Feature: Former Mustang Turned Nike Rep Edmunds A Trailblazer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioGolf.com

When LondonOntarioGolf.com established the Heart Award in 2011, former Londoner now St. Thomas resident Lindsey Edmunds was exactly the type of person we envisioned would win the annual award.

At the young age of 34, Edmunds, a Nike Golf sales representative since 2010, has not only accomplished a myriad of achievements, but also has endured extraordinary hardship on and off the golf course. Debilitating injuries squashed her dreams of becoming a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour. She was divorced, and in April 2017 lost her mother, Gail, to cancer. And she has fought for credibility within an industry sector still dominated by males.

Edmunds – who along with her father, Alan Edmunds, founded the Western Mustangs women’s golf program in 2002 – is a mentor, a trailblazer, an overachiever and a survivor. Her story is sure to inspire anyone willing to listen.

The Heart Award recognizes a London and area community member who has helped grow the game of golf, and who has given back to the game through extraordinary measures. Golf professionals/instructors, golf mentors, golf course owners/operators, golf course architects/designers and members of the media are eligible to receive the Heart Award.

Past winners include: Mike Silver (2017); Bob Martin (2016); East Park Golf (2015); Mike Weir (2014); Patty Howard (2013); Fred Kern (2012); and Mike Olizarevitch (2011). Full biographies of each winner are published here https://londonontariosports.com/the-heart-award/.

February is Heart Month for Heart & Stroke – the charity of choice of LondonOntarioGolf.com, and our sister publication, LondonOntarioSports.com.

To say that Edmunds has a lot of heart would be a gross understatement. And to understand her story, you need to go back to her high school days, where she excelled enough to graduate at age 17 before beginning studies at Western University.

“I didn’t start playing golf until I was 15,” Edmunds said, “but I started playing – a lot of it – and I fell in love with the game. I was granted a full academic scholarship at Western. My golf game wasn’t spectacular, so going to a U.S. school to play golf wasn’t even on the radar. I hadn’t even broken 80 by the time I was a freshman at Western.”

Alan Edmunds, a Western University associate professor, author, lecturer and sports psychologist, penned the 2015-published book, Golf On Auto Focus: Training Your Brain to Better Your Game. Obviously, his knowledge of the game has proven to be invaluable to Lindsey’s golf career. So when Lindsey inquired about playing golf at Western, what better person to turn to for assistance than her father?

“One of the first things I did when I was on campus was ask about playing golf for the Mustangs,” Lindsey said. “I was told there was no women’s team, but that I could try out for the men’s team. I was really disappointed, and wondered aloud why there shouldn’t be a new women’s team at Western.”

With no Ontario University Athletics (OUA) women’s golf division, and with no available funding from the university – Western was not permitted to add another varsity sport at the time – Lindsey arrived at the idea of forming a women’s division within OUA men’s golf tournaments. Both Western and the OUA approved her idea in late-2001.

“That first year, we had four girls on our team, but we worked hard to get the word out and it grew quickly. Over the next few years, my dad and I would enter tournaments in Canada and the U.S. with a full Western team, and we won some of those events. And, we paid for it all ourselves – travel, uniforms, all of it. It was tough telling girls, ‘Come play for Western, but it will cost you $2,000 to $3,000.’”

Over the first two years, Edmunds won seven tournaments including the 2005 National Women’s University Championship. With news about her efforts at Western spreading like wildfire throughout the OUA, by the third year competition was stiff. Yet before Edmunds graduated in 2005, she and her Mustangs teammates almost pulled off the impossible by coming close to winning the National University Women’s Championship, sanctioned by the Royal Canadian Golf Association (RCGA). Today, Golf Canada still oversees both men’s and women’s college and university golf championships.

Edmunds, who studied Sports Psychology at Western, is a world traveller and competitor, having competed at two World University Championships, in Taiwan (2002) and Thailand (2004). Her father coached that Canadian team in Italy in 2006.

In 2001, Edmunds was named a W. Garfield Weston Loran Scholar. The Loran Scholars Foundation, in partnership with universities, donors and volunteers across the country, invests in the future of Canada. It offers the country’s largest and most comprehensive four-year undergraduate award (valued at $100,000) to young Canadians on the basis of character, service and the promise of leadership.

And in 2004, the RCGA Foundation awarded Edmunds with The John Dobson Foundation Scholarship for the 2004-05 academic year. Dobson, who died in 2013, was a philanthropist, Royal Bank President and involved executive and director with both the RCGA and Quebec Golf Association. The Montreal native was named to the Order of Canada in 1997. He played 587 golf courses around the world as a Golf Digest course rater.

