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December 7 — Sue Fiscoe has a history of breaking down barriers. The California golfer, teaching pro, and business owner was the first woman PGA professional elected to the PGA of America board of directors.
Fiscoe, who made history as the inaugural female PGA section chief, has her sights set on yet another milestone: first woman president of the 28,000-member PGA of America.
“I have considered [running for PGA president],” Fiscoe told New England Golf Monthly in a phone interview from her Modesto, Calif., office at Creekside Golf Club. “If I did run for office it would be for the 2012 election.”
The next election would be an appropriate occasion for members to break the grass ceiling, according to Fiscoe.
About time. “It would be timely, right after our 100th anniversary,” she said. “That’s long enough to wait for a woman to be president.”
Fiscoe started playing when she was 12, learning early the importance of golf lessons. The club pro at her parents’ country club “would let me go out with him when he taught other members,” she wrote in PGA Magazine in 2008.
“I was to practice while he was giving them their lessons,” said Fiscoe. “In between his other lessons he’d give me pointers and keep an eye on me. It was a great experience working with him and watching him work with his students.”
A teaching pro herself, Fiscoe owns Fiscoe Management, a golf-management firm she founded in 1990. Her company operates Dryden Park, Modesto Municipal Golf Course, and Creekside, where she actively supports programs for juniors, women, and minorities.
Now, Fiscoe is ready for the next step. She has followed the flight path her long-term backers have recommended, working her way up from section VP, to president, to district director. Her current position on the national board could launch her campaign for the top spot.
Whaley eyes top spot. Fiscoe is not the only woman eyeing higher office. Suzy Whaley, the New England golfer and teaching pro who earned national fame in 2003 as the first woman in 58 years to qualify and participate in a PGA Tour, would also relish the opportunity to head the outfit.
“If [board membership] takes me down that road, I would welcome it, I would cherish it,” Whaley, a golf instructor at Connecticut’s TPC River Highlands and newly elected board member, said in an interview after winning her position during the group’s 2010 annual meeting in Boston.
Whaley, who followed Fiscoe to the board, planned to concentrate first on her three-year stint as a board member. “My focus is on the board right now,” said Whaley, whom Golf Digest named as one of 2010’s top five women teaching professionals.
Fiscoe, who earned Northern California PGA voted 2007 PGA Professional of the Year honors, noted that the predominantly male PGA was ready for a female leader. She cited PGA chief executive Joe Steranka’s strong support for diversity. Steranka addressed a recent PGA Education Center-hosted Glow Golf forum aimed at boosting the participation of African-American women in the golf industry.
Supportive. “The PGA male members I have served with have been very supportive and I believe that it could happen,” said Fiscoe, who added that she would not campaign against Whaley.
“Certainly, it’s something that Suzy might want to consider,” Fiscoe said. ““I wouldn’t run against Suzy and I don’t think she would run against me.”
Count newly minted PGA president Allen Wronowski as a fan of both women. “We have a lot of really outstanding female professionals [including] Suzy Fiscoe,” Wronowski said in a phone interview after taking the reins from outgoing president Jim Remy.
As a national officer since 2006, the 56-year-old director of golf at Hillendale Country Club in Phoenix, Md., has made it his mission to attract juniors, women, and minorities to the game.
Good for the game. “We’re a great supporter of the Executive Women’s Golf Association,” said Wronowski. He listed several initiatives designed to enhance diversity on the golf course, including the annual “Take Your Daughter to the Course Week,” the PGA National College Minority Championship, the First Tee program, and numerous inner-city programs like Midnight Golf.
Remy, for his part, raved about his fellow New Englander but stopped short of endorsing anyone.
“We’re extra proud of Suzy Whaley,” Remy said in a phone interview from his office at Okemo Valley Golf Club in Ludlow, Vt. “She’s a great professional and we couldn’t be happier to have her on the board.”
The presence of Whaley and Fiscoe on the national board, and Susan Bond as a New England PGA district director, was beneficial for the game, noted Remy.
“This is what’s good for golf,” Remy said. “We need to get more women and minorities playing golf because that’s good for the sport.”
(Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. Check her out on the Waggle Room, Boston Golf Examiner, and National Golf Examiner websites. You may also follow Kay on Twitter.)

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