Category - Major Events
Sights and Sounds: Beyond the Green at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship
By Hayden Lewis, PGA
The game of golf has the innate ability to connect people from all backgrounds and abilities. Contrary to what one may think, these newfound connections run far deeper than simply playing a game. On Monday inside Baltusrol Golf Club’s historic clubhouse, site of the 2023 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, PGA WORKS held its Beyond The Green Career Exploration event – becoming a new spark of inspiration and connections for fifty young girls ages 13-19 from the surrounding New Jersey and New York metropolitan area.
PGA WORKS Beyond is a career-exploration event held in conjunction with PGA of America Championships. It is designed to educate and inspire talent from historically underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in the business of golf and beyond. The experience on Monday was lively and engaging for the girls. The sessions were built around the idea for them to feel empowered and shine a light on how making connections on the green can build future success beyond the green – all through the game of golf.
Below are some sights and sounds from an inspirational and exciting day at Baltusrol Golf Club:
Students from the First Tee Metropolitan NY, First Tee of Greater Trenton, First Tee of Jersey Shore, First Tee of Raritan Valley and Girls Golf Newark were greeted with some gifts upon their arrival at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Students take it all in – one selfie, one video at a time. The awe-inspiring grounds provided the perfect backdrop to kickstart a day full of new opportunities.
Style is of the utmost importance at PGA WORKS Beyond The Green. Throughout the day, the girls in attendance were encouraged by panelists and leaders alike to find and use their own voice – sometimes this can come in the form of fashion.
The first panel of speakers, “Get on Par”, included an engaging and diversified list of names including Leila Mackie, PGA (PGA of America Career Services and Recruiting Specialist), Langston Frazier, PGA (Assistant Golf Professional at Belle Haven Country Club) Rachel Wright (PGA of America Director of Volunteer Operations ) and John Easterbrook, Jr., PGA (PGA of America Chief Membership Officer).
“It’s really all about discovering your true authentic self,” says Langston Frazier on finding one’s own voice. “You have to distinguish yourself from everybody else. Maybe it’s using your voice for different mediums or using a skillset that nobody else has. The common denominator for us is the game of golf, and yet, we all have the opportunity to use our voice through the different skill sets and experiences we come to the table with.”
The girls enjoyed a collaborative group activity where they pulled together best practices and strategic recommendations for the PGA of America to connect with diverse communities and make the game of golf more inviting.
The second panel included the golf industry and business leaders who are helping shape the future and lifting up the next generation of industry leaders. Hosted by Will Lowery and Rachel Melendez-Mabee, the panel “From Whisper To Roar” encourages us to tell our own story and embrace the uniqueness we carry. Those sharing the conversation during this panel included Jacqueline Nickelberry (LPGA Foundation Board Member, Attorney & Founder Global Golf Registry and Jackie Unfiltered), Laura Diaz (Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the LPGA), Sadena Parks (Professional Golfer & Founder, Sadena Parks Foundation) and Shawn Quill (National Sports Industry Leader at KPMG).
“It goes without saying that everytime I step into a room, I look different,” says Jacqueline Nickelberry. “The beautiful thing I’ve found from this is it has allowed me to take up space. Not in the sense of taking space from someone else, but using my voice to own who I am and what I know to be true.”
The day ended with a quick tour of the grounds at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, where the girls got to explore opportunities, career paths and how the whole operation of a major championship comes to life. Whether these girls stay in the golf industry or continue to successful careers beyond the game, The future of golf is here and it’s going to be amazing to see.