The month of March is Women’s History Month and the Central New York PGA is observing this special month by giving a voice to locally-connected women involved in golf on a variety of levels.
The CNY PGA celebrates all the amazing women who are making a difference in golf and beyond. Here are their stories and accomplishments.
Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Famer
Seven-time NYSGA champion
Six-time AIM Women’s champion
Golf role model: I really didn’t take up golf until my early 30s. Having played team sports my entire life, I liked the idea of a sport where I didn’t need teammates to work on my game. Having said that, an individual that has been a mentor and truly inspires me is Sue Sims. Sue has competed and won at every level. Her game and talent are undeniable but her demeanor, encouragement, and awesome sense of humor are invaluable. I have had the opportunity and privilege to play golf with Sue so many times over the years, and there is never a better day on the golf course! To me, she is the GOAT!
How women influenced golf: It’s exciting to see how many young girls are playing golf (including my granddaughters!). Not only is it exciting that more women are playing, but there are more women working in the golf profession also. There is such a big surge in women’s golf products that I think women feel welcomed and included in golf stores and pro shops.
What inspires you: The challenge of this game of golf. I understand the difficulty and know that you can never find perfection, but I feel it gives me the opportunity to improve and try every day!
2022 CNY PGA Junior Female Player of the Year
Golf role model: I have quite a few golf role models. My parents, who got me introduced to the game and support me dearly and keep me going. Jack Conger, PGA, who has helped me the past couple of years. He has so much respect and kindness and he got me to a good point. Currently, I go to Turning Stone to work with Marty Nowicki, PGA. I’ve been working with Marty for a short amount of time, but he has truly changed my game. He is beyond respectful and knows how to brighten up your day. Finally, Martha Wells. If it weren’t for her, I don’t know where I would have been. She was my coach for Junior PGA as well as introduced me to Marty. Martha constantly has a smile on her face and is truly a role model, I definitely look up to her. I thank all of them so much, they have pushed me to do my best and have improved my game tremendously.
How women influenced the golf industry: Women have shown that they can work independently and work hard. Back in time, golf was a male dominated sport. Women stepped in and proved to men that they had what it took. Women are strong and work hard at what they do. They have also led and inspired young children to go down the path of this sport while developing respect and manors along the way.
What inspires you: One thing that I tell myself and which has inspired me along the way is saying, “Do the best you can, and don’t get upset if you hit a bad shot because It happens, even to the world’s best players.”
MEGHAN MC KEEN
CNY PGA Volunteer
Grad student, LeMoyne College women’s golf team
Golf role model: It would definitely be my grandfather. Although we never had the opportunity to play a round together, he has greatly influenced the way I approach the game. Not only was he incredibly passionate about golf, but he always kept things in perspective, remembering to enjoy every moment. Each time I play, I have him in mind.
What inspires you: My coaches and teammates, past and present, inspire me every day. They’ve recognized potential when I didn’t always see it in myself. The dedication and passion they bring to the game continually pushes me to be better than I was the day before. The support and encouragement I’ve been given as a student-athlete has allowed me to grow as a person and inspired me to become a better leader.
The influence women have had in golf: It’s great to see the positive impact women continue to have in the golf industry. Over the summer, I have the privilege to coach with The First Tee. The week-long girls camp in August is one of my favorite programs. I enjoy sharing the passion I have for the game with junior golfers. They’re able to learn about the game while having fun and it’s rewarding to see their smiles!
CBS golf announcer
17-time LPGA Tour winner
Author of “Letters to a Future Champion”
Golf role model: My golf role model while I was growing up was Seve Ballesteros. I believe you’ll find a lot of why I looked up to him in my book (Letters to a Future Champion). I would add to that Judy Rankin as a competitor, broadcaster and “grass ceiling” breaker wherever she went— all while being a mother, wife and breast cancer survivor. She was recently described as being “as normal as she is nice.”
The influence of women in golf: Women have influenced the golf industry in many ways: from to coaches/teachers, to architects (think Marion Hollins at Cypress Point, Pasatiempo and Augusta National), to leaders in the boardroom, broadcasters, and now gaining significant steam in the turf grass industry. There really is not a part of the industry they have NOT influenced.
Her daily inspiration: I’m inspired to be better tomorrow than I am today… every day.
JACKIE CANNIZZO, PGA
Executive Director of C5 Georgia Youth Foundation
President of the Esther Cannizzo Junior Golf Foundation
Golf role model: Joe Tesori Sr. Joe taught me the value of building relationships along with helping people enjoy and love the game of golf. I owe much of my success in the game of golf to his support and guidance over the years. He was my teacher, my boss and my mentor. Joe taught me how to help people learn the game for themselves and to love the game even when things aren’t going your way. He is the most welcoming person in the golf world. He always promoted women and diversity in the game. He always treated everyone the same, with dignity and respect. My love for the game of golf was stoked by spending many years under his tutelage
The influence of women in golf: Unfortunately, women are still fighting for respect in the game of golf. The industry has always catered to a certain segment of the population. I think that women who have succeeded in the golf industry have either had to work twice as hard as the men or clubs were forced to support us or women were hired or promoted as a token. That was the reason I started my women’s program called Dare to Golf. This program helped hundreds of women take their seat in the cart and I don’t mean the beverage cart. I love the game, but the industry has a long way to go in the fight for equality.
What inspires you: I am inspired by people that are able to rise above circumstances in life that are challenging. Whether its overcoming financial hardships, discrimination, gender inequality, illness, tragedy, etc. Also I am inspired by people that are brave and will fight for what is right.