Dual PGA/LPGA Professional Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth Keeps Competitive Drive Alive at KPMG Women's PGA Championship
In high-pressure situations, experience and a level head matter. Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth, PGA/LPGA, has both.
Connelly-Eiswerth, a dual PGA and LPGA member, has been a true competitor for as long as she can remember.
“I started playing when I was about 5 years old and I never really had a backup plan,” Connelly-Eiswerth said. “The competitor in me always wants to win.”
This passion led to a childhood spent competing and after graduating college, she went straight to the professional circuit, where she played on the Symetra Tour for seven years. In total, she has competed in 5 major championships, including her three-straight starts at the 2019, 2020 and 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
Though she’s a competitor at heart, her professional career came to a pause when she decided to take a detour to see what the other side of the golf industry presented itself. An assistant coaching position at UNF began her teaching career, eventually leading to a transition as PGA Teaching professional at Eagle Harbor Golf Club this year.
“When the coaching opportunity came up, I was excited and knew it was the right opportunity for me to exit playing full time,” she shared. “Then, when the full time teaching opportunity presented itself, it was a really natural transition. I loved that part of coaching so I just liked being out on the golf course, helping students.”
But that wasn’t going to keep her away from the competition. Stephanie, who is married to former PGA Professional Adam Eiswerth, has been an LPGA professional since 2018, but became motivated to earn her PGA Membership in April 2021, not only to continue to grow the game through her students, but also because of the playing opportunities that it would present her.
Now that she has seen both sides of the golf industry, she has found a beautiful way to balance her competitive nature and her new desire to help others learn to play the game of golf.
“[As a dual member] I’ve been able to play more, which I love as a competitor. But I also feel that it connects me to my students better,” she said. “When you play more you’re able to help yourself and your students play better, hit shots better, and make decisions. Not just have a prettier swing.”
Beyond seeing the duality of her motivations come to life through competition, she has also found a deeper meaning behind the opportunity to continue playing through her membership statuses.
“Being able to compete in a major championship is a wonderful experience for professionals. I think it shows that there are a lot of good players who are also teachers and professionals,” Connelly-Eisewerth said. “It showcases a side of the business that a lot of people maybe don’t think about. A lot of people don’t realize that your local club professional can still compete.”
This is exactly what she and the other 4 PGA professionals will do this week. As for her expectations, Stephanie was optimistic and grateful for the experience when we spoke to her before the championship.
“I wanna go play well. I want to represent myself and my club and the teaching professionals of PGA and LPGA well,” she said.
“I think it’s an honor and great experience to just be there, but the competitor in me would like to be competitive with some of the best in the world.”