Contributor Africa Madueño Alarcón shares her thoughts on Golf and the Women that inspire her.
I recently attended the “Latin America and Caribbean” conference hosted by the R&A. I had been invited to attend not only as a participant but, as a presenter to address the conference on my career path in golf and the role of women in the golf business industry.
It is an important topic and I was nervous about the presentation because I was not sure if I could speak on such an important topic and to do it with the skill that it deserves. I persevered, working through my inner fears and concerns, and looking back on it now, I am very happy that I could present on such an important topic.
I attended the conference with Paz Echevarria, a good friend of mine and a former LPGA player. She is from Chile and now heads up the “Golf Juniors in Chile” program and “Golf Action” — the biggest junior tour in Chile and a program that focuses on supporting the growth and development of junior players.
Over the year, Paz and I have had several conversations about the sport that we both share and are passionate about. While most of it is focused on golf, developing the sport and the opportunities for a new generation of players from South America, we also discuss our own work in the game, finding a supportive listener in each other. It is a regular challenge to prove ourselves on a regular basis while maintaining our professionalism. A large part of this challenge is maintaining our professionalism in public, whether it be in conferences, on the course, gym or in our social media roles; trying to project professionalism without getting caught in being too aggressive, too arrogant or too sexy.
In this sport of golf and the business industry behind it, we often see it – women who get grilled for being aggressive in what is predominantly a male-centered culture or women who are not taken seriously because they veer a little too far towards the image of the sexy little golfer. Yet, in my experience, I have found that some of these women are good, even great coaches, but they stray a little too far towards the cute golfer persona in order to build up their followers on Instagram, Twitter or YouTube so that when they try to address something in a more serious manner, they are often dismissed for being the “cute or sexy golfer girl”. It is a fine balance that women in golf have to discover and maintain.
So, when I attended the Latin America and Caribbean conference recently, I could not help but notice that the attendees were directors and administrators of their golf federations, and were overwhelmingly men, mostly older, appearing to be 50 plus years in age. In the few months since then, I have been thinking about this topic and the current role that women play in the golf industry.
That process led me here; to write this piece as a “shout out” to some of the women in golf that I admire for their work. Each is doing their own thing, kicking ass on a daily basis without stepping on each other, but rather supporting each other or as we often say in our circles, “sending the elevator down” to help lift other women up so that they too may flourish in this sport. Many of these professionals may be flying under the radar, but I can attest that they are real, they are knowledgeable and skilled, and they represent some of the best professionals in the game with plenty to offer. For this shout out, I pulled together a list of 9 – Nine of the professional women in golf, some of them you may know, others you may not, so let me introduce you to them:
1. Daisy May Kenny (Golf Coach)
Daisy May is a golf coach based in South Carolina. She has worked for Super Speed Golf, producers of one of the coolest training aids for speed training. She has presented in the United States for BodiTrak Sports and SuperSpeed Golf on the biomechanics of creating speed in the golf swing. I originally met Daisy at a TPI Summit in Orlando, Florida and we got to talking about fitness, instruction and speed training. I found her to be very passionate and enthusiastic; so much so that you can’t help but be drawn into the conversation, listening to every word she says. Her knowledge on ground forces, speed training and injuries is truly amazing.
To get to know more about Daisy, follow her on Instagram (Biomekgolf), I’m confident that you will find her approach very scientific based with great didatic and effective drills.
2. Katherine Roberts (Fitness Trainer & Specialist)
Katherine is one of those professionals that I have admired from day one. Her book, “Swing Flaws, Fitness Fixes ”, was one of the very first books that I relied on when I started my own business. When I called to purchase her book (all the way from my native Brazil ), it was such a big surprise for me when she answered the phone to talk to me about it. I appreciated her approach to people in the industry, finding her to be unpretentious and supportive.
She has built a successful business — Human Performance for Sports, where she trains professional baseball, football and golf athletes and she is the founder of Yoga for Golfers ®.
Her leading-edge yoga and human sports performance company has certified instructors in 24 countries, on 5 continents, and teams up regularly with sports organizations in the United States and abroad, conducting training, workshops and clinics.
For her work in golf, Katherine has also been awarded with an honorary directorship with the PGA of Canada. She maintains an online certification program and continues hosting a series of webinars with PGA Canada.
3. Paz Echevarria (Junior Tour Director)
I first met Paz last year at a local tournament in Chile. A couple of months later, we traveled to Panama to present to the aforementioned R&A Convention. Paz is from Chile, living in Santiago were she is the director of Golf Action, the biggest and most important Junior Tour in Chile. She played on both the Symetra Tour and the LPGA from 2011 to 2016, experiencing the friendship, loneliness and the financial struggles of being a female professional player.
Paz is a very private person so you won’t find a significant online presence for her, but you can see the amazing job she’s doing in Chile, helping young kids follow their dreams of playing college golf, and in some cases, reaching the professional ranks. Chile has become one of the biggest forces in Latin American golf and is home to former World No,1 Amateur and one of the newest stars of the PGA Tour -- Joaquin Niemann. Paz is dedicated to developing and supporting the young generation of golfers and her passion continues to be inspiring, counselling these kids to build strong careers, enjoy good experiences on the golf course, and to live happy lives.
4. Liesbeth Pauwels (Fitness trainer)
I first met Liesbeth at the 2018 TPI Summit in Orlando, Florida and have followed her career as a Golf Fitness trainer ever since. Like many on my list, she is certified with the Titleist Performance Institute, (TPI) and she is also a certified Yoga Teacher. From Bruges, Liesbeth Pauwels grew up on the Costa Blanca, Spain (the “White Coast” in Valencia ). She had ambitions to play on the LPGA from a very young age. Her dream was sidelined permanently when she ran into serious injuries, leading to disappointing setbacks (both physically and mentally).
