Game Changers

Four Woman PGA Members Who Are Golf Needle Movers

By Brendon Elliott, PGA
Published on

PGA Members are a passionate group. For those that choose to make a career in the industry, it is a prerequisite to have a deep passion for the game and a desire to leave it in a place better than they found it.
That is the lifeblood of the PGA Professional.
As we celebrate women in golf this month, I'd like to briefly showcase some of the most influential woman PGA Members. They each embody what it means to be a PGA Professional, and a steward of golf.
Countless women are doing amazing work as PGA/LPGA Members, and these four are just a few of many leaving a mark on the game:
Suzy Whaley, PGA/LPGA
  • President, Golf Nation; PGA/LPGA Director of Instruction at the Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; ESPN and PGA TOUR Live Commentator
  • PGA Member since 2001, and LPGA Member. PGA Master Professional since 2018.
  • Winner of more than 20 prestigious industry awards including the 2023 Walter Hagen Award, Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Connecticut Golf Hall of Fame inductee, Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher, GOLF magazine Top 100 Teacher, US Kids Masters Kids Teacher and LPGA Top 50 Teacher.
  • First woman to serve as PGA of America President (2018-20).
  • First woman to qualify for a PGA TOUR event since Babe Zaharias in 1945, when she played in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open.
  • A member of numerous PGA and LPGA committees and boards, as well as someone who has shared her experience with her peers at countless industry conferences and educational events.
Early influences for Suzy
“My mom and Joe Tesori, PGA we're my biggest influences.”
Most impactful moment in your career?
“Having our daughters join us for their first nine holes together, carrying their clubs, laughing, hitting good and bad shots right alongside us. There could be no better player development moment than sharing a game you love with those you love.”

Renee Powell, PGA/LPGA
  • One of the most influential figures in golf. Was the first Black woman to become a PGA Member and was the second Black woman to ever compete on the LPGA.
  • PGA/LPGA Head Professional at Clearview Golf Club in East Canton, Ohio, a PGA Member since 1996, and LPGA Member.
  • Winner of countless prestigious industry awards and honors including induction into the PGA of America Hall of Fame in 2017, the First Lady of Golf Award from the PGA in 2003, and the inaugural recipient of the World Golf Hall of Fame’s Charlie Sifford Award in 2022.
  • Powell and her family were awarded the Jack Nicklaus Golf Family Award from the National Golf Foundation in 1992.
  • Member of the National Afro-American Golfers Hall of Fame (1986), National Black Golf Hall of Fame (2006) and African American Golfers Hall of Fame (2007).
  • Powell earned an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of St Andrews in 2008.
  • In 2019, Powell was elected to become the first at-large member of the PGA of America Board of Directors.
  • Continues to carry on the legacy of her father, Bill, at Clearview. Bill Powell was the first Black PGA Member to build, own and operate a golf course in the United States.
Early influences for Renee
“As a youngster, my parents fought to get me into tournaments when I was not welcomed because of the color of my skin, which instilled in me how important it is to get young people into the game to help build their self-confidence.”
Most impactful moment in your career?
“I was honored to be the first recipient of the Charlie Sifford Award and be recognized for breaking down barriers that never should have been put in front of him and all others of color who strived to play this game. I was taught early on by my parents that golf should be a sport for everyone, and we can all diversify this game in so many ways.”

Trillium Rose, PGA/LPGA
  • PGA/LPGA Director of Instruction at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland
  • PGA Member since 2009, and also an LPGA Member.
  • Winner of nearly 30 prestigious industry awards including, Middle Atlantic PGA Teacher & Coach of the Year in 2017, a Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher since 2019, GOLF magazine Top 100 Teacher in America, US Kids Masters Kids Teacher, and LPGA Top 50 Teacher in America since 2017.
  • Received her M.A. in Motor Learning and Control from Columbia University’s Teachers’ College.
  • Member of multiple PGA and LPGA national committees, PGA Adjunct Faculty Member and National Links Trust Ambassador.
How Trillium got into the golf industry
“I got into the golf industry by accident. I didn't realize I was going to be a PGA Professional when I was in college. I loved golf. I played golf early on. I learned it when I was a little girl.
But it wasn't until after college when I was working in New York City that I really got into the sport. I was working as a producer for Saturday Night Live, and if I didn't get into golf, I probably would still be in the film and media industry as a producer. I loved producing, but I went home and played golf for several reasons.
My dad just had a stroke, so I wanted to stay home. The local golf pro asked one day, “Hey, why don't you be my assistant? My previous one just left.”
I thought, “Assistant in what?”
So anyway, that's how it started. And he gave me encouragement to go coach the women at our club. I didn't know how to teach at all, but I did it.
And then I realized this is a very cool opportunity because I didn't have a great golf coach growing up. I just had my dad. But what a neat way to connect with people. So, I started that early by kind of bootstrapping my way through the business.
Then I got involved with the PGA, got my membership and it became clear to me that I wanted to teach. So, I worked for Jim McLean, started as an assistant and really learned the craft of teaching and analysis of a golf swing.”

Nicole Weller, PGA/LPGA
  • PGA/LPGA Owner and Director of Instruction of Nicole Weller Golf at Compass Pointe Golf Club in Leland, North Carolina.
  • PGA Member since 1999 and LPGA Member.
  • Winner of nearly 30 prestigious industry awards including the 2013 national PGA Youth Player Development Award, Golf Digest Best in State (Ga., N.C.,), U.S. Kids Golf Masters Kids Teacher, and three-time LPGA Top 50 Teacher.
  • In 2013, she won both the national PGA and LPGA Youth Player Development Award at the same time.
  • Has served several years on PGA and LPGA committees, and shared her experiences with her peers at countless industry conferences and educational events, like the PGA Youth & Family Golf Summit and LPGA National Teaching Summit.
Early influences for Nicole
“My Dad introduced me to golf at age four while he started learning the game himself after we moved into our new home by the 10th fairway of a wonderful executive golf course. Bob Day, PGA was my coach from age 9-19 at Foxborough Country Club near Boston.”
Most impactful moment in your career?
“When I took over an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf program in Knoxville and expanded it from 25 girls to nearly 80. A local woman golfer left us a $10,000 gift in her will after seeing what we were doing. My volunteer group was like family — we had monthly dinners after each event, and it was amazing seeing the community pulled together with resources to support this with their various talents. Getting to see girls advance levels and one day get scholarships to college, and now sending holiday cards with their own kids on them, is amazing.”