DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 31, 2009 - Patti Benson, national president of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) for the past eight years, is the recipient of the 2009 Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award, which recognizes a LPGA professional who gives back to the game in the spirit of Nancy Lopez. Benson has been a member since 1979 and tirelessly given of her time and passion toward the further growth and development of the LPGA T&CP.
"Patti epitomizes all that is represented in the spirit of the Nancy Lopez Golf award: leadership, passion, giving and approachability," said LPGA T&CP Executive Director Leslie Andrews. "Patti's service and dedication to the LPGA are unparalleled. She is a role model to members all over the world."
The Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award was created in 2007, and is given to a LPGA professional who emulates qualities valued by Lopez: Leadership; Passion; Giving; and Approachability. Lopez is a 48-time LPGA Tour winner and four-time Rolex Player of the Year. She was inducted into the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame in 1987, and captained the victorious 2005 U.S. Solheim Cup Team.
"Winning this award is such an honor because of who Nancy Lopez is as a whole," said Benson. "She is someone with heart and passion and has given so much to the game of golf and beyond. There are so many traits of Nancy that I still am striving to achieve -- her heart and kindness that she shows to others comes to mind, but there is so much more. People look up to Nancy because she included everyone. She was never abrupt with anyone and a warmth and love still exudes from Nancy when she just says hello. I am very thrilled and will do my very best to live up to the spirit of the Nancy Lopez Award all of the days of my life."
Benson earned her Class A status in 1983, shortly after spending four years playing on what is now the Duramed FUTURES Tour - the official developmental tour of the LPGA. She began to take leadership roles within the Southeast section and was elected section president in 1997. That same year, Benson was named LPGA Southeast Section Golf Professional of the Year. She furthered her sectional involvement by assisting in various roles for area LPGA T&CP testing sites. In 2000, Benson was part of a steering committee for Celebrating Women in Golf: An LPGA 50th Anniversary Event, which was hosted and conducted by the LPGA T&CP. It allowed amateur female golfers the chance to meet, mingle and play golf with members of the LPGA. One year later, Benson was in the race of her life - against ovarian cancer. A battle she was determined to overcome, she not only rebounded from treatments, but did so shortly before being elected as LPGA T&CP National President in 2001 - a role that concludes on Dec. 31, 2009.
Benson is currently a co-owner and teaching professional at the Bobby & Patti Benson Golf Shop at Palm Beach Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.