We all need rangefinders. We all need a compass of sorts that we can rely on, that will help us when we’re indecisive, overwhelmed, and delirious from a day in the sun. To not only lead us towards our goals, but to help us make the right decisions on how to get there. From loft, to backswing, to club choice, there are a multitude of decisions to make and we invariably desire help from the very beginning. From the time when all that matters is learning the basics to the time when making the next cut is all that matters, every comment carries so much worth and inspires unique ideas in the golfer. It’s almost like a personalized gift delivered to you when you need it most!
from Ashleigh McLaughlin
The recent years’ focus on feminism and empowerment for young girls and women has been an encouraging shift in the narrative for young women who play sports.
What continues to be a startling statistic, though, is the data discovered by the Women’s Sports Foundation’s, who found that more than 40% of girls drop out of sports all together by the age of 14, hindering their confidence long term.
What are you looking forward to the most when it comes to your next chapter in life—becoming a college student?
Girls Golf has truly helped unlock my true potential on the golf course and in the community and has morphed me into my new chapter of playing college golf. And to earn a scholarship to pay for college, better yet! To say the least, I’m excited to move to Florida and be able to play golf every day, but I have to learn the bermuda greens, and the Florida wind, and my mom will always remind me to wear sunscreen!
Share a little bit about your relationship with your Girls Golf director Louise Ball.
Louise has been my swing coach since the first day I swung a “big girl” club. She has taught me so much and knows girls have to feel good about themselves in order to perform well, whether it’s a golf tournament or a math test or being a true friend and being true to ourselves. She’s been way more than golf to me, to us. I call her Mom #2. I can go to her for anything.
What were your experiences like at the Girls Golf Team Championship and the LPGA Leadership Academy?
When Louise suggested we play in the first Girls Golf Team Championship in the summer of 2012 at Kiawah Island Club-Cassique, this would be my first time playing outside of Tennessee, so she was asking me to go out of my comfort zone. And I admit being partnered with Kennedy Noe (my middle school coach’s daughter) stressed me out. I was just a year into playing golf and she was like this prodigy child and six years younger than me, but Louise knew we’d be okay playing with each other’s strengths and we were.
On Day 2 of the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Member Highlight, we return to Dani Swaggerty as she tells us about what golf and the Girls Golf program have done for her. [Read Day 1]
What life lessons have you learned from the game?
Golf has been an awesome classroom for me! Since golf is so mental (duh, right?), I believe the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the game is keeping your emotions steady through the good and the bad and not allow the stress of competition overwhelm you. Have you heard “stay positive?” Yeah, I’ve changed that to “stay cool” because I can feel my anxiety soar when I’m trying to find something positive in some situations—you know when you’ve hit OB and can’t find your ball or you hit into the water for the second time or can’t wait to get to the range to fix your shanks, or you’re so close to breaking 80 or you’re stuck on answering a question on your calculus IB math test.
This week, we will feature LPGA*USGA Girls Golf alum Dani Swaggerty who attended the Girls Golf Leadership Academy last year and will soon continue growing the game by playing on Eastern Florida State College’s inaugural women’s golf team.
How old were you when you started playing golf and what made you choose to pick up the game?
My uncle Brian played DI college golf and gave me some plastic clubs when I was about three years old. I remember it was fun, so then he gave me some “real” tiny clubs for Easter the next year. I didn’t do much with them. But my mom exposed me to all kinds of activities throughout my life to see what “would stick.” I ran track, played volleyball, basketball, danced (still do), tried gymnastics, and got a bloody nose playing softball.