Hear from two Spalding alums on how golf lessons can be applied to your professional career!
Golf season is in full swing! In case you missed it, August was National Golf Month. We’d like to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our current and future Golf Golden Eagles.
Spalding encourages us to teeing up successful swings in golf and life. We interviewed two Spalding alums: Kendall Hale and Blake Hardesty on how golf lessons can be applied to your professional career. Golf forth and prosper! .
Kendall Hale, Business and Golf Student Athlete Alum
Get ready for tee-time with Kendall Hale, a Louisville native who has deep roots in the city. In the spring 2022 Kendall graduated with his undergraduate degree in business and is now embarking on his sixth year to earn his grad degree in the Master of Science in Business Communication (MSBC) program. Kendall is also entering his fifth year as a dedicated golf student athlete. Discover Kendall’s insights and golf-derived lessons that can propel your career forward!
Why did you choose Spalding?
Kendall Hale: I chose Spalding because it was close to home, I knew Skip Welch, the former coach and family friend. Skip is a legend in the sport in the Louisville area. When he took the job I was a senior in high school, I knew he was trying to rebuild a program and I wanted to help him achieve that goal. Although he isn’t the coach anymore, I give him full credit for rebuilding the program and allowing me to play college golf. I wouldn’t have wanted to help rebuild a program anywhere other than Spalding!
How did you get involved in golf? Who has played a big role in your golf career?
Kendall Hale: I became involved in golf when I was around 13 years old. I have a few key figures who played a role in my golf career. The first influence was my dad, who played golf, which inspired me to play. It wasn’t until my junior year in high school, Coach Schep, my former high school golf coach, invited me to join the team. I credit Coach Schep for persuading me to give competitive golf a chance. Lastly, Coach Skip Welch, the former coach at Spalding, played a huge role in my success. He taught me important golf lessons such as my golf swing technique!
How has Spalding supported you in your golf career?
Kendall Hale: Spalding has supported me in golf by allowing me the opportunity to travel, meet new friends, and have lots of fun while doing it. Spalding has provided the resources we need to help rebuild the program including the new practice facility in the Columbia Gym which gave us a huge opportunity for us to be able to take advantage of it in the winter months! The gym has been used as a great recruiting tool to help us continuously bring in new talented players.
What makes Spalding’s golf team stand out from other colleges?
Kendall Hale: Spalding’s golf team stands out from other colleges because of the relaxing, fun, and enjoyable environment. It’s a lot of fun being around my teammates and spending time together throughout the season. Although we are very competitive and we want to beat each other and win, we are also focused while having fun while we are out there!
Tell us how playing golf can be applied to your professional and academic journey?
Kendall Hale: Playing golf has taught me to strengthen my mental game which can help in my professional and academic journey. When you’re playing golf, you can feel isolated, so it takes a lot of mental stability to stay focused in the round through the highs and lows. Being able to stay focused on the task at hand while blocking out other distractions can go a long way in the classroom and in life.
I wish people knew how much there is to learn in this game. You can work on mechanics every day and learn to perfect your swing but understanding the mental side of things is the most important part. It is a super humbling sport however, it is very difficult to win. My advice is that when you learn the things you can control over things you can’t control, it will typically work out in your favor.
What advice would you give prospective golf student athletes coming to Spalding?
Kendall Hale: The best advice I can give golf student athletes coming to Spalding is to give it everything you have in the classroom and on field. If you give it everything you have everyday then school is very manageable with the way the block scheduling works. We are in a conference with a ton of good athletes! If you work hard to perfect your craft, you’ll have a lot of fun battles with some of the teams you’ll compete against.
Tell us why National Golf Month is important to you. This blog is highlighting National Golf Month, how can others support and learn more about golf at Spalding?
Kendall Hale: The best way for others to support the Spalding golf team is to recruit and tell athletes to consider Spalding to play a sport. We are a small D3 school in a big city! We have some great facilities around campus, especially the golf practice facilities. We belong to three well known country clubs in the area and have access to all of their facilities. The game is growing at a fast rate and there are plenty of golfers out there who are good enough to play collegiate golf. If you want an opportunity to compete and have a good time, Spalding may be the right fit for you. While my time here at Spalding has had some challenging times, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it anywhere else!
Blake Hardesty, Kosair for Kids Leadership Development Alum
Swinging it over to Blake Hardesty. He is from Brandenburg, Kentucky. This past spring Blake graduated from our Kosair for Kids Leadership Development Institute, a professional development and coaching program for nonprofit leaders. This Spalding program gave him the tools he needed to land in his current role as the Director of Golf at First Tee — Louisville. Hear from Blake and his parr-ting advice on golf lessons being applied to your career.
Why did you choose Spalding for the Kosair for Kids Leadership Development Institute program?
Blake Hardesty: The Kosair for Kids Leadership Development Institute was a great opportunity to not only learn leadership strategies from a top notch institution but also connect with other area non-profits in a way I hadn’t yet had the chance to.
How did Spalding’s Kosair for Kids Leadership Development Institute program prepare you for your current position at First Tee Louisville?
Blake Hardesty: It not only gave me new ideas to bring to our organization such as changes we implemented immediately like changing the term volunteers to ambassadors. It also gave me insight on future changes we potentially can implement moving forward.
Tell us how playing golf has helped you on your professional and academic journey?
Blake Hardesty: One of the biggest things golf has given me professionally and academically is a great chance and avenue for networking. It is easier to build a bond on the golf course than just over something like a lunch meeting.
What advice would you give prospective golf student athletes coming to Spalding or new golf students at First Tee Louisville?
Blake Hardesty: Be open to new ideas and try new things while playing golf! Come in with a “ready to learn” attitude and learn how these new opportunities will only benefit you.
What is one thing you wish people knew about golf?
Blake Hardesty: While golf is a very difficult game to perfect, anyone can play no matter the skill-level. It can also be a great way to spend time outdoors with friends and family. The game has become more accessible and laid back in the past few years making it much easier to get started.
Tell us why National Golf Month is important to you. This blog is highlighting National Golf Month, how can others support and learn more about golf at Spalding and First Tee Louisville?
Blake Hardesty: There are several ways to support golf at First Tee – Louisville, by donating monetarily, coaching, and donating equipment. Heading to either website is a great way to learn more about both organizations as well!
Contact Blake Hardesty ([email protected]) for any questions.
We are so proud of these Spalding alums and the drive they’ve shown in their academic and professional lives. It sounds like golf is a whole lot of fun! In any sport, being mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared can propel you forward in your career.