If this Kentucky PGA Professional’s golf ball could talk, we would want to find out more about the person who makes this game more enjoyable for us! Luckily, Kentucky’s Family of Golf Organizations is so strong; they generate a force to glean information from the golf balls of KPGA Professionals from across the Commonwealth. The information from these golf balls is as different as the markings the Professional made on them!
PGA Professionals are experts in the game and business of golf. This month, we picked out an experienced ball from the shag bag of Sara Stephens of Stephens Golf Academy to find out a little about where her expertise comes from and a few more fun facts we couldn’t resist asking … after all, a golf ball never lies!
Q: What was the moment where your Professional became “hooked” on golf?
A: There are a LOT of good stories I could put for this! I’m going to write about what got me hooked on tournament golf:
My first “tournament” was a local drive chip & putt skills competition when I was 7 years old. There was a local qualifier, a sectional qualifier, and then the final event took place the Monday of what was then the PGA Tournament called the Kemper Open at TPC Avenel in Potomac, MD. I was the only girl registered at my local qualifier, and there were about a dozen other boys there spread out across a few age groups. It was about 40 degrees that morning, I was wearing a Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt that was about three sizes too big because I was FREEZING!! I distinctly remember the driving portion of the event. There were about 5 other boys there in my same age group. I was up first and had to hit three drives. The first one I popped up about 40 yards..oops!! Second shot I hit okay, about 100 yards. The third one I absolutely striped right down the middle of the grid 150 yards in to the wind. All of the boys got scared at that point! By the end of the day, I definitely saw tears from at least two other boys. From then on out, my dad and I started our own mental scoreboard to see how many boys I made cry at tournaments. The list got pretty lengthy! Not a bad way to earn my first golf trophy! I ended up advancing all the way to the Finals and lost by just a couple points to the other finalists.
Q: Does she have any golf superstitions?
A: No superstitions. Just go out, do your best, and have fun!
Q: What’s her favorite club in the bag and why?
A: My wedges. They’re the reason I can actually still compete in this game. 210 yard drives down the middle of the fairway can only get you so far!
Q: What does your Professional do to prepare for an important round of golf?
A: I always arrive approximately one hour before my tee time. This gives me enough time to practice all facets of my game, get my belongings together, and get to the tee about 10 minutes before my tee time.
Q: Who is your Professional’s dream 4-some?
A: 2001 Tiger Woods, John Calipari, and Donald Trump (Three brains I’d like to pick for many different reasons)
Q: Your Professional is at the Halfway House during a round and there is a group on the 10th tee – what do they order?
A: In a Tournament: Organic Granola Bar, an Apple, and a Banana. Non Tournament: Chef’s Cut Maple Bacon Jerky and a fruity craft beer!
Q: What is your Professional’s best shot they ever hit?
A: I made a hole in one in front of about 50 people in the second round of the 2012 LPGA Symetra Tour Event At Blackthorn Golf Club in South Bend Indiana. That hole in one also helped to put me in to the lead at the tournament after 36 holes.
Q: What is your Professional’s favorite part of their job?
A: There are so many things I absolutely love about teaching this game, but the greatest part is when I see my students reap the rewards of taking lessons. There is nothing better than getting a text or message from a student saying they shot a career round, won a tournament, or are just thanking me in general for the improvements they’ve seen in their game.
Q: What are your Professional’s interests off of the golf course?
A: Spending time with my almost 3 year old son! Long hours are required from golf professionals, so I appreciate the times that I can just relax and spend time with my son. He is also getting the golf bug!
Q: What are three more “fun facts” we need to know about your Professional? (i.e. favorite ice cream topping, favorite song, etc.)
I write left handed
I have an older sister (that does not like golf at all!)
I could be considered a pizza addict
A special thanks to Sara Stephens and her golf ball for spending time, allowing us to get to know her better! Look for tips from her in this edition of Kentucky Golf Insider! We look forward to searching a new KPGA Professional’s shag bag next month to find out more about the experts in the game and business of golf!