Heidi Richardson, PGA
What do I want to do on Mother’s Day? You guessed it: play golf! And my ideal Mother’s Day would be three generations out for 18 holes – me, my daughter, and of course, my mother. Looking back, I owe my childhood experiences, my skills, my passion for the game, and even my career as a PGA Professional and coach to my mom. I was extremely fortunate that I was introduced to the game at a very young age, and had total support and guidance to continue developing and growing. The support of my family and dedication of my mother helped develop my lifelong commitment to golf. I was offered unrestricted access to golf practice and play each week, instruction and guidance from the most qualified coaches, taxi service to hundreds of golf events and tournaments, and much more.
As a youngster, I began swimming in the pool at the local golf course, then found my way to the putting green. Next, I asked my parents if I could ride on the cart while they played and eventually asked for my own clubs and started swinging. It was a family day and soon I realized that I had the backing of my parents, and thus began my life in golf.
My mother is now 88 years old, and still plays golf weekly, enjoying her time on the course more than anything else. When we play together, we smile at each other with great appreciation for our shared love of the game. We take selfies on many beautiful holes, talk about our latest activities, accomplishments, undertakings, and more. I love to take videos of her playing and am just delighted to see her solid swing knocking the ball down the fairway – not to mention making all the pressure putts!
This background and gift from my mother led me to my career as a PGA Golf Professional and teacher. My passion has allowed me to develop a thriving junior golf school and LPGA/USGA Girls Golf program at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, in San Diego County. Growing the game and developing a successful junior golf program is a responsibility and commitment for many PGA Professionals, and this young demographic represents one of my extremely successful programs.
Utilizing the support and model of the National LPGA Girls Golf program, I have been able to engage and encourage young girls, welcoming them to my Girls Golf group for golf instruction and other fun activities. The FIVE E’s are one important focus: Empower, Enrich, Engage, Energize, and Exercise. We spend each week working on all areas of golf swing skills, learning Rules and etiquette, and practicing the Five E’s. The standards, principles, and ideals that I institute in all of my instruction programs, as well as my personal life, were founded upon the skills I learned as a junior golfer, and I am honored to pass those on to my juniors.
As we approach Mother’s Day each year, I am eager and enthusiastic to plan a very special event to welcome many new women to the game, and to see the supportive leadership of the juniors, as they invite their moms to join in. Many of the junior girls in the program are 100 percent beginners, with perhaps only a few weeks or months of golf experience. But when moms arrive to join our special Mother’s Day Girls Golf event, they look like mini tour pros! I see five- and six-year olds taking mom by the hands to approve the perfect grip, and then describe how to make a ‘Y’ with their arms, finally ordering a ‘tic toc’ swing for the perfect putting stroke. It is pure delight for me to see these sweet daughters teaching their moms how to swing while the moms hold back tears of joy.
Recently, the husband of one special mom in my program purchased golf clubs for her, and is now thrilled that his daughter is enjoying the game as well. They’ve had several family golf outings and “had a blast”! They are now hoping to have their younger daughter join the game, but as many moms report, it is sometimes difficult to squeeze golf into their busy family schedule.
The feedback this mom shares just thrills me! She is ecstatic, and recognizes a great confidence growing in her daughter. She sees how the positive feedback and cheers that her daughter receives have played a significant role in that growing self-esteem. This young lady responds best to activities where the outcome is directly based on her input, hard work, and dedication, and golf fits that model perfectly.
This is just one family of course, but their experience summarizes my goals, my career, and my personal life philosophy. It is the ultimate reward of my career as a PGA golf teacher. I love to see perfect golf swings and low scores; but this is the real meaning of the game and the foundation of my business.
As this difficult time continues, and we endure the current COVID-19 crisis, I am waiting for the business of golf to re-open, so I can be a part of the healing of our great community. For me, the true meaning of golf, and life, is love!
My mother taught me that!
Happy Mother’s Day! I hope you’re able to get out there and enjoy the game.
Heidi Richardson is a Class A member of the PGA of America, and a PGA golf instructor at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course in Encinitas, California. She has been playing golf since the age of 5, having been introduced to the game by her mother, with whom she still plays today. Heidi was a member of the UCLA Bruins Women’s golf team, graduating in 1988, and has been a PGA member since 1995. She has earned several PGA Section and Chapter awards for Junior Golf and Player Development.
To learn more about Heidi Richardson, log on to her website at http://www.heidirichardsongolf.com/.