Pursuing her passion for teaching the game of golf has taken Kathy Murphy all across the country, and even other parts of the globe.
Soon, it will take the Gettysburg resident to the LPGA Hall of Fame.
Murphy is one of three women selected for induction into the prestigous hall, joining Linda Vollstedt and Debbie Crews.
“Of course I was thrilled, just esctatic,” said Murphy of being named a 2020 inductee. “It is a process by which I knew I had been nominated, and this year was my year. There isn’t anything better for me; it is something I’ll cherish forever.”
The only catch upon learning she had received the highest honor in her field was that she was supposed to keep it under wraps. Not an easy thing to do when you’ve got spine-tingling news to share.
“I got the call to the hall from our national president a week ago but the release from the LPGA wasn’t going out immediately, so they asked the three of us to keep it to ourselves,” said Murphy. “That was hard to do. I did share with my siblings and (Vollstedt & Crews) are dear, dear friends from Phoenix so we were able to share our excitement with each other.”
Murphy, an assistant coach for the Gettysburg College women’s golf program since 2012, found golf as her calling while attending Miami University of Ohio. A former junior player in high school, Murphy said opportunities for women to play on the collegiate level were often scarce. That didn’t stop the Physical Education major from pursuing a career in coaching.
“After college I was able to take my love of the game and teaching sport, which brought me to the golf business,” she said. “As soon as I started at the club level there was no doubt my passion lied in helping people play the game and enjoy it more.”
Murphy has done just that, and on the highest level, for more than 40 years. The Massachusets native has enjoyed teaching stops at a multitude of places including Stratton Mountain Golf School in Vermont, Bonnie View Country Club in Baltimore, Bumble Bee Hollow Golf Center in Mechanicsburg, the Arizona State University Karsten Golf Course in Tempe. During her stint in Phoenix, Murphy began helping fellow golf instructors by taking an instrumental role in development and curriculum of the LPGA Global Education and Certification Programs.
It was during her time as Lead Instructor for the LPGA that Murphy traveled to South Korea to help grow the women’s game on a global scale.
“We were teaching the teachers to be skilled in their communication and knowledge of the game,” she said of her time spent abroad. “A lot of it is psychological.”
Helping players develop the mental side of their game is as rewarding as fine-tuning their mechanics, said Murphy.
“I want to make sure they can transfer what they learn to the golf course so they play better, regardless of their score,” she said. “There is so much to enjoy about and it is such a creative process. It’s how you think, not what you think. It can be so satisfying when you hit that great shot.
“It’s that lightbulb moment when a student goes ‘I know what you’re talking about, I just felt it.’ Learning comes from experience, you can’t read a book and go out and do it.”
Ever the teacher, Murphy has conducted more than 100 educational and training programs nationally. In 2010 Golf Digest and the LPGA named Murphy one of the 50 Best Teachers, and three years later she won the Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, which recognizes a golf teacher who has made major contributions teaching the game.
Murphy’s expertise has greatly benefitted the Gettysburg College program, which has captured eight consecutive Centennial Conference championships since her arrival. The Bullets have advanced to the NCAA Division III Championships each year since 2014, and have crowned five Centennial Conference Players of the Year and 18 all-conference first-team players.
“I love living in Gettysburg and the college has been a wonderful experience for me,” she said.
Murphy has no plans to slow down or stray from the game she loves. She is instructing at Penn National Golf Course and has been asked to do the same as a teaching pro at the Waynesboro Country Club. Murphy said more females are playing golf worldwide than ever before, the result of a push by the LPGA to make the sport more inclusive.
“I love to get more kids and women playing as well,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages. And as strange as these times are, golf is a pretty safe sport right now. It’s a safe place to be on the course and rounds of golf are up all over the country. I hope it continues.”