#LifeMatters, hosted by Tony Chapman, is a special 6-part series presented by RBC. In this podcast series, Tony speaks with Canadians who’ve faced overwhelming challenges, overcoming hardships and growing them into amazing opportunities. These true stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things might leave you inspired, opening up possibilities for your own life.
Brooke Henderson’s story is one of hard work, focus and support. Named the Canadian Press Female Athlete of the Year in 2015, 2017 and 2018, she has won nine LPGA tournaments — the most of any professional golfer on major tours in Canadian history. She won her first professional tournament at age 14 and her first major at age 18.
And while those outside golfing circles likely never heard of her until 2016 (the year she won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), the professional golfing world has had their eye on the twenty-three year old for well over a decade. Because Brooke Henderson isn’t an overnight success — rather, she’s been working on her game since she was three years old.
In this fifth episode of Tony Chapman’s #LifeMatters, Henderson shares her story from childhood to golf superstardom. What’s most remarkable about her journey to the top is the consistency of her trajectory — and a huge part of her steady climb has been the presence and support of her family.
Success is a family affair
Henderson began playing golf at the age of three. She and her sister Brittany, who is six years older, began playing at the same time. “It was just what our family did then, I just fell in love with the game,” she tells Chapman. “I wanted to spend time with my sister and my dad and to do that, it was out on the golf course.”
Over the years, Henderson always tried to follow in her older sister’s footsteps. “She made Canada’s national team when she was fourteen, and so did I. I was always just trying to be like her.” After success on the college scene and a handful of LPGA tour events, Brittany now caddies for her younger sister and offers support on and off the course. “I’m grateful to have her by my side, because I can’t imagine travelling and doing all this by myself. You really need someone — and she’s been the perfect someone.”
And with a dad as a coach, she could practice every day through her childhood, with the added benefit of father-daughter time. They would practice after school and through summer vacations. All the while, however, they maintained a healthy balance of family versus sport. “My dad and I have a great relationship,” Henderson says. “He’s one of my best friends, which is really unique since he’s my coach. But he always had a rule that he’s my dad first. I think he did a great job of separating those two roles.”
Henderson’s mom, meanwhile, is her biggest cheerleader. “She doesn’t play golf, but she’s always been my number one supporter,” Henderson tells Chapman, who knows she wouldn’t be in the position she is today without her family. “It’s important for everybody to know that they’re the reason I’m here, and a huge part of the success of our team.”
The little things add up
Brooke Henderson has worked hard on her game for nearly twenty years (and is only twenty three). She is focused, practices consistently, learns from her mistakes, and has developed patience and composure. Hers is not a groundbreaking approach — these are the things athletes have been preaching for generations — but the consistency with which she executes on it is what has enabled her to achieve the level of success she has enjoyed so far. Her story shows that when you work hard, persevere and keep your eye on the ball (literally and figuratively), your dreams are within reach. A world class support team doesn’t hurt either.
For other stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, listen to the #LifeMatters Radio Show Friday’s at Noon on I Heart Radio and these stations:
- Newstalk 1010, Toronto
- CFRA 580 Ottawa
- CJAD 800 Montreal
- CJBK 1290 London
- Newstalk 610 St. Catharine’s
- CKLW 800 Windsor
- CKFR 1150 Kelowna
- Fridays at 1 p.m.
- CFAX 1070 AM Victoria
- Fridays at 8 p.m.
- BNN Bloomberg, CFTE 1410 Vancouver
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