Golf 101 Program Encourages, Empowers Women
Any golfer could tell you how fun and relaxing a round played with family or friends can be, but sometimes it can offer so much more. Alexis Jones surely can attest to that fact. Not a golfer by any stretch, the Executive Assistant for the Superintendent of the DeSoto Independent School District knew a lot of business was conducted on the course. She felt left out, and she aimed to do something about it.
With a son drawn to the sport, Jones, too, was interested in learning how to play golf. But she never knew how to get started. Golf courses can be intimidating places for beginners. Once Jones learned about the Texas Golf Association’s Golf 101 program, however, everything started to change.
Jones discovered Golf 101 through an email because her son participates in The First Tee of Greater Dallas. She said her school district puts on a golf tournament every year. This year she wanted to have a team comprised solely of women to represent her district.
Golf 101 was the perfect way to get started in the right direction.
“When I got the email, I was like, ‘Okay this is our opportunity,’” Jones said.
An ideal entry point for new players, Golf 101 is designed to help women get more involved in the game through friendly, welcoming sessions. The goal is to give women with little or no experience in golf the confidence to get out on the course on their own, through training sessions and building relationships with more experienced golfers. The program also is geared toward women who are getting back into the game after a break. It’s not just for beginners.
Maulana Dotch, the Head Professional at Cedar Crest Golf Course in Dallas, is a Golf 101 instructor. She’s one of several throughout the state. Having played golf since the age of 12, Dotch has a passion for the game. She also has a desire to get women more involved in the game.
“When I became a golf professional, one thing I said that I was going to really focus on was getting more women and more girls playing golf,” Dotch said.
Dotch says she didn’t have any friends who played golf when she started, so Golf 101’s goal of getting women more involved in the game really hit home with her.
“It’s definitely personal with me,” she said. “I have the ladies come out because I want them to have that camaraderie. That’s what’s great about it because these ladies never would’ve met any other way.”
Golf 101 provides women with the opportunity to meet like-minded women and grow together through golf. Through five weekly sessions, women can gain the knowledge and confidence to play golf on their own, or with other women they meet through the program.
“There are tons of bridges that can be made; relationships to be built through the game,” Dotch said. “Everybody’s from completely different industries that cross paths just because of golf.”
Jones represents one of the various industries to which Dotch referred. Jones used Golf 101 to help her advance her career, but got so much more out of it than that.
“It was phenomenal,” Jones said about her first Golf 101 experience. “It was so much fun.”
The benefits for Jones went far beyond just having an enjoyable time. She pointed to the ability to use golf as a way to build relationships, both personal and professional, as added perks of participating in the program. Working for the school district, Jones said a lot of her meetings are held at country clubs. She said she signed up for Golf 101, in part, to feel more comfortable and at ease at those meetings.
“You hear a certain percentage of business deals are done on the golf course, but now it’s put in place that this really does happen,” Jones said.
Jones also said golf has helped empower her, knowing that she can find a place in such a male-dominated sport.
“Just to know that you get looked at a certain way just because you speak their lingo, you talk their language, you play their game, it’s a good feeling,” Jones said.
Even women who already work in golf, such as the TGA’s Marketing Manager Jennifer Settles can learn and grow through Golf 101.
“Golf 101 was an amazing opportunity that I would definitely recommend to any women looking to learn, grow or maintain their golf skills,” Settles said. “The women were supportive and inclusive, and Maulana really took her time making sure we were grasping each lesson.”
Settles said she hopes to attend another session in the near future, and Dotch has already seen a few women come back for a second session. Whether the benefits are personal, professional or just for fun, Golf 101 offers something for women of all skill levels and backgrounds.
Indian Creek Golf Club in Carrollton is conducting Golf 101 classes every Wednesday in the month of May. The cost is $225 for TGA Members, $250 for non-members. To register for an upcoming class, click here. To learn more or sign up for an upcoming Golf 101 session, click here.
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