I have been extremely fortunate to teach at a number of clinics with the legendary Nancy Lopez. She gives back to the game more than any female professional I know of.
Before I talk about all her contributions to the game since she retired, I want to talk about her career.
Nancy’s dad, Domingo, introduced her to the game at an early age. He was her only teacher, and she had an extremely unorthodox swing that was repeatable and reliable.
Her dad always emphasized to Nancy to “play happy.”
Nancy took the LPGA tour by storm in 1978 when she played in 26 tournaments and won nine times. She won five straight tournaments, a feat that I don’t think will ever be matched.
She won 48 LPGA tournaments during her career, including three major tournaments. She was LPGA Player of the Year four times. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and LPGA Hall of Fame in 1987.
Nancy had it all – a fantastic golf game, an outgoing personality and a beautiful smile. The media and galleries loved her. Nancy gave life to the LPGA tour. She was able to play professional golf at the highest level for more than 25 years and still become the mother of three daughters.
Since retiring from playing professional golf, Nancy has ventured into many other areas of the golf industry. She is the golf architect for a 27-hole course at The Villages in Florida. The course has received rave reviews for being playable for golfers of all levels of ability.
Nancy has her own golf company that sells ladies golf clubs and clothing. She caters to women of all sizes. Her clubs and clothes can be used by women who are petite as well as plus-size women who need clothes that fit for a comfortable round of golf.
Her latest venture is Nancy Lopez Adventures, a company that does golf clinics and outings around the country. She will have a trip to St. Andrews, Scotland, next May that I hope to attend. If you want to know more about her Adventures, visit her website at www.nancylopezgolfadventures.com.
Nancy gives back to young girls each year by attending the LPGA Girls Golf National Academy. Her clinic for the girls is very inspirational, and the young girls are so engaged and impressed by her charisma.
The LPGA tour needs another Nancy. They need an American woman who can embrace the fans and beat the foreign players who have taken over the tour.
It is my hope that one of the young girls who are attending the LPGA/USGA Girls golf clubs at over 270 sites will become the next Nancy Lopez.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional at Sun City Hilton Head. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.golfdoctorjean.com