Friday, October 21, 2016
INSPIRING YOUTH AND LIFE AFTER GOLF
NEVERSINK--A whole new world has opened up for eight time LPGA golf tournament champion Sherri Steinhauer since her 26-year golf career ended on Sept 26, 2015 when she played with her family in a nine-some on a private resort course.
The seasonal summer resident who makes her home in the Town of Neversink and winters in Palm Springs, California sat down with us recently to describe what her life has become without golf.
"A whole new world has opened up without golf, I lived in a vacuum because I lived and breathed the game of golf since I was a young girl," Sherri noted.
The three-time British Open champion and four-time competitor in the Solheim Cup pointed out that she "wouldn't trade her golf career for any thing as I had a great life doing what I loved to do, was able to travel the world, meet great people and play great golf courses."
Sherri just this week received an announcement, dated Oct. 25, that she and two others will be inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in an induction that will take place in Milwaukee April 29th, 2017.
"I'm excited, honored and thrilled to be a part of this accomplished group," she noted. The Hall has been in existence since 1951 and there are only about 135 people in it. Bud Selig was part of the selection committee as he is on the board and he too will be honored the same evening with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I'm just lucky to have had the life that I had and since retiring and not playing golf anymore it's like my eyes are open and there is so much out there to explore and I have picked up this game of Pickelball and I've gone crazy over it," Sherri said.
Pickelball is not only her new love but Sherri's seriousness for the game has prompted her to construct an indoor practice court with an automatic converted tennis shotmaker that allows her to hit pickelballs and hone her return shot.
Not only has she gotten active in competing in Pickleball she has also become a strong advocate for the sport and is helping the sport grow in Sullivan County by organizing the Grahamsville Pickleball Club which now boasts some 40 plus members and plays matches several nights a week including Saturday mornings from 10 to noon at the Town of Neversink Grahamsville Fairgrounds tennis courts.
Tabbed the fastest growing sport in the USA Neversink town officials recently gave thanks to Sherri and Tami Shaver who gave the town a generous donation to help defray some of the costs associated with the repairs at the tennis courts and the installation of Pickleball courts.
Pointing out that the game of Pickleball "is my new love," and when asked how she got into the game she noted that "two winters ago a friend of mine wanted me to play the game but I said I couldn't play it then because I was still playing golf and I didn't want to ruin my golf swing with another swing motion."
Sherri pointed out that she said she would play and that happened the next winter in January 2016 when she" gave the game a try and absolutely became fully addicted to it and have hardly missed a day since."
Not only does she play the game often Sherri studies the game and takes lessons from the top players in the country and has a coach in Wisconsin and California.
Taking the game seriously and adding an additional step forward Steinhauer now plays tournaments nationally and has gained the initial ranking of a 3.0, advanced to a 3.5 and in the summer just got ranked a 4.0. Her goal is being elevated to a 4.5 and the highest ranking (as in tennis) of 5.0.
Sherri noted that within several days she would be competing in the 4.0 level in a national tournament in Kansas City in both the mixed doubles and women's doubles.
Within the Grahamsville Pickleball Club Sherri has had the opportunity to give helpful pointers and lessons and she notes, "it's nice to see the players progress and get better."
Sherri has a great philosophy when she states, "believe in yourself...the world is yours to do as you please....enjoy and have fun in the process."
Sherri also has a passion to give back to the community the memories and accomplishments the game of golf has had in her life and located in her Town of Neversink home she has built a Golf Memorabilia Room that has been visited by local high school golf teams and cub scouts and the room reflects much of her career highlights.
The Memorabilia room is filled to the rim with trophies, awards, plaques, player bags, scorecards, photos with celebrities, leader-boards and everything else you can imagine that is golf related.
Many of the youth that have visited Sherri have expressed that it was it was so nice of her to open her home to their golf team and it was an honor to be in the presence of a golfer who has accomplished so much.
Sherri's golf museum is filled with artifacts from her junior golf years through her 26-year professional career.
This one of a kind museum which Sherri refers to as her "Memorabilia Room" covers both her amateur and professional career and in the far end of the room is the family room, slash media room.
Steinhauer earned more than $6 million during her 26-year career.
Steinhauer has hosted boy scouts, girl scouts and youth golf teams and plans to bring more children to her facility which promotes the game of golf and where serving as a mentor to children has become a passion project.
Sherri pointed out that "I hope to inspire kids, I'll take them through and ask them what they want to do with their life and I'll just talk to them and tell them that dreams can come true."
It's a great place for me to take kids and give them any kind of inspiration I can. I started dreaming about what I wanted to do at a young age and I really do feel like my dream did come true." she said.
"Remembering back to my youth and what a shy person I was, I thought maybe I could inspire kids with my story...that with a dream you can set out to do anything you want as long as you are willing to work hard, stay focused and persevere though difficult times," Sherri added.
Steinhauer pointed out that she has focused on "kids because I think they have the most to learn from it and I have had friends fly in to see it as well as some local friends who have requested to see it."
When youth groups visit her it has strictly been on a referral basis and she has received referrals through word of mouth in the local community.
When asked how she made the decision to locate in Neversink and what her major reason for locating here was Sherri said, "a friend of mine and her family had a piece of property for sale, I took a look at it and fell in love with it."
Sherri also travels back to Wisconsin from New York to visit her family in the summer.
"After 40 years of playing golf I began to suffer with hip issues...orthopedic surgery helped prolong my career a few years but when I realized I couldn't compete or play like I used to I lost the desire and the game became a responsibility instead of a pleasure so I then decided to put the clubs away," Sherri noted.
Her willingness to share with today's youth what golf has done for her is a genuine beautiful gesture for this outstanding former LPGA champion and down the road we are sure she will capture many national Pickelball championships.
Sherri Steinhauer's indoor Pickelball practice court.
Tami Shaver man's the automatic converted tennis ball server at Sherri Steinhauer's indoor Pickelball practice court.
Sherri Steinhauer practices hitting against a wall to improve her eye hand coordination at her indoor Pickelball practice court.