by Dani Swaggerty
My experience at the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Academy was definitely a great one. Even before the actual academy started, I was welcomed with open arms by all the LPGA staff. The first day was a big day for me, since this was my first trip by myself. The whole LPGA staff made it very easy for me to adjust to the unfamiliar. As an eLeader, I enjoyed watching all the girls grow over the course of two days, and I loved being exposed to the true power of the game of golf. The top three things that I took away from this experience were: building new and existing relationships, meeting the next generation of girls in golf, and learning more about myself.
Personally, I am very shy and sometimes that keeps me from making new friends. I loved the academy because it forced me to get out of my comfort zone. Over the two days, I felt myself become more comfortable with just being silly with all the girls and/or leaders.
The LPGA is a great program for women in golf. Meeting these little girls who already have a passion for golf, even at just six or seven years old, is truly amazing. After seeing the changes in my life and in myself because of golf, it fills me with great joy seeing the same changes right before my eyes. Also, for these girls to meet someone as legendary as Nancy Lopez is huge for them. Also, a great thing about the academy is the diversity in ages. I love how these girls can see others their age as well as older girls involved in golf and it encourages them to keep growing in the game.
The biggest thing, for me, was learning so much about myself. Getting out of my comfort zone was a big step for me, and I’m glad to have had the LPGA staff helping me every step of the way. I love how the academy is a great place to figure out who you are by just being yourself with no judgment anywhere. There were times where I was uncomfortable but that feeling went away fast when a little girl would come up to me and say, “Hey can you come watch my swing?” or “Im having so much fun”. I felt involved in the change that was happening and loved that.
I am very thankful for my experience as an eLeader at the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Academy this year and for helping me grow within myself and helping me to help others grow as well.