As captain of the Western women’s golf team, a trailblazer and a lobbyist, Edmunds saw the Canadian University Sport (CIS), now U Sports, recognize women’s golf in 2003 during the team’s second season of competition. After she graduated, Alan continued to coach the Western women’s team through the 2006-07 season. Today, the program remains stronger than ever under head coach Cheryl Beech, and competes within its own OUA division.

With school behind her, Edmunds turned professional in 2006, played on mini tours – including the CN Women’s Tour – endured 28-hour road trips on U.S. highways, and even suffered a serious bout with food poisoning, all the while reaching for the brass ring. She never gave up on her dream to play on the LPGA Tour – this, from a school girl who just a few years earlier couldn’t break 80. Edmunds worked with swing coach Sean Foley, who just a few months later would take on a famous student by the name of Tiger Woods. Under Foley, Edmunds saw much success on the links with three strong finishes.

In 2008, it all came to a halt. While jogging in London, Edmunds was hit by a car at a crosswalk. She suffered whiplash, dislocated ribs, a severely sprained left ankle and a severe contusion to her right knee which developed a blood clot and required surgery. She underwent Tib-Fib surgery in July 2009. Edmunds relied on crutches and a wheelchair, worked tirelessly through rehabilitation, and seriously thought she would never have a future in golf. And although she couldn’t walk the golf course for almost four years, she made a comeback, even competing on sponsor’s exemption at the inaugural Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at Waterloo’s Grey Silo Golf Club in 2012 – her first round walking the course since her accident.

In 2010, while using a power cart with permission of Golf Canada, Edmunds competed in a CN Women’s Tour event at Gatineau, Quebec. It was her first tournament in more than a year. She posted a respectable 75-79.

In October of this year, Golf Canada will re-instate Edmunds as an amateur golfer. “I’m very excited about playing amateur golf again,” Edmunds said. “I’ll play more in competitive events. I love the game, so this new chapter in my life is very much welcomed.”

Edmunds has shown signs of brilliance on the links in recent years, impressing on the men’s Greater London Mini Tour, and even capturing the PGA of Ontario Mixed Team Series with partner and London-based golf instructor Gareth Raflewski at Cambridge Golf Club in 2015.

This past summer, Edmunds suffered a partially torn rotator cuff while playing co-ed softball, so that put golf on the back shelf until this past September. Now, she’s chomping at the bit to tee off this spring.

With life comes heartbreak and happiness. She lost her mother to cancer in April 2017. In June of this year, she and her fiancé, Dave Hummel, are expecting their first child – a baby boy. They’ve recently purchased their first home in St. Thomas, and plan to become members at St. Thomas G&CC in Union.

In 2010, while still competing as a golf professional, Edmunds joined the Nike Golf team as a sales and club fitting representative covering Southwestern Ontario. She was, in fact, the only female golf equipment rep in Canada – again, blazing a trail within the golf industry. Said Edmunds, “Golf had been a part of my life since I was little, so it was nice to stay in the industry as a professional career.”

In summer 2016, Nike Golf announced it would leave the golf equipment sector in order to see its sales reps, including Edmunds, fully concentrate on footwear and apparel.

When you consider Edmunds’ career in golf, it, too, promised very little within a highly-competitive field. But there’s no quit in the winner of the 2018 London Ontario Golf Heart Award.

“I love it when someone tells me I can’t do something,” Edmunds said. “It only gives me incentive to go out and do it!

Medical Journal History

There’s more to Edmunds’ story. In 2001, she became the youngest person ever to be published in the Canadian Medical Journal. At age 16 and living with her family in Nova Scotia, she assembled a National Science Fair project and surveyed 100 doctors on whether they had given probiotics to patients. Her sister, Andrea, had gotten sick, was given probiotics for a sinus infection, and they worked. But beneficial bacteria in Andrea’s intestines was also killed, leaving her very ill.

Edmunds’ survey of Nova Scotia doctors earned her a bronze medal, as well as the Medical Journal  article. She received 66 responses, and learned that while all of the doctors prescribed antibiotics, only 21 per cent had prescribed probiotics. In fact, some of the doctors admitted they had not even heard of probiotics.

Heart Award Edmunds’ Latest Accolade

With so many accomplishments, Edmunds is now recognized alongside some of Canada’s most influential golf industry members.

“I am truly honoured to be receiving the London Ontario Golf Heart Award,” Edmunds added, “and I know my mother would be proud of me. I hope that my story can inspire other women within the golf industry who aspire to achieve great things.”

We’re thrilled to be honouring Lindsey Edmunds with the 8th Annual London Ontario Golf Heart Award, and even more happy to be able to tell her story to countless others.

Interested in tickets to the luncheon and awards ceremony? Contact news@londonontariogolf.com for information.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.

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