Velocity Global, the Official Global Work Platform of the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour (LET), is proud to sponsor the Velocity Global Impact Award. This honor will celebrate players who have helped to grow the sport of golf and to inspire the next generation of athletes to have a positive impact on the world.
Throughout each season, the LPGA and LET will celebrate players and their efforts in giving back to the world and their local communities off the golf course. Toward the end of each season, the LPGA will produce a list of nominees, and the Velocity Global Impact Award Committee will name three players as Award finalists. Each finalist will be featured in a docuseries-style content piece sharing their personal story and impact on the game. The winner will be determined through a combination of a fan vote and voting by the committee, and will be announced annually on International Women’s Day, March 8.
Mel Reid – The Power of Caring and Identity
Mel Reid says she “has kind of always worked hard.” She has tended the bar of Chevin Golf Club in Derby, England; regained her status for the LPGA Tour in 2018; lifted heavier weights at the gym than most of her fellow Tour players; dealt with loss and grief; taken care of her people; and fought for LGBTQ+ causes.
“I got a job as soon as I could. When I was 14, I waitressed at the club for a couple of years to get cheap access to golf and I worked at the gym of the nearby hotel to try to be a personal trainer,” remembers Reid, whose precocious professional career has always been interconnected with sports and exercise.
“I come from a very athletic family. My dad still runs marathons at age 60. I wanted to be a professional football (soccer) player, skier, snowboarder since I could walk,” said Reid, who started going to the gym at 15. She added that she has always been interested in the body and fascinated by athletes and how they train.
Reid’s passion for golf started when the boy mates she used to play football with took her to the golf course. “We used to play 45 holes a day. I spent most of my days, even Christmas, at the golf club,” she said. “I have very fond memories of my parents being at the bar and we’d be on the putting green till dark.”
Since the start of her golf career, her dad, Brian, who caddied for her in the 2007 AIG Women’s Open, where she finished as the low amateur, and her mom, Joy, were her number one supporters and fans. But that changed in 2012, the year Joy lost her life in a car accident on her way to watch her daughter compete in Germany.
“Grief is a funny thing. It changes you and you’ve just got to be comfortable with who you are going to change into. You can change into the right side and let it make you a better person. It can be almost your armor,” she said. Reid worked hard to steer her course after overcoming a period adrift “trying to mask it in different ways, the worst thing I could have done.
“Some days are harder than others, but every day is a little bit of a fight when you go through something like that,” added Reid, who found her “caring superpower” through grieving and remembering her mother. “I am like my mother in that I always want to help. I do believe that’s a gift I have been given.”
Reid is applying that gift to many facets of her life, starting with her relationship with her dad, who she considers now “more of a mate than a dad,” and her extensive family. “I am extremely protective of my family, which includes my close friends,” she said.
And she is using that superpower to inspire and support her community. “If I could just help one person get through something they are dealing with sexual orientation or inclusion, I feel like I have had a purpose in this world and that’s my main goal,” said Reid, an outspoken advocate of LGBTQ+ rights who has worked with Athlete Ally, an organization working to end homophobia and transphobia in sports.
“When you first realize your sexual orientation, to say it to so many people actually makes it harder,” said Reid, who married Carly Grenfell Reid in April 2022. “I have never said, ‘Hey I’m gay.’ I have just always introduced Carly as my girlfriend and now my wife.” Reid even thanks her spouse for directing so much of her current platform. “I take a lot of pride, but Carly is actually the brain behind everything.”
Reid’s activism on LGBTQ+ rights is based on a message she repeats to herself and the people who come to her for support: “I am proud of who I am, and you should be proud of who you are. There’s only one of you and you just can try to be the best version of you.” It is a message she is working hard at conveying to people inside the sports industry and the golf world.
“I would like to see a little more support for Pride Month both from the LPGA and the PGA Tour. People might correct me, but I think it is easier for women to come out about their sexuality and it is extremely difficult for men in the sports industry,” said Reid. “You don’t need to be out there with a big rainbow flag on, but just be a little more sensitive to the subject.”
Reid has found that sensitivity and support in her team, her partners and her sponsors. “I am very fortunate and proud to have a team and sponsors completely behind me in my projects and completely allied to my beliefs,” added Reid.
This June, Reid is sporting a hat from Pega Systems that features the company’s logo in rainbow colors. She also collaborated with Grant Thornton to create a yardage book embossed with the phrase “Be Proud, Be You.” Reid is using this backing from her supportive partners to dream of new projects.
“I would like to start a nonprofit clothing brand for the LGBTQ+ community. It has been done, but I would love to get some of the girls and maybe some of the guys involved,” said Reid, referring to her many family members on the LPGA Tour and her friendship with major champion Brooks Koepka and gold-medalist swimmer Michael Phelps.
Mel Reid is happy to her part by caring and working hard on her golf, her fitness, her family and her power to promote a world where people are not discriminated “because of who they love.”