The Diva Golfer
They call me the Diva Golfer … and I love it! Though it’s sometimes difficult for me to wrap my brain around the fact that my professional identity revolves around a sport I was oblivious to for most of my life.
Today things are different. Golf is on my mind 365 days a year. I’ve made it my mission to introduce women, especially Latinas, to golf for their professional development, personal enjoyment and to promote a healthy lifestyle. I spend my days creating innovative ways to bring women into the game and developing programs and events that will convert them into golfers. Since 2008, when I founded the Latina Golfers Association (LGA), I have had over 1,300 women participate in our golf clinics, golf lessons, golf outings, tournaments for women, golf fashion shows and golf related outings — I am very proud of what the LGA has accomplished.
My biggest satisfaction comes when I see photos posted on social media of our members playing golf with each other, their family members and clients … without me! They blossom into bona fide golfers and become ambassadors for the LGA and the sport as a whole. It’s also gratifying when they tell me how golf has enhanced their personal and professional lives.
My passion for growing the game started as a love affair with golf some 13 years ago. I knew nothing about the sport until the day a fanatic, avid golfer invited me to join him on the putting green as a date. I fell head over heels for the game and spent the next three years practicing several hours a week and playing as often as possible. I joined a golf club, became a member of the SCGA and worked diligently at lowering my handicap. Those days were blissful.
The focus of my passion, however, shifted abruptly when I played in my first charity golf tournament. I had never participated in a business golf outing and it was an amazing experience. I saw, first hand, how effective golf is as a business tool. I saw how golf leveled the playing field and broke down gender and cultural barriers, because on the course, we’re all solely “golfers.” I saw how golfers bond with each other and I benefited from the golf network after the tournament. What was glaring to me, however, was that there were less than a handful of women participating in that tournament and in the many subsequent events I played.
Knowing that so many women were missing out on the benefits of business through golf was jolting. It really upset me. Initially I thought that men were deliberately keeping women out, but that hasn’t been the case for me. I learned that there are simply too few women actually playing golf and that many are intimidated to take on business golf.
For these reasons, I founded the Latina Golfers Association with the goal of breaking the glass ceiling with a golf ball. The LGA has been a tremendous success and a labor of love. The LGA links women to golf and makes the game accessible to communities of women that, for the most part, have not been exposed to it. And the LGA creates golf events that are fun and non-intimidating for professional women of all ages. We work arduously to effectively conduct outreach to Latinas. Our marketing campaigns include an element of education, but they’re also fresh and exciting. We attract millennials, mid and senior management professionals, entrepreneurs and even retirees.
I’m extremely proud to be a member of the golf community. I’m committed to sharing this amazing game with as many women as possible. It has been a wonderful journey and I’ve learned so much.
One of my biggest takeaways is really quite simple and yet has powerful impact: It’s knowing that the golf community is exactly that – a community, a family. When we become golfers, we become members of a special international community whose common language is golf. That’s a pretty special thing and certainly worth sharing.
The only better way to spend your day golfing, is golfing with your amigas! Azucena has made of this group an inclusive and welcoming environment with valuable lessons in and out the golf course.
Thanks so much for publishing Azucena Maldonado’s article in FORE Magazine. I found her LGA organization while reading about her enthusiasm for golf in another magazine and it was really what I needed to get myself back in the game. I had played with other Women’s groups and they were very nice and fun too but the LGA just made it all that much more fun.
Your passion and smile is too contagious! Thank you for the positive vibes and for the guidance on turning golf as a great networking and business opportunity.
Latina Golfers Association introduced me to the world of golf and I instantly fell in love with the game. I play as much as I can. I am a fundraiser so it has been instrumental with helping me do a better job with connecting with our alumni, corporations and new stakeholders. I am a Latina who was intimidated by the game but when I found out I could learn with other Latina’s I jumped at the chance. I am no longer intimated and am confident enough to play golf with anyone. Thank you Azucena for turning your passion into something great for those who would never have the opportunity.
Thank you again Fore for publishing Azucena’s article. LGA was my introduction to women’s golf. It’s important to have a group of like-minded women that can learn and play together. I applaud Azucena’s effort to grow the game. It can be such a challenge to take up this beautiful game. Nowadays women are so, so busy. We have so many responsibilities and such limited time. However, we need to create awareness and instill a love of golf and the many benefits it offers, on and off the course.
Keep it in the fairway,
I started playing golf when I was 14 years old, because an Uncle got me golf lessons for Christmas. Never did I imagine, that 20 years later, I would have a group of amazing women to play golf with, and do business together, on the golf course! Thank you Azucena, for founding LGA, and for all the progress of this organization. I look forward to being part of this group for many, many years to come and spreading the good game of Golf!
The Golf Diva is definitely one of a kind! I’ve taken golf lessons with Azucena Maldonado, and I cannot express how invaluable the decision for females to participate in this male-dominated sport!!! Azucena has an uncanny ability to bring women -across all industries, age groups, and ability level, together on (and off) the green! She has created a community of women who support and encourage one another, which would not have occurred otherwise! Azucena is a trail blazer, and I’m proud of all that she has accomplished.
I am so proud of Azucena for the amazing work she’s done to inspire women and teach us the game of golf! I learned about LGA while organizing a celebrity golf tournament and searching for volunteers; I was so impressed by the willingness of the members who wanted to volunteer; and, they were all women! Soon after that I began to participate in her golf lessons. As a result, golf has taught me many lessons and that business on the golf course is more fun than at the conference table. Today I’m on the green at least 2 times a month, I’m regularly invited to participate in charity tournaments, and I enjoy the game so much!
Congratulations Azucena on all your success with Latina Golfers Association (LGA). I am eternally grateful that in 2013 LGA provided the platform for me to learn how to play golf in a comfortable and fun environment. I can attest that LGA provided an opportunity to further my professional network and gain many new friends. Cheers to you and I look forward to much greater success!
I am so delighted that joined the LGA! I have met some truly remarkable women and made some wonderful friendships! I have found that sharing a passion for golf creates an instant bond with new people I meet. Golf has been a terrific way to get to know new business contacts as well as enjoy time with my twenty-three year old son, who loves to play a round with his Mama! Thank Azucena!!!
My life has changed by having Azucena in my life. Her big heart and her passionately introducing me to the game of golf has been a blessing. I’m so grateful for her generosity and patience. I’m honored to be an LGA member. Thank you once again Azucena for your trailblazing efforts!!
Great to see Azucena on the Foremagazine. I read about her somewhere else also. But can’t remember. Anyway, Thank you Azucena and all the best!
As a proud founding member of the Latina Golfers Association I continue to be amazed by Azucena’s nobel commitment to introduction women – especially Latinas – to the game of golf. What sprouted from a pure love of the game, mixed with a vision to share that love is now being realized as more and more women and Latinas are picking up a club and getting on the links. The lives Azucena has changed for the better – from young girls to elders – has to be in the thousands… and the lives that these new golfers will touch will grow exponentially. Through the game of golf, she’s brought fun, exercise, self-esteem, and a venue into the business world to many who would not have known the joys of 18 rounds. Gracias, Az!