Soon after the conclusion of the LET’s qualifying school, those joining the tour for the first time gathered together for a Rookie Welcome Dinner in La Manga’s impressive conference suite. Before settling down for what was an event designed to be both fun and informative, the Rookies took part in some light-hearted ice-breaker activities. As the members of the Rookie Class of 2020 are from many different countries, the LET’s Development Director, Mike Round, led some activities that enabled the players to interact with each other and establish new connections in the hope that they will blossom into new friendships. Mike explained to the group that the LET’s Rookie Orientation Programme exists to ensure a smooth transition onto the tour and to make all of the Rookies feel part of the LET family and amongst friendly faces.
During the dinner, the LET’s Director of Communications, Beth Cutler, interviewed ex-player Eva-Lotta Strömlid, who is now a member of the LET’s Development Department, about her own experiences. As well as giving the Rookies lots of useful advice, the interview was used as an example of the sort of off-course activity the Rookies might come across in their professional careers.
Before the evening concluded, the LET’s Chair, Marta Figueras-Dotti gave an inspirational speech in which she offered very valuable words of wisdom about how to ensure a long, successful and enjoyable career. She recommended to the Rookies that they should work hard and communicate with those around them, but also be gentle with those they meet. Above all, she encouraged them to listen to their bodies and listen to their hearts.
The following morning after some much-needed rest, there was a more formal Rookie meeting at which members of LET staff gave a series of presentations about different elements of the LET’s work. As well as essential information about tournament operations, the Rookies were told about the organisation’s communications activities and their responsibilities to the development of the game, particularly for women and girls. Through the season, the LET’s Development Department will support the Class of 2020 with a series of education workshops and they will be given access to additional resources.
Commenting on the efforts made to support the new batch of Rookies, Maggie Simmermacher from Argentina, said: “I enjoyed very much my time at the reception and dinner after the last round of play, and also the meeting we had the next morning. It helped me get to know new players, or who are at least new to me, and also get to know better the ones I played with before. I think the LET is doing a great job in bringing us together and helping us overcome all the changes as smoothly as possible. The staff made me feel part of the tour and of that big family that is kind to each other and works to grow the game of golf together. The information was really useful and to see other players there, listening and learning from the LET, made me feel part of it and excited for the upcoming season. I know life on tour is going to be different, but I am super excited about this opportunity!”
Echoing Maggie’s sentiments, Alison Muirhead said: “I thought the activities before the dinner allowed us as Rookies to meet each other off the golf course and get to know a little bit more about each other. It will be nice to see some familiar faces when we travel to future tournaments, especially at the beginning of the season when everything is new.” She added: “The dinner itself was fun as we got to talk amongst ourselves as well as meet the various organisers and media people involved in the tour. The speech by retired golfer and Board Member, Marta Figueras-Dotti, was really useful giving us advice about life on tour from someone who has been there.” She concluded: “I appreciate all the time and effort that everyone put into the meeting and the dinner and cannot wait to start the season and to see everyone again.”
Before leaving to head home, Maiken Bing Paulsen from Norway summed up the thoughts and feelings of many of the Rookies saying: “I think the rookie meeting and the dinner were great! I got to meet some of the new girls and exchange social media information to keep in touch. The staff were friendly and welcoming, making it much easier for me to reach out to them in the future.”