Guest Blog: Former LPGA National Coach of the Year--Shelly Haywood

January 16, 2013

With such a well-known and respected member of the professional golf world on our team, we thought we should get to know her a little better. So we put together a little interview for the talented LPGA Teaching Professional, Shelly Haywood. She shares her most memorable moments from her golf career, where she is now and much more!

PS-Shelly will be at our booth at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando on January 24th. Come by our booth (#1610) and say hi and to check out our show specials!

ScoreBand[SB]: How did you start playing golf and at what age?

Shelly: Both my parents were avid golfers. My mom was her club champion several times and I remember my father taking me to the putting green on the weekends to putt with him when I was very little.  Some of my earliest memories are when my mom would drop me of at my grandmother’s on Thursday mornings because she was going ‘goofing’ as I called it. I started getting serious about it around high school, but we didn’t have a girls golf team so I didn’t play. I was involved in Volleyball, Basketball and Softball, so I didn’t have much time to play golf until my other sports were over. I broke par less than a year after I started playing seriously.

SB: Tell us a little about your golf career?

Shelly: Hmmm, well… The golf bug hit me when I was a freshman in college. I attended Utah State University and I was on the volleyball team. I injured my back and shoulder and decided that I could probably make a better career from golf than volleyball. I always wanted to teach and play a sport and I was studying to be a coach. I transferred to New Mexico State University and enrolled in the PGA’s Professional Golf Management Program and was a walk-on player on the women’s team my first year. I thank Paul Brilliant, my coach at the time who gave me the chance. He didn’t have to let me walk on, but he did and I am forever grateful. I worked really hard and became a scholarship athlete after that. I really wasn’t that great of a player in college, but I outworked everyone and it paid off. I managed to be an All Big West ConferenceSelection my senior year. I’m a much better player now, ironically. I became only the second female graduate of NMSU’s PGM program and was able to get a job right away. I worked in Colorado at Perry Park Country Club for 2 years then moved to Tucson Country Club in 1993 where I started teaching. I was there for over 10 years and I was then hired by the University of Arizona and was the coach there for 6 years. (3 as an assistant and 3 as the head coach). I played several mini tour events and 2 LPGA events during those years but my love was teaching. I found that playing for my mortgage was a bit stressful on me and figured out I was a much better teacher.

SB: What is your favorite course to play?

Shelly: Believe it or not, that is a really difficult question. I have been fortunate enough to play some of the greatest golf courses in the world.  I’d have to say that I have a love of links courses. I love Shinnecock Hills, Cypress Point, Nantucket Golf Club, Turnberry in Scotland and The Old Course at St. Andrews as well as Kingsbarns, just up the road from the Old Course in St. Andrews. I also love Sand Hills in Nebraska and Pebble Beach. My favorite traditional courses would be Merion, Chicago Golf Club or Somerset Hills. It’s too difficult to pick just one. I seem to like the ones near the Ocean. My favorite course in Tucson is Tucson Country Club. It’s traditional and fun.  You can play every day and walk.

SB: What is your favorite thing about teaching?

Shelly: The smiles and the little victories. I really love the feeling you get when you help someone and they are so excited and genuinely happy. Oh, and your office is the golf course!

SB: What are you doing currently?

Shelly: Hahaha, what am I NOT doing? Well, my friends call me an ‘entrepreneur’. Since leaving U of A, I have a lot of irons in the fire.  I’m still teaching and I run a junior camp in the summer in Tucson using SNAG Golf. I’m on SNAG’s National Advisory Board and I’m one of their national trainers. I also maintain two different websites and started my own photography business last year.  If you’re interested in seeing my work, my website is www.shellyhaywood.com. That’s been challenging but a lot fun. I photograph mostly portraits, weddings and families but I love travel photography too. I have a new opportunity the first of the year to be involved with a new apparel company and I’m looking forward to that also.

SB: Besides golf, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Shelly: I love photography and I also like to be outdoors. Travel is a big one for me too. I want to go on a month long photography expedition somewhere exotic and far away. I also LOVE the ocean and the beach and get away to my favorite beach spots as much as possible. I also like to pheasant hunt. I go to northern Baja Mexico and the hunting is awesome down there. I’m not gonna brag, but I’m a pretty good shot. I think the golf definitely helps the concentration and hand eye skills you need to be a good shooter.

SB: What’s your favorite memory thus far of the LPGA?

Shelly: There are a lot of good memories, but probably my favorite was when I was awarded the 2005 LPGA’s National Coach of the Year.  I was honored in front of my peers who voted and was able to speak about my passion for the game and what it meant to me. It was truly an honor and I am proud of that accomplishment. I also love my LPGA friends. I have made lifelong friends through the LPGA and enjoy whenever we can get together.

SB: What are your thoughts on ScoreBand?

Shelly: I love ScoreBand. I wear it whenever I teach and even hike or just play outdoors. I think it can really help students if they use it correctly to track their scores or stats. It’s something that everyone can use and benefit from. I love it because I normally don’t wear a watch or jewelry when I play and I can wear this one all the time. I’ve even used it to keep score in Cornhole! And those games can get pretty heated when you ‘forget’ what the scores are.






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