to play the game at our world-class facilities.
Today, on Women’s Golf Day, we hear from some of our most passionate players and female leaders to reflect on the joys and benefits that brought them to the game and why they continue to play today.
Why we play…
By: Ani Carrey, Regional Sales & Marketing Director, KemperSports
Few other sports can immerse you in nature like golf. The game takes us from the mountains to the ocean – even to the most remote locations in the world – to showcase the natural beauty of the outdoors.
Golf has allowed me to travel to places I probably would have never seen if it wasn’t for a junior or collegiate event or work assignment. Now, I travel and play because of my role working with KemperSports’ international portfolio, which includes amazing resorts and destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. I also happened to marry a golfer. We love to plan our personal trips around famous golf courses and destinations so we can scratch them off our bucket list. We are fortunate to share the same passion for golf and enjoy spending our time together on the course. Golf has opened so many doors for me personally and professionally, and has allowed me to meet people from all over the world.
By: Elizabeth Epstein, Account Supervisor, KemperLesnik
Over the past few months, while social distancing has been strongly encouraged, I’ve taken up golf as a form of entertainment and competition. As a former DI tennis player, golf has always been a sport that I’ve wanted to get into. But, I was either too intimidated or couldn’t find the time. This summer, I took a major step and purchased clubs. To date, I’ve played 15 courses this summer, including many KemperSports-managed properties in Chicago like Harborside and The Glen Club. And, I now understand why people say golf is an obsession!
Golf has provided a way for me to socialize with my friends, many of whom have also taken up golf this summer. And, it’s also a great way to meet new people on the course. From the 9-hole golf courses to the more advanced 18-hole rounds, golf has provided a new challenge for me. In fact, I even joined the Chicago District Golf Association to keep track of my handicap. It’s not pretty, but I’m continuing to track my scores with the hopes of one day being able to compete in tournaments.
For other women who are thinking about it picking up the game, I would strongly encourage it. It serves as a great weekend activity, and you can make it as competitive or non-competitive as you’d like. The great thing about golf is that you can play with people of all levels, which is different from so many other sports!
By: Kelsey Schroeder, Senior Account Executive, KemperLesnik
I live in downtown Chicago and have been spending more time in my apartment this year than ever before. Getting outside to play 9-holes or spend time at TopGolf has been a welcome escape from the day-to-day and has allowed me to refine my very rusty skills. I also appreciate that it’s something that I can do on my own after a stressful day, or something my boyfriend and I experience together when we need to mix-up date night.
By: Christie Paich, General Manager, The Glen Club (Glenview, IL)
Mark Twain was quoted as saying “golf is a good walk spoiled.” In my opinion, golf is just a very good walk. When I was growing up in the 80s playing competitive golf, the sport was not associated with athletic performance and its players were not seen as true athletes. Fortunately, golf, fitness and exercise collided in the 90s when players like Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam were on the top of their respective tours. Their long ball hitting skills that came from fitness and healthy eating lifestyles (and a lot of practice) shifted the perception of TOUR players and changed the way the game was played. To me, golf and exercise have always gone hand in hand.
Golf is a challenge unlike any other. I played nearly every sport I had time to play growing up, but ultimately golf won me over. The sport itself was great, but it was the walk, the exercise and the scenery that got me hooked! Golf is just good for the body and soul and it is a complete experience. What an amazing sport that players continue to enjoy well into their senior years. On a significant birthday this summer (50, gulp!), I was fortunate to play golf with my parents, my husband and children. I teared up on the first green, overwhelmed that three generations (ages 89, 50 and 11) were joined by one sport. I mentally placed a check on my personal bucket list. If ever I questioned which sport is the greatest, my skepticism stopped at that moment. Joining generations, enjoying the challenge of the sport, staying active and really just enjoying the good walk is what I love about this game.
