May
4
2009
Confessions Of An LPGA Tour Player…
By Stephanie Wei under General

Last night, I caught up with my good friend, Paige Mackenzie, who is now a pro on theLPGA Tour. Paige and I both grew up in Washington and played junior golf together. She is a waaay better golfer than I was, am, or ever will be. Even though she’s kind of a big deal now, she still keeps in touch with me – ‘cause she’s awesome. (BTW, thanks, Paige.)

We chatted about girl stuff, you know like boys, and yeah, more boys. We moved onto what we’d been up to. And, basically, both of our lives are revolved around golf (more recently for me since college). But, Paige is the superstar who is playing in LPGA tourneys, while I’m just trying to write about the game and people like her. Did I choose the wrong career path?

Then, I had a moment and I was like, “WAIT! Where are you? Isn’t there an LPGA Summit or something?” Indeed, Paige is at Kingsmill. I asked her for the inside scoop.

This is what she said:

  • We talked about what [the players] can do to enhance the tournament experience, like being friendly with fans, interacting with sponsors, growing the brand,  making ourselves unique characters for people to identify with – everyone likes the personalities on Tour like Natalie [Gulbis] and Paula [Creamer].
  • It was a really positive experience, and it actually reminded me of the 2003 NCAA Leadership Conference [we both attended].
  • It’s tough economic time [in general] right now; It’s good for us to be unified and to send a positive message. We have the potential to be even stronger coming out of it.
  • We’re not the same product as the [PGA]. If you want to watch the best basketball in the world, you’re going to watch the men. So, you have to sell us as a different product. We’re friendly and we actively interact with the fans. And, in every Pro-Am I’ve played in, the sponsors [who are mostly men] say that we’re more fun to play with than the [PGA players].
  • The LPGA signed a 10 year contract with The Golf Channel – which will have a vested interest [in us]. We’ll have consistent times that the tournaments are aired.
  • We’re in a better position now than ever before. We’re a better product now than ever before. [The Summit] was a good unifying experience and recognizing the potential and values that our sport and organization has.

Well said, Paige!

I’ve noticed over the past few months how the LPGA and an increasing number of the ladies have been applying social media tools – like Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs. They’re actively interacting with fans, and it sounds like more will join. They’re making a great effort and perhaps the results aren’t immediate (especially in this economic climate) – but things will pick up = WIN. Mark my words!

I kept mentioning Twitter to Paige during the conversation, and gave her my opinion on why she should join (which I outlined here in March). So, not to brag or anything, but I will – she took my advice and signed up while we were on the phone! If you’re not following her already, do it NOW.