Professional golfer Kelly Okun ‘11 credits The Benjamin School for playing an integral role in her career.
“Benjamin was the beginning of my public speaking career. Whether it was speaking at assemblies or addressing a club, I was constantly challenged to overcome my shyness and connect with others,” Okun says.
“This tool has been incredibly beneficial in the golf world. Golf is a social sport, and I am always networking. I may be playing with people my own age, or I may be paired up with golf fans who are willing to help me get to the next level. Benjamin taught me to be bold enough to reach out and simply start that conversation. Without this confidence, who knows if I would have even been recruited by my college, much less turned professional!”
Okun, who played in the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour this past winter, says golfing professionally had been a dream of hers since sixth grade.
“What I did not realize before starting this adventure is that I am essentially running a business in addition to training. You become a brand - one you want to promote and protect. Networking, marketing, budgeting, and scheduling are all big parts of being a professional,” she says.
Okun says college helped prepare her by providing her with connections that helped kick start her career.
“What is great about having friends on tour who have gone through this before is that you are never alone in this part of the process.”
This is Okun’s first full year as a professional and she hopes to gain as much competitive experience as possible. She is a member of the Symetra Tour, which is the developmental tour of the LPGA. She’s also playing on the National Women’s Golf Association tour and hopes to make it to Europe as part of the Ladies European Access Tour.
“No matter what, there is plenty to play, and I can’t wait to get my Florida season started!”
Kelly has three pieces of wisdom she would like to share with fellow athletes:
1. "At the end of the year, if you are still improving and learning from your game, keep working hard and prepare for the next season." - Martin Hall, my swing coach.
2. "Listen to your body." - Dr. Brian Casey, my physical therapist.
3. "Take one day or one afternoon during your tournament week to be a tourist. These travel memories are going to be the ones you remember when you look back on your golf career." - Mo Martin, British Women's Open 2014 Champion, LPGA player, and my role model.
Kelly wants to hear from you! Reach out to her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.