This is part of a series of feature articles celebrating Women’s Golf Week. Women’s Golf Week is an annual initiative running May 30 to June 6, 2023, to engage, empower and support women and girls in golf, culminating in International Women’s Golf Day on June 6. Please visit pgabc.org and womensgolfday.com to learn more.
June 2, 2023
RICHMOND, BC (PGA of BC) - Hannah Lee grew up in the Lower Mainland, golfing from a young age and developing into an elite junior amateur. Her accomplishments included a runner-up finish at the Canadian Junior Girls Championship. These achievements earned Lee a spot on the Canadian National Junior Golf Team and eventually a full-ride scholarship to play NCAA Division 1 golf at the University of Oklahoma. Lee played four years for the Sooners, where she faced unforeseen challenges posed by injuries. Despite these setbacks, she finished her career as a student-athlete with two top-20 finishes at the highest level of collegiate golf.
Upon graduation, Lee moved back to BC and has pursued a career in the golf industry. Since gaining membership in the PGA of BC last year, she has worked as an Apprentice Professional at Pitt Meadows Golf Club. Lee credits her experiences at the University of Oklahoma for helping her make a quick transition from competitor to golf professional.
“Playing Division 1 golf for four years definitely helped prepare me for a career in the golf industry in the sense that it’s a full-time job. It taught me a lot of time management skills. Of all the skills I’ve learned, teamwork is a huge one. I’m working with a team and the last thing you want to do is let your teammates down. Being responsible and being accountable is super important.”
Her coaches growing up served as role models and inspired her to follow their path. She hopes to coach at college or for the national team one day.
“Something I really want to accomplish in my career is to reach a level where I can get into elite coaching. I’ve worked with really good coaches on the national team and at the collegiate level," said Lee. "Growing up and watching those figures in my life made me want to be somebody like that because they helped me grow as a golfer, but also as a human. I really respect all the coaches I’ve been with in my playing career, so that’s something I want to strive for in my career.”
Lee mentioned Northview Golf & Country Club’s John Shin as one of the coaches whose wisdom and guidance had a great impact on her competitive and professional career.
“Somebody I really, really, really respect is John Shin. He’s been my personal coach for a while. I don’t compete anymore, but I still keep in touch with him. He’s been there for me as a great coach, and I’ve learned so much from him.”
Although she faced struggles during her time as a student-athlete, Lee said those roadblocks helped her develop a stronger, more resilient mindset.
“I honestly didn’t play as well as I wanted to in college. I had expectations and unfortunately, I just didn’t play as well. And that’s okay. A lot of people say that golf is a love-hate relationship, and I experienced that a lot more my first couple years at school," said Lee. "When I was not playing as great, I let those bad rounds define me as somebody outside the golf course. I had to learn to separate myself, how I play on the course has nothing to do with the person I am off it. I think that’s something a lot of golfers struggle with competing at a higher level and I think it’s important to highlight.”
Lee strives to break down barriers in golf by fostering a more welcoming and inclusive environment for women. She wants to change the way women are perceived in the industry.
“When you’re starting out in the shop or wherever, a lot of people don’t know your background or where you came from. I did notice a little bit of a difference in terms of how people treat me. I could be seen as just a girl working in the shop, and a lot of times people sort of assume that I don’t know much about golf. That was a little bit of a struggle for me because I’m like, ‘No, I do know quite a bit about golf, I’ve been playing my whole life.’ When I got into the industry, that was a bit of a shock and a surprise.”
To deal with the obstacles faced by women in the industry, she recommends reaching out to others and forming a network that can offer you advice and support.
“I think it’s so important to get to know the other women in the industry. That way, you can have a space where you can talk about your own experiences and your own knowledge. Having a space where you can share with other women in the industry is important, because there aren’t a lot of us, and it might feel a little lonely sometimes.”
Read more Women's Golf Week Spotlights here:
Watch Women's Golf Week documentaries in collaboration with P6R Golf here: