Women of the Gateway PGA

There is something new and exciting happening in the Gateway Section, which is based in St. Louis and includes Central/Eastern Missouri, as well as Central/Southern Illinois.

Women of the Gateway PGA is the collective idea of Barbara Blanchar, PGA Professional at WingHaven Country Club and Sue Rector, Board Chair/Volunteer for the PGA REACH Gateway Foundation…. two women who love golf, view golf as more than just a game and see the importance in connecting others with like-interests and like-mindfulness.

“We felt that there was a need to bring women within our Gateway Section together to network and to grow professionally and personally.  Sue and I have strong backgrounds in professional development and we felt that we could combine our efforts to connect women within our Gateway Section in positive ways”, shared Barbara Blanchar.

With the strong support of PGA Professional Ali Wells, Executive Director of the Gateway Section and the PGA REACH Gateway Foundation, Barbara and Sue began their planning in early fall, 2021 of the new group… Women of the Gateway PGA.

The mission of the Women of the Gateway PGA is simple, yet impactful:

Women of the Gateway PGA is a mentorship program, which provides:

*Personal and Professional Growth

*Opportunities to Network

*Forums to Share Relevant Topics and Ideas

Sue Rector shared that “Barbara and I wanted to think of a name for our group which could be replicated in other Sections if they wanted to start a group similar to ours. Women of the Gateway PGA seemed perfect to us as it describes a wide variety of women who can become involved and it provides a possible name for other Sections; taking off ‘Gateway PGA’ and adding in their own Section’s name”.

The initial gathering was on January 6th, 2022 and the invitees were women who are all involved in the golf industry which included PGA Professionals, Assistant Golf Professionals working toward their PGA Certifications, a PGA Works Fellow, and women from the Gateway Section staff and Foundation.  Barbara and Sue held their first gathering in person and offered virtual contact.  Their goal is to expand this group of women each and every time they have an opportunity to connect.

“Finding Your Personal Brand…Why This Is Important To Your Personal and Professional Growth” was the topic of their first professional development workshop.   The topic stimulated reflective thoughts from all in attendance.   The group discussions provided participants opportunities to share, to learn, and to get more acquainted with each other.  The meeting’s leaders felt that this initial gathering was a great start to something special.

For the first year, Barbara and Sue are planning in-person (with virtual contact) gatherings in January, February, March, October, and November with relevant topics.  In the months when golf season is in full swing, they plan to email relevant professional development information, produce periodic newsletters to highlight ladies within the group, and arrange for some Women of the Gateway PGA Happy Hours to stay connected!  A LinkedIn group account to stay connected is in the works as well.

“I am very excited about the new “Women of the Gateway PGA” initiative started by Barbara and Sue.  This group will certainly prove valuable for women, at any point in their golf professional career, as professional development will collide with networking to create a positive space for growth and career advancement.  The Gateway Section and its members will absolutely benefit from the hard work of these two dedicated ladies.” Ali Wells.

The PGA of America is doing their part on a national level to promote women in the golf industry. Barbara and Sue, with support from Ali Wells, are trying to do their part on a local/regional level to connect, support, and KEEP women in their Gateway Section.

For more information on Women in the Gateway PGA, feel free to contact Barbara and Sue through email and/or their LinkedIn accounts!

Barbara Blanchar: bablanchar@gmail.com

Sue Rector: suerector@gmail.com


Connecting expands possibilities—in work and in life—for ourselves as well as for others

Adele Scheele