June is Women’s Golf Month. It is a global initiative to celebrate and promote women in golf started early this June with Women’s Golf Day, which Elisa Gaudet founded in 2016. Gaudet’s Women’s Golf Day goal is to unite, create opportunities, and support female golfers. A notable former ASGA junior golfer, Hannah Bakalekos, is working towards attaining her PGA certification to further her passion and love for golf!
Following her time in the ASGA junior program, Bakalekos went to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She graduated this May 2021 with a degree in Recreation in Sports Management and a minor in Hospitality. Bakalekos has spent many years in golf, crediting the Arkansas State Golf Association and The First Tee of Central Arkansas for both playing a large part in her journey. “I want to work in the golf industry because I have played and studied the game my whole life,” said Bakalekos. She has now carried her interests in the golf industry into her work at Chenal Country Club in the Pro Shop as she is furthering her love and knowledge of golf.
When asked about the most important lessons she has learned from golf, Bakalekos said, “The most important lesson I learned from golf was never to give up.” This mindset to keep working hard has pushed Bakalekos to be where she is today, working towards her PGA Certification. As Bakalekos continues her journey in the golf industry, the ASGA is excited to support her as she works towards becoming one of few female PGA professionals in Arkansas.
Q: When did you first get involved in golf and what made you start playing?
A: I first got involved in golf when I was 4 years old. My grandfather Bob Steel introduced me to the game of golf and I would hit balls in his backyard every day. I eventually started to get better and better and then I joined in on group lessons at the First Tee of Central AR.
Q: What has your journey in golf looked like?
A: My journey in golf has been one of the most important things in my life. I started my journey at a very young age and I have loved every second of it. I started at the First Tee then moved onto private lessons before joining the ASGA. Participating in the ASGA events was a huge part of my life. I played in almost every tournament and worked very hard every week and looked forward to each event! I made memories and friendships that will last a lifetime during my journey in golf!
Q: What has been the most important lesson you have learned from golf?
A: The most important lesson I learned from golf was to never give up. I went through many phases of playing bad and wanting to quit, but having the mindset to keep going was very important for me. I got better because of the work I put in, and even if I had a bad round I knew giving up was never the answer.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: I have just graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Recreation in Sports Management and a minor in Hospitality. I currently work at Chenal Country Club in the pro shop and I am working towards my PGA certification.
Q: Do you have any goals for your golf career?
A: I have many goals but a couple of them being: Staying focused, having a good routine, maintaining a good balance between working in golf, and playing the game I love!
Q: What do your next steps look like to reach these goals?
A: My next steps to reach these goals will be to get out and play as much as I can, while I grow my knowledge of the game at work!
Q: Why do you want to work in the golf industry?
A: I want to work in the golf industry because I have played and studied the game my whole life. I have always had a passion for golf and I would love to be around it for as long as I can.