Caitlin Mahon and Meghan McPeak were awarded inaugural LPGA Leadership Academy Scholarship presented by AXA Financial scholarship back in July of this year. Both recipient received a $5,000 college scholarship and a trip to the LPGA Tour’s season-ending CME Group Tour Championship for a VIP experience.
LPGA.com caught up with the two to learn more about their VIP experience.
Caitlin Mahon's Blog
The best part about the VIP experience (besides being in Florida) was being able to meet so many successful women who are all connected by their passion for golf. I enjoyed being able to listen to their stories about how each of them overcame different levels of failure in their lives to reach where they are today. This was especially important for someone like me who has an idea about what she wants to do in life, but like any college student, is worried about failing. However, the ladies taught me that only through failure can we learn, grow, and go farther than we ever imagined.
I never realized how much work occurs behind the scenes for this tournament to happen. When you watch the tournaments on TV, you do not get to see all the work that goes into making these events possible. It was cool to see each one of the different groups (rules officials, weather committee, sound and light crew, etc.) work together to make this championship a success. I also found it very interesting how they adjusted the course based on the weather conditions and how the course is playing. They a very systematic process to doing this which I found fascinating.
I think what I learned from the weekend that I will remember the most is that is ok to fail every now and again, because it happens to even the best people. It is about how you use that experience to learn, grow and become better. The saying if at first you do not succeed try and try again has a new meaning for me now. In addition, I learned that there is a whole group of women (LPGA) who want to help you and support you. I thought this was the most incredible thing because they really didn’t know me, yet they were willing and are still willing to be there for me and help me achieve my goals. It is a great support net to have.
But I will also remember how much fun I had. I was fortunate enough to meet with some highly influential women, watch professional golf, and help with a LPGA Girls Golf Clinic and so much more all in one weekend!!
Golf is not only a game for life, but a game about life. Because golf is a game of integrity, you can learn so much about a person’s character just from playing one-round of golf with them. Thus, every golfer has the opportunity to be a leader on the golf course. They can be a leader when people are watching by displaying proper etiquette and keeping a positive attitude through challenging rounds. In addition, they can be a leader when nobody's watching. This is about showing honor and integrity on the golf course by calling penalties on yourself when you make a mistake when no one saw it.
In addition, golf is like life because you learn how to make crucial decisions under pressure. In golf, you have to approach every shot and try to take risk out of the equation. Deciding whether to go over water or lay-up is an example. If you know you can get over than go over, however if you know it could be close, take risk out and just lay up. These same principles of problem solving can be applied to life. You need to learn how to analyze a situation and make a logical decision.
It was so fun and enriching!! I had so much fun while also learning a lot, which is a very difficult combo to have. This is definitely something that was once-in-a lifetime and I am so grateful to have been a part of it. Plus, it was so cool to see golfers that you watch on TV up close and in person!
Meghan McPeak's Blog
The best thing about the VIP experience was being able to meet the men and women who work behind the scenes to make each LPGA event possible. When you are watching golf on TV, your primary focus is on the women and their play, you never think about the countless crew members who make it possible for you to watch the match. It was truly amazing to meet the people in the media room, fitness and club repair truck, and the foundation board members, and learn each of their roles in the LPGA.
I never knew what all went on behind-the-scenes; I learned the most while in the television production truck. I was unaware of just how many components were necessary for viewers to watch LPGA golf. There was an audio crew that altered and enhanced sounds, and a film crew who broadcasted what we see on TV. Then in the media center you saw a social media crew that did round the clock Tweeting or Facebook updates on the round.
What I will take away from the weekend is that women can succeed. During the VIP experience, I was able to meet many powerful women. They held corporate positions, and they all overcame adversity to stand where they do today. It was awe inspiring to hear the story of how they made it, and listen to the renewed confidence each of them had found. Through their stories, I was again reassured of the lessons that the LPGA Leadership Academy taught me. Be confident, and you will you succeed.
As an alum of the Leadership Academy, I learned to be “unapologetically you.” You do not have to be afraid of failing, but more importantly, you do not have to be afraid of succeeding. Being fitted into the stereotypes of a women can often limit ladies from reaching their full potential, and instead of being put into a cookie cutter form, we should all strive to each our absolute best. Throughout our lives, we will face countless obstacles, and the important thing is not how many times you fail, but how many times you pick yourself up and continue to strive towards your goals.
I will most definitely let other girls know that because of golf, I was able to succeed in unimaginable ways. Because of the LPGA, I was given a once in a lifetime experience to not only watch LPGA professionals play, but also watch LPGA board and crew members make the experience happen. I want to tell them that this experience opened my eyes to just how much women can accomplish if they put their mind to it.