The Women’s Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour returns to Cincinnati in early September for the Procter & Gamble Kruger Queen City tournament.
But, with excitement around an event, it is appropriate to highlight those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly and promote Cincinnati Women’s Golf.
So, The Cincinnati Enquirer ranks eight of these women, some of whom are contributing to the inaugural event from September 5-11 at Kenwood Country Club and some of whom have opened doors to golf opportunities elsewhere around the river.
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Emily Norell, Kroger Queen City Tournament Director
Norell has been at Excel Sports Management, owner and operator of the event, for nine months and is now preparing for the Kroger Queen City Championship.
Prior to joining Team ESM, Norell worked on the LPGA Tour as Tournament Business Manager from September 2018 to October 2021 and with Global Golf Management as Tournament Manager from 2013-2018 in the Bahamas and Augusta, Georgia.
“Honestly, I never thought golf would be in my future,” she said. “She played it growing up, but when I graduated from college I fell for my first job – working food and beverage on tour golf – and things grew from there. I fell visibly in love with it.”
Norell graduated from St. Thomas University, in her hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota, in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Language and Literature.
“(Golf) really taught me about life,” Norell said. “What it means to be patient and work hard. I’ve been here for as long as I can remember and have seen the sport grow. … I can’t imagine doing anything else and I don’t want to do anything else. These professional athletes have become my friends and I love to see them At every opportunity I excel at it and perform it.”
Taylor Anderson, Professional Golf Assistant, Kenwood Country Club
Anderson started playing golf when she was thirteen years old. Her stepfather put sticks in her hand and she became his shadow, doing everything he does on the green grass and falling in love with the game. From there, it became a family endeavor.
Anderson went on to play at the high school level in Lakota East, training now in her third season overall, and second as head coach.
She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University, although she was not part of the actual golf team. It was on the show, however, that she learned the business and professional side of the game.
Anderson trained at several country clubs in the area, including the Camargo Club, Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Desert Falls Country Club, Heritage Club and now, since December 2021, Kenwood Country Club. As a professional golf assistant, she is responsible for everything related to women’s golf – their events, tournaments, clinics and also assists with the men’s and junior tournaments.
“(Golf) is very humble,” Anderson said. “You can meet a huge number of people, so you will become as open as you want. I am not a shy person, so it has been very interesting for me to meet different people, and as you travel, you meet people from all over the country and states. It makes (America) feel Really being small and connected, in a way.”
“I also think it’s great, no matter how old you are, to be six or eighty-six and you can play with anyone,” she added. “At the end of the day, I’m going to make this my profession, my job, and it never feels like work. I can do what I love.”
Janet Carle, University of Cincinnati Women’s Golf Director and Head Coach
Karl is a Class I member of the LPGA and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She is currently entering her 22nd season with the University of Cincinnati, after being promoted in 2003 from assistant to head coach. In 2009, she was promoted again to Director of Golf, while retaining her main coaching duties.
Prior to her appointment to lead the Bearcats, she served as a golf coach at the Notre Dame Academy in Park Hills, Kentucky, from 1999-2001, receiving the three-year Cincinnati Enquirer Coach of the Year and the Cincinnati Post Coach of the Year twice. She also worked as an assistant manager of LPGA Junior Girls Golf Clubs in 1994, before being promoted to CEO, and has coached golf in several states and countries, including Vermont, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, and Mexico.
Karl has received dozens of awards during her tenure as a coach and has achieved nothing short of the continuing successes of UCSD.
“I just want anyone to be able to enjoy the game,” Karl said. “I always want to win. I’m very competitive, and that’s a very important part of it in the college world, but even for high school players, the definition of winning can be many different things, whether it’s winning by getting through a very hard day for you, etc.”
“I feel as though I owe a lot to those who came before, so I want to help people break down their barriers, find new solutions, and step through that uncomfortable piece to get out the other side,” she added.
Breanna Jenco, Xavier University Women’s Golf Coach
Jenco, a Xavier University graduate, was appointed head coach of the jockeys in 2015 after working two seasons as an assistant with Akron.
She has been a four-time Big East Coach of the Year and led Xavier to three consecutive Big East Championships, most recently the 2022 title and capturing his first title in program history in 2019.
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The Indiana native made waves as a player, too. She appeared in 42 events during Xavier’s career and had her career scoring average of 77.56 for 119 career tours being the best in the program’s history. Like Karl, she has amassed dozens of trophies on both ends of the green and hasn’t let her young age as head coach stop her from making an impact.
