If you’re a true fan of golf, you’ve probably heard of Suzy Whaley. She’s a PGA Master Professional, a Golf Digest Top 50 instructor, and the first female officer and president of PGA of America. On Episode 29 of the On The Green Podcast, I sat down for an indepth conversation with Suzy, and we talked about everything from her career path to what’s in store for the future of the PGA of America and golf in general.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Suzy has had an incredible career in golf, but her path to success was anything but linear. Over the years, Suzy has competed in a PGA TOUR event, coached golfers, worked as a commentator, and eventually landed the role of: President of the PGA of America.
Suzy credits one person for her love of the game: her mother! Back in the 1970s, it was unusual at that time for women to be playing golf. But her mom didn’t care about sticking out amongst her male competitors – she was an avid athlete and golf fanatic. Her mom caught on to Suzy’s interest in the game, and Suzy and her mom spent plenty of time at the course getting Suzy up to speed.
Suzy’s talents really started to take off. When her mom knew she couldn’t help her advance any further, she decided to hire professional help. From there, Suzy continued to get better and better. She played during college and eventually went on to play on the LPGA Tour.
A Little Competition
It wasn’t long before Suzy became an LPGA and then PGA of America Class A Professional, and it’s safe to say that a healthy amount of jealousy helped her get there. Her husband was competing weekly in the section events, and Suzy began to get a little aggravated that she wasn’t involved in competitive opportunities. His advice was to join the PGA, so that’s exactly what she did!
“Many people think that I joined PGA of America to become president one day,” says Suzy. “But I joined PGA of America to beat my husband!”
Suzy was more than excited to make some changes once she became president of the PGA of America. Some of her most successful programs and initiatives include building a new headquarters in Frisco, Texas with two championship courses currently under construction there, a player development program, and PGA Junior League.
One of Suzy’s biggest goals is to continue to grow the diversity of the PGA Junior League. Right now, the league includes 25% minorities. That percentage is higher than past years, but Suzy would love to see that number continue to grow.
We covered so much ground in this podcast episode. Listen to the full episode above, and be sure to subscribe to the On the Green Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.