Tee To Table was excited and grateful when given the opportunity to get up close with Lisa "Longball" Vlooswyk, a golf professional from Canada who can hit the ball 350 yards. 350 yards 2 feet 2 inches to be exact. Wow!
READ: Personal profile of Lisa
Longball aside, Lisa is an amazing golf personality. Whether she is writing, speaking or playing the sport of golf, her engaging and dynamic personality entices you to learn more about Lisa and her passion for the sport. Be on the lookout for some exciting updates in May after Deanna attends the Executive Women's Golf Association's Annual Conference in Hilton Head, SC, where Lisa is featured as a keynote speaker!
At the 19th hole with Lisa "Longball" Vloowyk
Deanna: How long have you been golfing? Did you have a "mentor" in your early days of golf?
I was introduced to golf when I was in Grade 8. I went to one Junior night with 60 boys and me. The coach told me to go hit 6 iron all night and didn't work with me. I quit the sport only playing the odd time with my dad until I was in University. My boyfriend at the time, now husband, was graduating from University and was being invited out to corporate and charity golf tournaments as golf is such a key networking skill. He dragged me out to the local municipal course or wherever we could get on. I started really loving it. I too graduated and became a school teacher and had the summers off. I would go out and play as a single during the day and fell in love with the game.
Deanna: Who is your favorite male and female player(s) on tour and why?
Lisa "Longball": I know this may not be a popular answer but Tiger Woods is my favorite male golfer. What he has done to change the face of golf, to the popularity of golf, to bring youth into the game and his incredible mind numbing shots he has hit is inspiring. Golf is more exciting when Tiger is playing…period.
Do I approve of what he does off the course, no, but that is not for me to judge. I like what he does on the golf course. I would like to see him be more personable and sign more autographs. To be more like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. That will help make him a true legend in the game.
As for female golfer, I am actually a big fan of Natalie Gulbis. She is in an attractive young lady who has continued to earn her spot on tour year after year. She helped bring cute outfits and a female touch to this sport. You can still be attractive and play a mean game of golf. I think she has elevated exposure on the LPGA tour with her Golf Channel show and her calendars. They are tasteful. I also had the opportunity to talk to Natalie at an LPGA event. She was so warm and welcoming and I told her I love how she always looks so put together on the course. Natalie said, "Lisa, I feel if I look good and feel good about it I am going to play well". I like that attitude.
(Natalie, Tee To Table agrees! Looking put together makes you feel good out!)
Deanna: You have played golf in several different countries and throughout all of your home country, Canada – What is your favorite course to play? What makes that course different than other courses?
Canada has some absolutely stunning golf courses. From the east coast shores in the Maritimes like Cabot Links in Nova Scotia and The Links of Crowbush Cove in PEI, to Glenn Abbey in Ontario, host too many a great Canadian Open finish including a 6 iron struck from a bunker on 18 by Tiger Woods. Courses like Banff Springs and Stewart Creek.
However, if I had to comment on the best course I have ever played I would have to say Royal County Down in Ireland. Links golf is like nothing we experience in North America for the most part. We are used to carpet like lush fairways, thick rough and pristine bunkers.
In Ireland and Scotland you get the true links courses. Your game is tested and challenged. Wind if often a factor and there are no pristine flat juicy lies. The ground is hard and fast and often undulates giving seemingly unfair bounces. Deep pot bunkers will snare your ball when your only escape route is backwards at times. It is exciting golf, inspires creativity and was the way the game was first played.
Deanna: Ladies golf has changed significantly the past 10 years – what do you think are the biggest changes?
I think for women there is more of an acceptance of female players on the course. We still have a long way to go but there are a lot more women playing, joining the game and becoming members. Look at our two new female members at Augusta National. That is very exciting for our sport. It is great to see more women out playing corporate golf as well. Great deals are made on the golf course!
Deanna: There are more women than ever involved in the golf industry and the PGA as well. Who do you think is exciting to follow through their golf career off the course and making a difference in the golf industry?
I would love to see features on the Golf Channel and in golf publication on females who are making a huge impact on the golf industry. We need to hear about female head pros who are doing amazing things at their course, female golf company representatives who are leading sales, female golf course superintendents and caddies. Typically male dominated professions. There are so many great stories out there I would personally love to read about them.
Deanna: What hints can you give lady golfers who hit the ball longer?
There are 3 thinks ladies can do to hit it further. Most women who struggle with hitting driver over 200 yards often are lifting their arms in their back swing versus turning. We need to get women making a good turn.
I like the swing thought of turn your back to the target on your back swing, or simply turn your shirt in your back swing. The second part is once you have made this good turn you can't start your down swing with your arms or you will lose the coil and torque you have built up.
The down swing needs to start with the lower body, or simply put turn your pants in the down swing. The 2 swing thoughts can be turn your shirt (back swing) turn your pants (down swing) .
Finally women must accelerate through the ball. Your club head should be moving fastest 3 feet past the ball. This will help you transfer your weight to your front side and finish it over your front foot. You should have all your weight over your front foot and none on the back. The sole of your back show should be fully exposed. A great test is to see If you can lift your back foot as you hold your finish and watch your ball land. If you can do that you have made a good weight transfer.
Deanna: What are your focuses during this season of golf – are you speaking more, playing more, etc.
This season my number one goal is to win the World Title in ladies Long Drive. I am currently ranked top 5 in the world and I have come second twice. I want 2013 to be my year. I also would like to Monday qualify for the LPGA Canadian Women's Open. If I am shooting low 70's consistently I will do this.
Finally I would love to build my speaking career. I do a lot of corporate and charity golf outings which I love but I really enjoy sharing my story of how I went from a 30 plus handicap to the 7-Time Canadian Long Drive Champion in just over 10 years at meetings, conferences and conventions. I share principals that have helped make me successful that transfer to both business and personal life.
I am excited to be speaking at a Women's Day at the PGA Tour event the RENO Tahoe Open and doing a Power Tips Clinic opposite Annika Sorrenstam. Such an honor!
Deanna: What advice can you give to starting or intermediate players who wish to get better? Practice advice, fitness, diet?
I would say that there is no easy route. If you want to get better you have to practice. Start with the short game. You will save the most strokes by being a good chipper and putter. In terms of fitness work on core strength, that is where power in golf comes from so classes like Pilates. Also look at Yoga. Flexibility is key in making good turns and it helps your balance also so important in consistent ball striking.
Deanna Alfredo is the owner/founder of TeeToTable, Inc. Her focus is today's ladies' golf and how lady golfers are more prolific than ever. Her site www.TeeToTable.comfocuses on golf, travel golf, her creative outlet of cooking and teaching others helpful hints. Join her this year on ClickonDetroit as she ventures through her golf season and much, much more.