“It (golf) has given so much of my life and my relationships to me,” Genko said. “When I joined college, my teammates and coaches had a huge influence in shaping who I am as a person, as a golfer and as a student. I loved all the experiences and memories I had and want to see the future of Xavier women’s golf under the same kind of[opportunities that I had]to look back and become Better through it.”
Alicia Yund, CEO of The First Tee
Yund had worn many hats in the golf world.
She started as a golfer herself before becoming a club apprentice. After her graduation, she became the Associate Director of Athletic Development at NKU to raise money and give college athletes good experiences. Now, she works with the nonprofit organization First Tee to teach kids life skills through intentional golf lessons.
“Golf has been a part of the vast majority of my life and I owe a lot to the sport,” Yund said. “Many of the opportunities that presented themselves in my way were thanks to the game.”
Yund is a first-generation undergraduate student who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Business from Northern Kentucky University in 2008 and received her Masters in Sports Management and MBA from Ohio University in 2011. She has always been one of those people who want to give back, to help with Fostering and facilitating the passion for golf in the next generation.
“Golf is a way for me to get ready, or he’s been growing up, navigating whatever life knocks on because life is like a round of golf. There can be rain, sunshine, good and bad shots, but it’s not just about learning the skill of swinging, it’s learning How to manage what comes your way in the tour.”
Yund is working with Norell to get involved in the upcoming tournament to the greater Cincinnati area, both through volunteering, clinics for participants, etc.
Dennis Koprionis, former president of Kenwood Country Club
Kuprionis was appointed as the first female president of the Kenwood Country Club and the first female member of the board of directors. She now works for a company she founded called Governance Solutions Group.
She said she was reading about the tournament coming to town this fall and how one of the reasons she targeted the Kenwood Country Club in Cincinnati was because of her women’s presidential history.
“I am very happy that the LPGA has chosen (us) to host, not only because it is good for Kenwood, but because it is good for our region to have this outstanding tournament here, in our own backyard. Also, another reason. m excited because Women’s Championship and these women can be considered role models for young women.Often all you see are men playing golf, which is great, but you don’t really see women playing golf and I want to show these younger women what they can do if they work hard… We can do that.”
Sarah Killam, LPGA Tour Media Officer
Kellam is another graduate of NKU, where she played golf from 2013-2017 and graduated with a BA in Electronic Media and Broadcasting with both minors in Communication Studies. She said she’s known Yund her whole life, as they grew up in the same area, even though Yund was a few years ahead of her in NKU.
She started playing golf with Williamstown High School when she was in fifth through seventh grade. She said it’s different because she didn’t feel stuck in any way and that’s kind of a motto for her: Sometimes you’re the only person of a certain age or gender or something else somewhere and you have to lead that with pride.
Growing up, she wanted to be like Kelly Tillman, a senior reporter for the Golf Channel. She had the opportunity to do so in March 2018, when she became a production assistant until August 2020, and again in November 2020, when she returned to the team as a freelance field producer for an additional year. She could tell she had become a circle, in a way.
“I don’t think people understand how the game connects you to people,” Killam said. “I go get my hair done, people ask what I do at work and I say I play golf and their cousin’s sister friend plays golf. Everyone has a connection to the game, whether they play or not.”
Victoria Elizabeth, co-founder of Swing Fit Golf
Elizabeth is a former LPGA official with over 20 years of experience in the sport, eight of which are in the LPGA and Symetra Tours, four each. Swing Fit began to offer a high-end indoor golf experience to Cincinnati, where there were bodies but not a facility to comprehensively help them maximize their performance throughout the year.
She stopped playing golf because of a trapezius fracture, a small bone in her thumb, which she didn’t think would fully heal causing nerve and tendon damage. She found herself, jokingly, that it was a quarter-life crisis because golf had been her whole life and it was. Therefore, she chose to teach and started Swing Fit in 2020 in Blue Ash, Ohio.
She’s recently started playing tournament competitions again, but she’s found the heuristic side of green more useful and satisfying than she thought possible. She studies 40-60 hours a week and waits four weeks to book with her.
“I love working with people who are passionate about golf and I love giving them more fun and a better understanding of how to improve their games and have more fun,” Elizabeth said. “Golf has been a huge part of my life and…it has been a place for me to know that I am in complete control. A place that has brought me so much peace and joy and has been a huge challenge, both mentally and physically.”