Governors Club’s Bejgrowicz-Lewallen one of 15 selected for PGA leadership path

Posted 2/17/21

CHAPEL HILL — Governors Club is well-known for its sprawling 1,600-acre property, its gorgeous landscape and its Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

Now, the Triangle’s lone private golf club …

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Governors Club’s Bejgrowicz-Lewallen one of 15 selected for PGA leadership path

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CHAPEL HILL — Governors Club is well-known for its sprawling 1,600-acre property, its gorgeous landscape and its Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

Now, the Triangle’s lone private golf club is being nationally recognized for something besides its beauty: its leadership in golf.

Last month, PGA of America announced the 15 professionals selected to its 2021-’22 PGA LEAD class, a development program “created to identify, mentor and progress PGA Members from diverse backgrounds into volunteer leadership positions within Association governance,” according to a news release.

One of the 15 names on that list was Governors Club’s Sarah Bejgrowicz-Lewallen, an assistant golf professional at the club for the last seven years.

“Late last year I got a phone call saying I was selected, so it was pretty exciting,” said Bejgrowicz-Lewallen. “I feel super honored and humbled to be selected, but I do want to use this platform to hopefully make the game of golf better.”

The last couple of years, Bejgrowicz-Lewallen applied to be a part of the program but wasn’t accepted. So she strove to take on more responsibilities and “reinvent” herself to show her commitment to being a leader in golf.

“She has that ability and that calm personality to relate to everybody and to make them feel comfortable,” said Thomas Brinson, Governors Club’s director of golf. “She makes (golf) welcoming to the point where people want to join and any stereotypes of it being hard, competitive, mean, whatever it is, she removes that barrier.”

Ever since Bejgrowicz-Lewallen was 10 years old, growing up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she’s loved golf. She played at both the collegiate and professional levels before moving on to coach at Campbell University, her alma mater, and Gardner-Webb University.

Eventually, she found her way to Governors Club. One of her primary duties is leading the Women’s Golf Association at Governors Club, which has about 180 members. She handles the association’s different tournaments and functions throughout the year, along with providing instructional opportunities to help hone members’ skills.

“We have some women who have joined here who have never touched a club in their life,” said Bejgrowicz-Lewallen, “so I find it really empowering if I can help create their relationship to the game of golf because they’ll be able to play it for the rest of their life.”

One of Governors Club’s primary goals, according to Brinson, is to grow the game of golf, helping those who move into the neighborhood or join the club to familiarize themselves with the game and become less intimidated by it.

“She’s spent the better part of her time (at Governors Club) focusing on grow-the-game initiatives through instruction and events, whether it’s men, women, juniors, it doesn’t matter,” said Brinson. “She’s been instrumental in putting together instruction-based programs to teach people the game of golf, whether they’re new to the sport or they’ve been playing for 30 years and just want to improve a little bit.”

This desire to help others discover, learn and stick with the game of golf is what makes her a near-perfect fit for PGA LEAD.

The PGA LEAD program, created in 2016, aims to prepare PGA members like Bejgrowicz-Lewallen for leadership roles in the future, primarily within the chapter, section and national levels of the PGA.

The class of 15 will be tasked with attending monthly virtual meetings, where keynote speakers will mentor them through presentations on different topics.

Those sessions lead up to November 2-5, when the PGA hosts its 105th annual meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where the LEAD class will have a much more hands-on experience — though few details are known due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic.

Bejgrowicz-Lewallen said she hopes to garner as much information from PGA LEAD as possible to not only better herself, but those she works with in her current position.

“I’m currently reading this book called ‘Atomic Habits’ where the goal is to get 1% better every single day, and so I find this opportunity for PGA LEAD to kind of fit right along those lines of trying to better myself in every monthly meeting,” she said. “I would love to see myself just kind of bolstering my goal here at Governors Club in order to make every program here a little more successful and hopefully try to make the game a little more inclusive.”

Not only does Bejgrowicz-Lewallen aim to make the game more inclusive, but she remains passionate about framing the game of golf into something a little more fun, mentioning that the golf course can be a place of fierce competition or fellowship with your friends. It’s versatile in that way.

“I think if I can make the game more inviting to people, then to me, that means I am a leader within the golf industry,” she said. “Some of the women’s programs that I’ve helped kind of facilitate here at Governors Club, they have made the game a little bit more inviting, just keeping it fun, keeping it light. But at the end of the day, as long as people feel comfortable to come out and play and practice, to me, that’s what it’s all about.”

Reporter Victor Hensley can be reached at vhensley@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @Frezeal33.

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