Article courtesy of Duramed FUTURES Tour
Nancy Henderson has spent the last two years as executive director of the LPGA's Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) membership. This season, the native of Clearwater, Fla., will move across the hall at LPGA headquarters as the Duramed FUTURES Tour's new Chief Operating Officer (COO).
The appointment was announced following the LPGA's recent reorganization of business functions. Current Duramed FUTURES Tour Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Zayra Calderon will continue to oversee the Duramed FUTURES Tour, but will shift her daily focus to new business development and worldwide sales, while Henderson's daily focus will center on the LPGA's developmental tour.
A Class A member of both the LPGA and PGA, Henderson's post at the T&CP has involved the day-to-day operations of the association, including its educational programs, tournament offerings, certification and testing. Prior to heading up the T&CP, she served for seven years as director of golf and general manager at LPGA International Golf Course - home course of the LPGA. At LPGA International, she planned, directed and supervised all aspects of daily operations, including management of the entire golf complex, clubhouse operations, food and beverage, golf course maintenance, marketing and public relations.
Henderson came to LPGA International after eight years at Orange Lake Resort and Country Club in Kissimmee, Fla., where she was named as the 1998 Director of the Year. She was honored as the T&CP's National LPGA Professional of the Year in 2001, and followed up in 2003 and 2006, respectively, with Player of the Year honors for the LPGA Southeast Section.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she played on the women's golf team, Henderson is a two-time U.S. Women's Open Championship participant, a former member of the FUTURES Golf Tour, and a winner of 300 amateur tournaments. Here is what she had to say to Duramed FUTURES Tour senior writer Lisa D. Mickey in a recent interview about her expectations for the 2009 season:
DFT: Why do you want to switch from your role of working with the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional membership to come work at the Duramed FUTURES Tour?
NH: I'm excited about the opportunity and I feel that my expertise and my background is a perfect fit for the Duramed FUTURES Tour. I think I can come into the Tour and look at it not only from the LPGA's and T&CP's perspective, but also as a former player on what used to be the FUTURES Golf Tour. I'm also excited to learn from Zayra aleron. I have a lot to learn about the operations of the Tour.
DFT: What is the most appealing aspect of your new role as Chief Operating Officer at the Duramed FUTURES Tour?
NH: The thought that I can make a difference - maybe help make it better. Everything can improve. I'd like to help prepare the players for LPGA life, whether it's as a T&CP member or as a Tour member. I'm a good example of a player who took a different path from competition. So are former players like Donna White and Jane Geddes, who transitioned into careers that still involve golf. [Note: White is a teaching professional in South Florida who works with Special Olympics and adaptive golf, while Geddes, a former U.S. Women's Open champion and veteran LPGA Tour member, is now the LPGA's Senior Vice President of Tournament Operations and Player Services.] We all want that career on the LPGA Tour. I certainly was one of those dreamers. Then I made it to the top of my profession in the club professional ranks. I was ready for a new and different challenge and ready to give back to the LPGA Tour, so now, that's why I am moving to the Duramed FUTURES Tour.
DFT: How do you think your past will benefit you on the Duramed FUTURES Tour? How do you think you can positively impact the young professionals?
NH: I can relate to the players because I've been there. I know what it's like to keep up with receipts, and to travel and maintain your life as a touring professional. It's not as easy as people think. I understand where the players are and I understand where they want to be, as well as where a lot them may end up. It's not only about the playing. It's a matter of challenging yourself to be your best.
DFT: Has there been anything you have learned as a player that has served you well as an administrator in golf?
NH: You have to have incredible discipline and self-motivation to be a player. If you can take that from your golf game to your career, it definitely helps. Being at the LPGA and at LPGA International, I saw a lot of players go through LPGA Qualifying School. I saw that it's not always the best swing that moves on. It's the person who has the strongest mind, the desire and the passion who makes it.
DFT: Of what are you most proud in your work at the T&CP?
NH: Being named the LPGA T&CP's national Professional of the Year in 2001. That meant a lot to me. And as executive director of the T&CP, it has been a real honor to represent the membership. We have been able to grow the membership to nearly 1,300 Teaching and Club Professionals. The T&CP members are the grassroots ambassadors of growing the game of golf nationwide and shaping the LPGA Tour members of the future. There are a lot of careers in golf that allow professionals to share their love of the game with others. You can get as much joy in teaching the next Lorena Ochoa as being Lorena Ochoa. That's what Annika orentam is doing now with her academy. I would say that Annika will still have a lot of success in the next phase of her golf career - at her academy, designing courses and with her clothing line. Her golf career is not over.
DFT: Now that the Duramed FUTURES Tour is part of the LPGA, what kind of role can you see yourself playing in the integration of the two tours?
NH: I feel like I can integrate some of the "LPGA-isms" into what's done on the Duramed FUTURES Tour level to help prepare players for a career on the LPGA. I have to get out there and see it once the Duramaed FUTURES Tour season begins. I have a lot to learn and I'm going to be learning so much this year.
DFT: You played on what was the FUTURES Golf Tour years ago. What do you remember about those years?
NH: What I remember most on the FUTURES Tour was how welcoming people were in the cities where we played. They would open their homes to us. I once had a caddie in Decatur, Ill., that I stayed in contact with for 10 years. But having gone from college golf to the FUTURES Tour, I understand what our players are going through. I think some of the things the Tour is doing now - things like offering media training, rules sessions, learning about caddies - is great, and I wish we'd had that when I played out here. I'd like to continue expanding on those player development areas
DFT: Are players today different than players when you competed?
NH: Everybody wants "the dream." They want to play for the largest amount of money, on the largest tour in the world and in front of the most people. That's the LPGA, and that's what the Duramed FUTURES Tour prepares players to do. Who doesn't want to jump into Poppy's Pond on the 18th green at the Kraft Nabisco Championship? That's what I'm here to do - to help players reach "the dream." They are coming out of college today more prepared than ever to compete on the LPGA. But as much as they think they are ready, playing in some Duramed FUTURES Tour events will prepare them more for the LPGA. It really helps to start on the small stage and go to the large stage. This tour is the preparatory stage.
DFT: If you could have a mulligan in your golf career, what would it be?
NH: I gave it three tries at LPGA Q-School. In my mind, it was three strikes and I was done. If I could do over, I would have spent more time on the urame FUTURES Tour preparing myself before trying to make the jump to the LPGA.
DFT: When and how did you start playing golf?
NH: I asked for golf lessons when I was eight years old. My dad was a home builder [in Clearwater, Fla.], so when I was 16, he built a golf course and owned the course. I was "free labor" in the family business. We lived on a golf course and I grew up there.
DFT: What is something that most people don't know about you?
NH: Laugter That I have a two-year-old Shih Tzu named "Einstein" because he's the smartest dog in the world? Or that I've been nicknamed "Piglet" since college?
DFT: Piglet? Why Piglet?
NH: I got that nickname because I tend to be more cautious in nature, like the character Piglet in "Winnie the Pooh." I'm very cautious and calculating on the golf course. Maybe if I'd played more like the character Tigger - if I had been looser and taken a few more chances - I'd have made it out on Tour. Now, I'm older and wiser, so maybe [among the Pooh characters], I should be called the Owl.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour, 386-274-6216, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Topics: Press Release