Welcome to our series Golfers We Love. Where we interview women who love the game of golf. Whether they play professionally, work in the industry or just love to play occasionally, we want to share their stories with you!
This week, we’d like to introduce you to Lisa ‘Longball’ Vlooswyk! Lisa is a professional long driver, golf entertainer, keynote speaker, golf journalist and golf school owner.
First, thank you so much for answering some questions with us Lisa! To start off, when did you start playing golf and how did you get into it?
My dad brought to me first Junior night in Grade 8. There were not a lot of Junior Girls golfing at that time. It was 60 boys and me. The coach told me to go hit my 6 iron at the end of the range and he proceeded to work with the boys the rest of the night. I basically quit and only played a round or two with my dad if he forced me. It wasn’t until when I was in University when my boyfriend at the time, now husband, introduced me to the game because he needed to learn it as a business networking skill.
Wow! Little bit of a rough start! Well, we’re glad that your husband got you back into the game in a positive way. Now that you’re in love with this game, what’s something that golf does for you?
I love being outside. Sun on my face, fresh air. I often close my eyes and just take it in when I am playing golf.
It has also proved me with incredible experiences. I was a 30 plus handicap 20 years ago and now I am a Long Drive champion, a Golf School Owner, a Golf Journalist, a Keynote Speaker and a Golf Entertainer at Corporate and Charity Golf Tournaments. If you told me 10 years ago this is what I would be doing I would have thought you were crazy!
That really is remarkable the career you have carved out for yourself in this industry. So do you have anything you’d like to accomplish with your golf at this point?
There are 2 things. I have yet to win a World Title. I have come 2nd in the World twice (once by 3 yards), third, 4th, and 5th but the World Title has eluded me.
I would also like to Monday qualify for an LPGA Tour event. That is a pretty lofty go, but as Les Brown once said, “Shoot for the Moon, even if you miss you will land among the starts”.
We couldn’t agree more. Maybe we’ll be seeing you at some Monday qualifiers soon! As our readers now know, you are an 8x Canadian Long Drive Champion. How did you even get started in long drive competitions?
I always competed my whole life. I was a gymnast from the age of 5 then competed for the University of Calgary Varsity Track and Field team. When I was done University I was itching to keep competing. I volunteered at an LPGA event and fell in love with golf. Luckily there were competitions for people who could not break 100. My first event I was hitting it 80-100 yards past the other girls. I saw an advertisement for a Long Drive event and entered and won with a 313 yard drive with a set of clubs from Costco.
Whoa! Killin’ it with the Costco clubs! Love that. Alright, long ball champion. What has been your longest drive to date?
My longest drive was at an LDA Tour event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I hit it 350 yards 2 feet and 2 inches. I was the first woman to hit it over 3 and half NFL fields in competition.
That’s amazing! Pretty sure the only time we’ve hit it that far we hit a cart path. What an awesome piece of history. If you were talking with someone who was thinking about playing golf, what would you tell them to convince them they should play?
Golf is an active living sport that you can do into your 80s. It allows you to be outdoors and it is a game of honor. It is a wonderful way to spend 4 hours with friends and family. If you are in an industry that networks through golf it is a must. People do business with people they know, like and trust. Do you want a one hour lunch with your client or 4 hours on the golf course laughing sharing stories about the long drives, the missed putts and the good and bad bounces?
All of that is so true. We couldn’t agree more with business on the course. So beyond just getting someone into picking up golf, what advice would you give to someone that may be interested in competing in long drive competitions?
Work on flexibility, explosive power and speed. Long Drive is a fantastic sport! It is fast paced and powerful. The Golf Channel owns our federation the World Long Drive Association (WLDA) and does an incredible job bringing our sport to golf enthusiasts around the globe. For the Ladies Division you need to be hitting your driver consistently over 300 yards and for the Men’s Division you should be over 380 yards.
Perfect! So we’ll get start on that (haha). With everything that has happened in your golf career over the years, what’s been your most memorable experiences thus far?
There were two experiences that were almost surreal. I had an opportunity to conduct a clinic for a Women’s Day at a PGA Tour event, the Reno Tahoe Open. The best female player to have ever played the game Annika Sorenstam lead the event off with a clinic and I followed her with a distance clinic. Meeting her and having the opportunity to chat with her was unbelievable. We have stayed in touch via social media and she recently asked me to potentially come to her Annika Foundation event for Junior Girls in Orlando next year to have some fun with the girls hitting the ball far! Absolutely honored by that!
The second was having the chance to meet Arnold Palmer. He was teeing off in front of me at Pebble Beach. My husband did not want to go up to him but I could not pass up the chance. Mr. Palmer was so gracious. He chatted with us and took a photo with us. It is a moment I will never forget. Since his passing in September 2016 I have felt so lucky to meet such an icon in this sport that truly embodied what this game is all about and giving back.
Completely speechless. Both of those sound truly unforgettable and special. Okay…now for some off-topic questions! Let’s get to know you a little more. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would be Candy Apple Red with an Ice White swirl. I find red to be a bright vibrant color! It often matches my energy level. Although even though I am considered an extrovert, I still have a quiet side to me where I like to be alone, that would be the white swirl. Also, being Canadian I like to wear my red and white proudly!
Always have to be representing! A swirl crayon would be very cool. Now, if you could only choose one song to play every time you walk into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Green Day…Time of Your Life. I will be playing that song at my funeral! I truly feel so lucky to have met so many amazing people, had so many unbelievable experiences and most importantly had incredible family and friends to share those times with along the way. I truly feel I have had the time of my life.
We instantly starting singing that in our heads. Great pick. We all know that golf is life but do you have any hobbies besides golf?
Wake surfing! I LOVE wake surfing! You glide on a wave on a small surf board behind a boat going 10 mph surfing the wave with no rope. The music is blaring and the sun shining. I could do that every day for the rest of my life!
Pretty sure we’d love to see video of you doing this. That sounds so fun! Next question. If you could have any guilty-pleasure food right now, what would it be?
Either Chicago Mix Popcorn or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
Reese’s are the best. Okay, last one. What are some small things that make your day better?
My son Luke. When he smiles at me or slips his hand in mine when we are walking… I truly melt. No matter how bad my day has been he ALWAYS makes it better
And that was one of the best answers we’ve heard. So adorable. Alright Lisa! That’s all we’ve got. Thank you so much for taking the time to work with us. It was really the best getting to know you better.
We just want to say thank you to Lisa for taking the time to interview with Graceful Golfer. If any of you have any questions that you’d like for us to ask future interviewees or even have a request for an interviewee, comment below and let us know!