Networking & Friendship
By: Megan Godfrey, Director of Marketing, KemperSports
Traveling the country to play golf (first for competition, now for business and fun) has afforded me countless networking opportunities that have led to personal and professional connections that I continue to lean on today. It is a great equalizer for men and women and forces conversations in an uninterrupted setting that can last from two to five hours. Do you know how much you can learn about a person in five hours?! You better be armed with questions because it is a chance to pitch ideas, meet friends, seal a deal or create job opportunities. In fact, the path to my current role started on a golf course ten years ago.
By: Heather Margulis, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, KemperSports
When I joined KemperSports, I was very much a beginner. I’ve since used the game as an opportunity to get to know our staff and our leadership team in a social environment. It has introduced me to a variety of staffers throughout the country and helped me better understand the challenges that our teams face to bring new golfers to the sport every day. I am learning more each year and am a loyal participant in our player development programs, which teaches fundamentals of the game in a welcoming and social way. Golf has a way of testing our patience, but it is the people and relationships that I have formed through this sport that bring me the most joy.
Work and Life
By: Mary Kate Rohn, Regional Sales & Marketing Director, KemperSports
College golf set me up for many career opportunities. I was fortunate to tour several colleges and meet with a variety of coaches, which allowed me to not only make an informed decision about my education, but also about the type of golf team I wanted to join. Playing and understanding the game of golf gave me opportunities to start my career in the golf industry at a young age, teaching junior lessons at my local 9-hole course.
Being a former collegiate athlete is an asset in the workplace. I met so many different people while playing four years of college golf, some of whom I am still very close with to this day. Being a woman who can play golf, and play well, opens doors and opportunities in the business world. I appreciate all the offers that I receive from the top executives in our company to play a round of golf and, in turn, they have gotten to know me, my work ethic and my drive to succeed in the golf business. I truly don’t think I would be where I am in my career with KemperSports if it weren’t for my golf-related experiences on and off the course. I encourage all women interested in the game to give it a try and see where it can take you!
By: Amy Littleton, Executive Vice President, Managing Director, KemperLesnik
My Dad taught me to play the game. Not only did we get to spend quality time together, but he made me feel comfortable on the golf course. Fast forward to career, and I’ve had the great pleasure to play golf with many clients and colleagues over the years. Golf has enabled incredible relationships to be built and good times to be had.
Today, my husband and I are teaching our kids to play the game. There’s no better foursome in the world than this one.
By: Hollie Storrier, General Manager, Broadmoor Golf Links (Fletcher, NC)
As a female professional in the golf industry, I can bring a different view from my male colleagues. I am able to bring my experience as a wife and mother to my course to help make our experience more inviting to women and children. My family loves to come visit me at work to engage with the golfers and employees. More importantly, we are able to spend quality time together hitting the links and attending the various events that we hold at Broadmoor.
It is so important that we continue to grow the game and to do that, we need everyone to be involved.
By: Julie Crow, Director of Marketing, Paradise Valley & Rancho Solano Golf Courses (Fairfield, CA)
Even though golf is mostly an individual sport, there’s a wonderful social aspect to it that I enjoy. A lot of clubs offer play days, clinics and group events for ladies to get together. There are also various ladies organizations that foster camaraderie to build lifelong friendships. Golf is also a great way to give back to the community through the thousands of charity events hosted every year.
While working for a large, well known corporation, learning to play golf was recommended to me by my peers at work. I would never have thought that I would fall in love with the game as I did. So much so that it led me to a new career path where I just recently celebrated my 17th year of working in the golf industry for KemperSports.
About Women’s Golf Day:
Women’s Golf Day is an event for females of all ages and skill levels to participate in golf and help grow the game. KemperSports properties around the country are participating through events, clinics, programs, specials and social media engagement. As a company, we support, engage and empower all women and girls through the game of golf.
Why do you play golf? Share your stories with us on social media @KemperSports and use the hashtags #WomensGolfDay #WGDunites and #ThisIsKemperSports
*Research courtesy of https://www.ngf.org/golf-industry-research/
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