What does an LPGA golfer do on her down time away from the tour?
Well, Brooke Henderson spent the day on Wednesday, September 18th at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club in Ottawa, Ontario.
Playing golf you ask?
No, Brooke and her sister/caddy Brittany were participating in a junior clinic sponsored by Skechers for junior golfers from the Ottawa Hunt and Smiths Falls’ Golf Clubs and then Brooke hit a golf ball for each group participating in a charity event run by the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club.
Before the Skechers junior clinic, Flagstick caught up with Skechers Canada Manager David Beecroft and asked him about their sponsorship of Brooke Henderson.
“We’re pretty excited to have Brooke at the Ottawa Hunt today,” said Mr. Beecroft. He continued – “We’ve been with Brooke for almost two years and we’ve been trying to have an event during that time but she’s so busy winning events that we’ve had a hard time finding a spot. Today is all about giving back to help to say thank you to Brooke for everything she’s done for our brand. So we’re donating money to CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario), the Perth and Smiths Falls Hospitals and the Wildlife Fund of Canada. Those are her three favourite charities so we’re helping her out to thank her for helping us out along the way.”
He continued, “From a marketing point of view, Brooke has literally put us on the global map for golf. We’ve been involved in golf for the past five years and we’ve had her on board for the past two years. In those two years she’s set us above several brands that we needed to get past and she’s got us past in a hurry and we appreciate her efforts.”
Skechers surprised Brooke with their donation of $5,000 to each of her favourite charities and provided each of the junior golfers with a gift bag. The junior golfers in attendance participated in a Question and Answer session with Brooke and Brittany while Brooke explained various techniques in her golf swing for everyone.
Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club President Gino Picciano was in attendance and he was asked about the activities surrounding Brooke’s day at her second club, the first being the Smiths Falls Golf & Country Club.
“We’re honoured to have their support, both Brooke and Brittany,” said Mr. Picciano. He continued – “As you know they’re both honorary members of our Club and we’re happy to assist them and their charitable organizations. We look forward to a great day with the junior clinic and then follow that with Brooke Henderson’s Charity Tournament.”
Brooke Confident Heading Into Last Part Of Season
At the conclusion of the junior clinic, after Brooke and Brittany had autographed every item requested by the juniors as well as taking photographs and selfies with those in attendance, Flagstick was able to sit down for a brief chat with Brooke and ask her about the events today, her golf career to date, and the future.
“The charity event today is so awesome,” shared the 9-time LPGA winner. “We always feel so welcome here and to have honorary memberships is incredible. They have such a beautiful golf course and as you said, this event is celebrating 100 years of golf here is incredible and to have my great friends from Smiths Falls come and enjoy the day is really meaningful to me. I have made great friendships with the members here at the Ottawa Hunt. It was nice to see all the young kids from the Ottawa Hunt and Smiths Falls enjoying this morning’s Skechers Clinic and also meeting them is really an amazing feeling and hopefully I can inspire them to keep playing or whatever they choose to do and keep getting better at it.”
“I think so,” was Brooke’s response with a laugh when Flagstick asked her if there was still a bit of a kid in her as we wished her a belated Happy Birthday (she turned 22 on September 10). She continued – “I still love my birthday and I celebrate pretty much all month long so I’m still in the celebration part.”
On the topic of her career, the LPGA star still sounds like the teen who used to tell us about eventually playing as a professional.
“It’s amazing to be able to travel around the world playing golf in these great events with all the best players in the world. I got my world ranking down this year which is awesome and I’m really enjoying life right now.”
“It’s wild,” was Brooke’s response when asked about her time as a junior golfer in the Ottawa Valley and who had set goals for her future. When asked about her golf career and what has taken place since she first won on the LPGA, she recounted – “Just to make it to the LPGA Tour and get my first win, it’s all so surreal and like a dream come true to win Tour events and championships and representing Canada at the Olympics. To play the Canadian CP Women’s Opens in Toronto this year and Ottawa a couple of years ago in front of my family and friends I grew up with was an amazing feeling. I hope I continue to have success and play well.”
As to her goals for the rest of the season, Brooke has a plan and she responded – “I think the CME is the big one. I’m second currently and it does reset in the final event of the year so hopefully I can finish strong there and I have six events left so you never know what can happen. I’ll practice hard leading up to them and hopefully get some top finishes.”
Knowing Brooke as we do at Flagstick as we have been following her junior career for years, we have no doubt that Brooke will give her remaining events this year her utmost attention.
This writer was also participating in the Brooke Henderson Charity Event as a representative of the Golf Historical Society of Canada by providing century-old hickory golf clubs for participating golfer on the par three eighth-hole on the South Course. As I explained to each golfer celebrating 100 years of golf at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club in this charity event, all of my hickory clubs are local and may well have been used on the original nine-hole golf course at the Ottawa Hunt in 1919.
After my interview with Brooke, I asked her if she would like to experience hitting a few hickory clubs. All I can tell you is that my spoon (3-wood) and jigger (4 iron) will never be hit better by myself or any other golfer.
At the conclusion of Brooke’s Day at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club, she was presented a cheque for $12,365 – money raised during the charity event. When added to the $15,000 donated by Skechers, the final total for charity on the day was $27,365.
Brooke thanked those in attendance for their participation and announced that these funds would be donated to her three favourite charities, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, the Perth and Smiths Falls Hospitals and the Wildlife Fund of Canada.
It was a great day at the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club for charity and Club officials and tournament participants gave Brooke a standing ovation after she talked about her special charities.
Here’s wishing Brooke and Brittany well for the remainder of this year’s golf season and for many more years to come.