Estela Morales Segarra has an Unwavering Passion to Bring More Latinas to Golf

Estela Morales Segarra, LPGA Class A Professional at Keney Park and Goodwin Park in Connecticut, is a true inspiration for many when it comes to growing the game of golf. With endless amounts of certifications, an elevated example for the LPGA, as well as an advocate for Latinas in golf, her story of how she got to where she is today is a remarkable one.

Introduced to the game at age eight through her father, Morales Segarra instantly fell in love with golf, soon competing in Junior Golf events in her native home, Mexico. “I came in third in the first tournament I ever played, and it made me feel confident, like I was good at this,” said Morales Segarra. She found herself at the course day after day, often practicing with the boys and a couple other girls. Then, later joined the Mexican Amateurs Female Golfers Association.

Like many little girls in Mexico, Nancy Lopez was her inspiration growing up. “She was on top of the world at the time, and I remember my dad pointing Nancy Lopez out as another Latina golfer,” she said. “My father bought me my first set of clubs, a Nancy Lopez set, when he saw how much I loved the game.”

Morales Segarra came to the United States in 2007 knowing very little English. She moved to Hartford, Connecticut in April, began studying and by December she was already speaking the language. “I didn’t know many people when I came from Mexico,” said Morales Segarra. “But speaking Spanish really opened doors with the Latino community in Hartford.” With her accounting background, she discovered that golf was a great way to meet with people and instantly make connections in a new country.

When she joined the Goodwin and Stanley Golf Course leagues in Hartford, she noticed there were few Latina golfers. Morales Segarra connected with Carmen Sierra, Hartford City Treasurer and Lena Rodriguez, CEO and President of Connecticut Renewal Team.  In 2018, this trio founded the CT Latinas Golf Team. “We really wanted to see more Latinas out on the course,” said Morales Segarra. And now, the CT Latinas Golf Team is made up of 70% Latina members, but all are welcome and invited to join.

When they first launched the girls’ program, members reached out offering to sponsor younger players who wanted to participate, facilitating access, and growing the program. A partnership with the First Tee Connecticut made the program affordable. As an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Site Director, Morales Segarra works with CT Latinas Golf Team volunteers Pat Williams, Glorimar Hickman and Kaila Hickman to coach and mentor these young Latina golfers in body and mind.

“It’s all about enjoying the game. I know the good feeling of hitting your driver,” she said. “So, when my student’s do that, it makes me very happy.” Even though she has never made a hole-in-one herself, she takes pride in knowing two of her students achieved this tremendous accomplishment.

As her passion for coaching sparked from working with the First Tee Connecticut Program, Northeast Performance Institute and Latina Community, her co-founder friends and mentors like PGA Peter Egazarian and LPGA Dr. Nicole Damarjian encouraged her to apply to become certified by the LPGA. Normally a five-year long program, Segarra earned her A Professionals Class A membership in just two years, exactly on the day of her father’s birthday, making it even more special.

Inspired by her mother and blessed by God, the support received from her family, mentors, and her enthusiastic community keep her driving for more. When a new opportunity arises, she is eager to step up and contribute in any way she can.

Segarra earned her certification as a Cardio Golf Instructor, Girls Golf Site Director, and even a PGA HOPE Certified Instructor for Veterans. A veteran proposed the idea of starting a clinic for women veterans in the community. “They were having trouble finding resources to pay for the course and instruction, so I decided to volunteer and coach them myself,” she said. With support from the PGA Connecticut Section, she launched the program a couple of months later. 

What is most important to her is that everyone is enjoying learning golf, and they are bringing the community together out on the course.

In addition, she is certified as a First Tee Golf Coach, US Kids Golf Coach, and an Operation 36 Program Instructor. “People say, I can’t believe you have time to do it all,” she said. But Morales Segarra always finds a way.

She even finds time to golf with her son Christian, whom she introduced to the game when he was 4 years old. In collaboration with CTLGT and Active City FREE for boys and girls Hartford Residents, Morales Segarra launched yet another program with her son to encourage children to be active through sports.

 “The LPGA changed my life, and I want others to have a similar transformational experience like mine. We also need to recruit more Latinas to become LPGA Professionals in the golf industry. Growing the Latina Golfers Community with the CT Latina Golf Team Co-Founders is a huge accomplishment,” affirmed Morales Segarra. “I feel blessed to have the support of my husband, Fernando Segarra, my family, friends, CT Latinas Golf Team amigas and many LPGA Professionals colleagues along the way.”

Morales Segarra believes her success comes down to one simple secret: feeling blessed and happy. Follow your passions with good intentions, and things work out. It is her unwavering passion for the game that makes her such an inspiration not only for the industry, but for the Latino community.