Letter From the Editor: A Five-Star Experience

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Letter From the Editor: A Five-Star Experience

How an experience worthy of a five-star Yelp review turned my cousin into a self-declared "golfer"
A Five Star Review
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Written By:

Ashleigh McLaughlin

Ashleigh is the Managing Director of the LPGA Women's Network. She's a former collegiate golfer with a degree in Marketing and Communications from Florida State University. When she's not crafting content, you can find her doing the Cupid Shuffle at an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf clinic.

Over the years, my younger cousin Megan and I have made a tradition of getting together during our holiday breaks to explore the hidden gems in our local area of Central Florida. We’ve taken obscure group classes recommended by Groupon, dined at hole-in-the-wall restaurants we came across on Yelp, and spent countless afternoons bouncing between cutesy boutiques downtown.

Each time we get together, I learn something new from Megan, a sweet and vivacious 20-something who before my eyes has grown up and out of diapers and directly into the “cool” girl. Over the years she’s imparted her Generation Z wisdom upon me, teaching me how to navigate SnapChat, what the term “woke” means, and how to effortlessly rock a pair of gladiator sandals.

So, when the opportunity to introduce Megan to golf arose, a sport I’ve loved for most of my life, I couldn’t miss the chance to teach her something new of my own (beyond just how to order sushi and write a killer cover letter). Last month we swapped our scheduled painting class for a day at Celebration Golf Club in Orlando for their #inviteHER event.

I’ll admit, as the day approached I was nervous. I knew how important a good first experience could be for turning someone onto – or completely off of – golf. Would Megan like it? Find the pace too slow for her tastes? Or worse off, would the day turn into a terrible meme she would end up Snapchatting to all of her friends?

Thankfully, Celebration Golf Club did not disappoint. As a matter of fact, they over-delivered an experience that was truly remarkable.

When the afternoon came, we showed up to the entryway of the golf course to a red carpet, which we’ve never seen at any Groupon class. A welcome committee of staff and volunteers lined the walkway to greet guests, pointing us in the direction of check-in, the ladies room, and the restaurant. Racks of ladies’ golf clothing lined the red carpet, showcasing an array of styles from colorful and sporty to frilly and down-right couture. There were enough options to keep the more than 70 attendees who came out to enjoy the day happy, many of whom, just like Megan, were invited by a friend to try golf for the very first time.

After I taught Megan the basics of the swing on the driving range, we enjoyed the company of a mother-daughter duo for three holes of golf. Like us, they were using Celebration’s #inviteHER event as a way to ditch their routine of bonding over food and shopping for a day outside, trying something new. We enjoyed some good old-fashioned belly laughing on the course with our new friends before heading to the restaurant to dine on jerk-chicken sandwiches (the perfect meal for these Caribbean girls) and taking in the ambiance of the live music coordinated by the club.

Myself, Megan, and our LPGA Instructor (also coincidentally named, Megan!)

At a cost of just $10 to participate in a clinic, with access to rental clubs and three holes of golf on a gorgeous course, Celebration Golf Club’s event was the best deal I had ever come across in my 20+ years of being a golfer, and as an avid Groupon-er. And to my pleasant surprise, Megan couldn’t wait to post photos from her time on the course and to tell her friends that she was now, a quote-unquote “golfer.”

That evening, Megan admitted that she had always wanted to try “real” golf. Surprised, it quickly occurred to me that despite our love for sharing experiences with one another, I had never considered inviting her to the golf course with me. Before the #inviteHER experience, I could have come up with a dozen reasons why I thought she may not have enjoyed golf – but that day proved there were a million reasons for her to love golf just as much as I did. What had seemed inaccessible to Megan before, and not “cool” enough for Megan in my eyes was now something we enjoyed doing together.

I’m grateful to the golf course for hosting a welcoming event, and to Megan for saying yes. The experience helped us solidify a new tradition for this next chapter of our local adventures – golf course hopping! 🙂 I’m excited to see where it takes us, and highly recommend that the next time you make plans with your friends or family members, you consider bringing them along with you for some bonding time on the golf course.

Happy golfing!

Ashleigh's Signature

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