DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 21, 2020 – Cori Matheson, Site Director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix, has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most prestigious honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.
Matheson, an LPGA Class B Professional who is working on her Class A status, will be presented with her award on Thursday, Jan. 23, during the LPGA Professionals Rolex Awards Reception at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando.
“I thought that Kathy Knadler, who was running the [Girls Golf of Phoenix] program at the time, had the best job in the world and I told her that someday I wanted her job,” said Matheson, who is the first LPGA*USGA Girls Golf alumna to win the Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award. “About 20 years later, I was able to take over the program. Girls Golf really offered that safe place for me to learn quickly and grow.
“I love Girls Golf. It’s not a job, it’s a piece of me. It’s been a piece of me since I was 12, and it always will be. The fact that I am in a world where I not only get to be a mom, but I also get to be a mom to thousands of girls – that’s how I view my role. If I can be a mentor to them and if I can provide them a safe place, if I can build their confidence, if I can be there to work them through a hard situation, if I can be there to make them laugh. All those things you view a mom doing, that’s what I want to do.”
Named after the founder of LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, the Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award honors an individual who has gone above and beyond to inspire the lives of juniors through their passion and dedication to empowering girls through golf. LaBauve was an LPGA Teaching Professional in Phoenix, Ariz., and the mother of two daughters when she founded Girls Golf in 1989.
“Cori Matheson wakes up every day thinking of ways to make LPGA*USGA Girls Golf better,” said LaBauve, who founded the Girls Golf site now managed by Matheson and who serves as her mentor and friend. “That’s what I call passion. She shares her enthusiasm and wisdom with each girl in her program. They feel special knowing she believes in them. She doesn’t stop there. She mentors other LPGA Site Directors across the country as well. Cori is one of the most giving, creative and energized people I know. She lives the 5 E’s. She doesn’t just promote them.”
Matheson began playing golf by sitting in a cart with her dad. A friend from their community introduced her to Girls Golf when she was 12 years old, and the rest is history. She now continues her passion with Girls Golf of Phoenix as she enters her seventh year running the program. Each year, Matheson holds more than 40 events in the Phoenix area, ranging from competitive tournaments and goal-setting workshops to fun events and opportunities for partners.
“As a family, we are deeply indebted to Cori and Girls Golf of Phoenix for the difference she’s made in our lives,” said Jenny Bockerstette, whose daughter Amy was a member of the program. “I also believe that as a community, we are indebted to Cori. Through her willingness to go above and beyond she’s made a difference for hundreds of girls and, like a stone in a pond, the ripple effect of her actions has made a positive impact on many other lives as well. Cori Matheson deserves and has earned the recognition that the Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award represents.
“The Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award was specifically created for someone like LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix Director Cori Matheson. As a parent of an alumna of Girls Golf of Phoenix, I can’t imagine there is anyone more deserving than Cori.”