Busy Lisa Chandler Still Loves the Game
This is one in a series of articles profiling women in golf in the Sandhills.
Lisa Chandler has been making news in golf since her early teens. She was one of the standouts for the fledgling First Tee of the Sandhills Chapter and has remained active in that organization as a volunteer even after graduation from college.
Chandler made national news when she represented The First Tee of the Sandhills in the Champions Tour Walmart-Open Pro-Am, where she was paired with the legendary Arnold Palmer at Pebble Beach.
She holds the distinction of being the youngest winner of the Moore County Women’s Amateur Championship, which she won in 2007 at the age of 18.
Although currently working in Chicago as part of the group organizing the upcoming Ryder Cup next month, she made time for the following interview:
Q. You won the Moore County Women’s Amateur in 2007. Which course was that on, and how old were you? What’s your most vivid memory of that event?
A. The course was Beacon Ridge Country Club and I was 18. I think for me it was when I received the trophy. It means a lot to me to have won the Moore Country Women’s Amateur, and it is special that my name will always be on the trophy.
Q. Although you were home-schooled and didn’t play high school golf, you earned a scholarship to High Point University and played four years. But you never seemed to enjoy the experience that much. I know you love golf, so what was going on?
A. For some reason, for almost two years of the experience I lost my drive, which was always the strongest part of my game. After that, it became a mental battle for me that I was never able to fully recover from.
Despite my struggles, I am very glad that I had the opportunity to play golf at the Division I level for four years and am thankful for the wonderful people I met while on the team.
Q. You haven’t played in the Moore Women’s event for the past few years. Do you think you’ll ever regain your love for tournament golf and compete again? I know you still have a strong game.
A. I would never say never, but I played golf under pressure for so long that I don’t think I want to play competitively anytime soon. I am really enjoying playing golf for fun with my family and friends. I especially love playing in charity events.
Q. You’ve been active with The First Tee forever, or at least since the Sandhills Chapter was formed. Can you talk a little about what the organization has meant to you and why you still work with the kids?
A. The First Tee is a great organization, and I have met so many amazing people throughout my involvement. I love kids and I love golf, so it’s a perfect organization for me to be involved in. I want to positively impact as many kids as I can. Learning golf can be very frustrating, so I try to make it as fun as possible. I am known for singing Disney songs with the kids.
Q. I know you recently acquired another college degree and are going to be starting a career within the next few months. What is that career, and why did you choose it?
A. I just completed my Masters of Education in Sport Administration. Currently, I am in Chicago working the Ryder Cup. It’s great being involved with such a special event. I want to either work in golf or college athletics. I don’t have anything full-time lined up yet, but have some exciting possibilities.
Q. Your family has been very supportive of your golf career. Can you talk about the roles they have played and what that support has meant to you?
A. My family has been so supportive throughout my golf career. First off, they chose to home-school my brother and me even though that wasn’t the easy choice. In junior golf, they traveled everywhere with me. They were there for my greatest golf moment, playing with Arnold Palmer at Pebble, and for my lowest moments, in college golf.
They traveled to over 30 collegiate golf tournaments and were always anxiously waiting by the phone for me to call after my team tournament qualifiers. I could not have done it without their love and support.
Q. Outside of family, who do you credit most for helping create your interest and love for golf?
A. I was a competitive gymnast until I was 13 and hurt my back, so I didn’t really start playing golf until I was 14. I quickly found Pine Horse Golf Club and enjoyed playing in the Saturday morning kids’ league.
Al Arrigoni and his father, Roland, owned and managed the club. Al really took me under his wing and became like a second dad to me. Al spent so much time with me and my family and really helped develop me into a player that could play collegiately. I will always be grateful for what the entire Arrigoni family did for me.
Q. What are your goals, career-wise (not necessarily in golf), and do you think you’ll always have a love for the game of golf?
A. I have met the greatest people and had the greatest opportunities playing golf. I know that I will always have a love for the game of golf. My goal is to begin my career with something that I love and something where I can impact other people.
Q. One last thing: What do you think will be your favorite memory of the game? Or hasn’t that been formed yet?
A. I believe that playing golf on national television with Arnold Palmer at Pebble Beach will always be my favorite memory of the game. It will be hard to top that golf moment.
Q. Anything else you’d like to say?
A. I always try to encourage young girls to learn how to play golf. It is a lifetime game, with great people, that has many opportunities for women. In fact, I was taught by many professors that knowing how to play golf is one of the most important business skills to have.
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