It was through these setbacks that she was introduced to golf specific training, setting her on her eventual career path. Through periods of training, Liesbeth progressed so much with her recovery that she no longer experiences pain when playing, allowing her to enjoy her golf again.
Since then, she has worked with Jason Glass, (the Tour Performance Lab & TPI Presenter), the Netherlands Golf Federation, Golf.NL, the PGA of Holland, and Vodafone, coaching thousands of golfers in the Netherlands and all over Europe. Liesbeth, is also a contributing writer for The National Golf magazine and a fitness writer for Golfers Magazine in the Netherlands. Her purpose and mission are clear — develop a strong healthy golf community that plays golf for a lifetime.
I have followed her on Instagram and am impressed not only with her beautiful photography, but also of her outdoor training in Amsterdam, she has great exercises programs with motivation and enthusiasm to match.
4. Kaitlyn Pimentel (Fitness trainer)
Kaitlyn is a golf fitness trainer that is approachable and empathetic when she interacts with her followers on Instagram. Owner of Felix Fortis Golf, she reaches out to her clients and followers through a variety of avenues, including an online program, and a podcast addressing golf fitness topics. She is regularly featured in Golf Digest.
Her golf career took her to Methodist University in North Carolina, and it was there that she was first introduced to the TPI program. After struggling with low back pain and at a point where she was on the verge of walking away from the sport, a teammate convinced her to be screened. Her teammate had just returned from a TPI conference and was confident that it would help Kaitlyn.
Since then, she’s been a passionate trainer and a powerful voice for fitness and with fitness for women. She is very active through Instagram with her fitness instruction. I have personally found Kaitlyn's humility, passion and enthusiasm inspiring – she truly is a walking, breathing fount of energy with an amazingly positive attitude. I find her inspiring and relatable, particularly when she talks about body awareness for women, and especially trainers that have less than the perfect trainer's body or physique. To learn more about Kaitlyn and her program you can find her here:
Podcast: Felix Fortis Women's Golf Fitness
6. Janet Alexander (Fitness trainer)
A veteran in the golf industry, Janet combines a great personality with an incredibly vast knowledge. I first came to know of Janet a couple of years ago, when I watched her for the first time during a specialized Level 3 Fitness Seminar in Oceanside, California.
Working with female athletes has become a major focal point of her business. Janet’s dedication and passion for the complexities of ‘being a woman’ in the field of strength and conditioning has garnered her clients worldwide, both amateur and professional. Her progressive and creative program design has resulted in not only wins, but with good hormonal health for the female athletes that she works with.
She is an instructor for the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), Level 3 Fitness program; is T.P.I. certified, and has appeared on the Golf Channel speaking on fitness for females. She currently sits on the Titleist Advisory Board as a member of the Fitness & Exercise Committee.
7. Trillium Rose (Golf Coach)
Trillium is an eloquent and soft spoken coach from Maryland. A 20 plus year veteran coach, she has been recognized as a Top 50 Teacher by both Golf Digest and the LPGA. She was named the 2017 Middle Atlantic PGA "Teacher of the Year.” She has also been named as a “Best Teacher in State” by Golf Digest on multiple occasions.
While I have not yet, had the pleasure of meeting Trillium in person, I have followed her work online. Some of the aspects of her work that I love are: simple yet, effective drills about posture and control in the golf swing, consistent indoor and outdoor exercises to improve your game, and great interviews & special guests. I hope to meet her someday in the near future because I suspect that she’s one of those individuals that you instantly find captivating and want to listen to all day.
9. Dana Santas (Fitness Trainer)
Known as the “Mobility Maker”, Dana Santas is recognized for her work with mobility, breathing and mind-body coaching. I first met Dana in 2018 at the TPI Summit Conference in Orlando, Florida. While it was only a brief affair, Dana's energy and enthusiasm made a lasting impression.
In addition, Dana is a best-selling author, on-air health & wellness expert, and creator of the YIT (Yoga-Inspired Training) Method for Athletes. She has presented internationally on breathing methods, moving and feeling better in our bodies and minds – for both performance enhancement and healthier, happier living.
Although she’s not a regular in the golf industry, I have always considered her as a "rock star" for her work specializing in training athletes/teams in MLB, NHL, NBA, NFL, MLS, PGA, WTA & WWE. Dana also proudly works with tactical athletes (military, special forces, first responders and veterans ). She has also published a book on back pain and it is a topic that we deal with in golf on a regular basis, so it is well worth reading, the link is below.
There are many professionals in the golf industry, passionate about sharing their knowledge, energy and innovation to benefit their clients and golf in general. I have met many individuals throughout my golf travels and while there are 9 - nine presented here, there are several others that could easily have been included if not for space limitations. Perhaps a future segment in which we introduce them would be beneficial. These women presented here are all well qualified leaders in their fields, whether it be through formal education (undergraduate and graduate degrees), or through years of extensive training and professional development such as the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) programs and, in many cases, both.
I have benefited from my relationships with these women, whether it be through personal interactions or from a longer distance through their online content. My primary purpose was to raise the topic of professional women in golf, not as players, but as golf professionals in training, coaching, and more. I admire each and everyone of them and as a veteran of the golf fitness industry, I continue to benefit from their commitment and passion, so check them out – you will be glad that you did.
About: Africa Madueno Alarcon
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