By Rick Woelfel, Women’s Golf Report
Dana Rader’s passions run deep, for her chosen profession and for the LPGA, the organization she’s been part of for 33 years. Rader, the President of the LPGA T&CP, operates the Dana Rader Golf School at the Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte, North Carolina. She offers some of her thoughts on the golf industry in Part Two of this exclusive interview with Women’s Golf Report’s Rick Woelfel.
The LPGA T&CP hosts a national and sectional championships each year, as well as various workshops and seminars. How are important are those events for the purposes of bringing your members together and networking?
DR: I’m often asked by women whether they should choose the PGA or the LPGA. My answer is always the same. I chose to go the LPGA because I felt like I needed to be in a network of women helping women.
To me, supporting a women’s organization because I’m a woman is important. But it’s also important because together we’re stronger. And that bond that we have in common is that we are 1,500 passionate women who want to be the very best they can be. I’ve been with a number of them, I can’t say I’ve been with all of them but I’ve been with a lot of them at our summits and our conferences. The networking and the face time is so important. Seeing what we’re doing at our facilities, sharing ideas and sharing best practices. I think as woman to woman, it’s a support system as well as that network. It was very important to me to be part of the most elite women’s organization in the world, and that’s the LPGA.
What kinds of things have to happen to get more women into the golf industry, whether they want to be part of the PGA, the LPGA or go into some other aspect of the golf business?
DR: I think it gets back to what I said earlier; they have to know what opportunities exist in terms of ‘Is there a career in that?’ I think that’s where we in the industry have to do a better job in the high schools and colleges of identifying individuals who are good players who may not be good enough to play the tour but want to stay in the golf field.
Sometimes the golf industry can be a little bit frustrating in that you get an assistant professional’s job and your gifts and talents aren’t developed in terms of allowing you to teach. You’re kind of expected to be all things. I think assistants should have the opportunity to teach, do a lot of club fitting, do a lot of different things other than being stuck behind a counter. I know that’s part of the job but I think we have to make the golf industry more appealing than that.
How has the role of the teaching professional changed over the course of your career?
DR: I think technology has changed the teaching industry. I’ve seen the evolution of teaching. People want to play better and they need good instruction. I think the golf magazines have done a great job of spotlighting top teachers and have added a lot of credibility to the teaching industry.
What’s been the most satisfying aspect of being a golf professional?
DR: It’s been the people that I have worked with over the years. It’s been the people, It’s been people that I have taught.
You know Rick, the most satisfying thing is when you can stand on the tee and you’ve got grandson, father, and son out there. You realize that A, you’re either old or getting old but B, that you have taught three generations and that those generations have stayed with you over the years. Not only have they stayed loyal to you as a teacher, but they’ve also given you the referrals and trust to teach their child.
Teaching to me, from the day I started, until now, at the start of my 33rd year is the most important thing I do. I’m giving a lesson this afternoon and I can’t wait to get out there.
It’s being with the people that I work with, my employees and my clients, every day. I’ve always believed in the T&CP. I’ve always believed in it even when it had 200 members when I joined it back in 1980. I’ve always believed it to be a wonderful organization and it is to this day. And I think every single woman that joins this association and has been a member for a number of years feels the same way. That includes the founders who said ‘We need to have a teaching division.’ They fought for it and they got it. Today, that’s something they can look back on and be very proud of.
With all the responsibilities you have, do you still get to do as much teaching as you would like?
DR: Yes. I mainly teach and I’ve turned most of the administrative work at my golf school over to a general manger and a director of instruction. I just oversee when necessary. I’ve gotten really good people so all I’m going to do is teach. I anticipate a full book of lessons this year. Teaching is what I’m good at. And I’m going to continue on for the next three years, dedicating my life to making the T&CP the best it can be.
Topics: Teaching and Club Professionals