The bottom line
Lindsay Knowlton is a former Ontario Amateur champion and member of Golf Canada’s National team. She attended Ohio State University on a golf scholarship where she earned All-America honours and a marketing degree. Following graduation, Knowlton decided she didn’t want to pursue a career as a professional golfer and went to work for TaylorMade adidas Golf, followed by stints at LANG Marketing and Puma. A chance encounter with a business executive was the impetus for her to start Iron Lady Golf – a program that helps women learn to play and gain the confidence required to be a lifetime participant.
How did Iron Lady Golf get started?
One day I was having lunch in a restaurant with a friend of mine and explaining to her this concept I had for helping women overcome their fear of learning to play golf and how they could get more comfortable and confident with it. My mom wanted to play but didn’t know anybody at our club and didn’t feel like she could fit into that competitive environment. Some guy overheard our conversation and when he got up to leave he handed me his card and apologized for eavesdropping but said he was intrigued by our discussion and asked me to call him. It turned out that “the guy” was a senior executive at one of Canada’s largest insurance companies. Not long after that I was speaking to a group of women executives at his company and encouraging them to get into the game. That led to speaking to more corporate groups and offering clinics at private clubs.
What’s it all about?
Iron Lady Golf was developed to help women feel more comfortable and confident on the golf course and be open to golf invitations. Women don’t want to be excluded from the opportunity of using golf as a tool for networking and business development as well as social and recreational time with their spouse, family and friends. Iron Lady Golf teaches women basic knowledge of the game, both on and off the course and puts them in a position to say “Yes” to golf. It’s for more than beginners too. We have advanced clinics that help players of all abilities improve their golf skills and ultimately, their comfort level and confidence on the golf course.
Why don’t more women take up the game?
It’s often difficult for golfers, especially private club members, to imagine anyone being intimidated by a golf course. The people are all so friendly, everybody is having a great time, and it’s really a fun place to be. Yet for a lot of non-golfers, the idea of learning new skills as an adult and looking foolish in front of strangers is enough to keep them away from the game. Not to mention that there seems to be a lot of rules both on the course and in the clubhouse; and everybody else appears to be way ahead on the learning curve. That’s a pile of inhibitions to overcome for even the boldest rookies. We have clinics for total beginners that are designed to familiarize students with the pro shop, the clubhouse and the range; then on to understanding what each club is for; and finally to the essentials of the swing. It’s all done in a fun, relaxed manner so students are comfortable with the game and their surroundings. We even have complimentary rental sets of clubs on hand so all a student has to do is show up.
So, it’s about more than just golf?
Absolutely. Iron Lady Golf isn’t just about golf. It’s about empowering women to learn something new, build new relationships and enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle. It doesn’t stop there either. This past winter I took groups on retreats to the Dominican Republic, Bermuda and Arizona. The retreats are a mix of instruction, golf, yoga, fitness, nutrition and a lot of socializing. In the DR we had one woman who had never been on a golf course before but she could chip and putt, so she rode the cart and when we got to a green, that’s what she did. Even though she couldn’t play the full course, we made her part of the group and she had a fantastic time. In fact, when the retreat was over, she was the first to ask when the next one was.”
What do you want women to take away from an Iron Lady Golf clinic?
Our clinics are learning experiences but they’re fun too. I hope everybody walks away with new friends and an appreciation for golf as part of a healthier, active lifestyle. The most important thing is for them to achieve a level of confidence that will always let them say yes to golf.
To learn more about Iron Lady Golf including upcoming clinics in the GTA and Muskoka, visit the website at www.ironladygolf.com