April 16, 2013 By Nina Stanley
She’s On Fire!
Photography by Jorge Alvarez. Styling by Steven Anderson
The beautiful and talented woman gracing our cover is Courtney Harter, a professional golfer and model! She’s currently a member of the LPGA Symetra Tour, Ladies European tour, Canadian Women’s Tour and Suncoast Ladies Series. She turned professional in June 2011 after graduating from the University of Alabama. 2012 was her first full season playing professionally during which she successfully Monday qualified for the 2012 LPGA Shoprite Classic and 2012 LPGA Jamie Farr Classic. Playing in these two LPGA events along with playing on the other tours greatly enhanced her transition from Collegiate to Professional Golf.
“One of the biggest challenges making this transition, is that in addition to continuing working on and improving my golf game, is that I must also focus on learning the business/entrepreneurial skills necessary to be a successful touring professional.”
Her father introduced her to the game of golf at a very young age. At first golf started as a way to spend time with her father, but quickly grew into a passion and love that she knew would hold on to for a lifetime. “I began playing competitively around the age of 10. I started competing locally, and then moved on to regional and national events. Not only did I realize my love of the game but that I also loved the competition, traveling and the process of preparing and training for each event. The game of golf helped give me purpose and focus through my adolescence, and taught me valuable and important life lessons that have shaped me into the person that I am today. I loved how the games challenges me mentally, emotionally, and physically and that in many respects gets harder the better you become because your expectations grow along with your game.
“I was also drawn to the game because I did not need anyone else in order to play or practice; the game of golf can be a very social game or solitary one, just you against the course. Because of these reasons I knew at a very early age that I was hooked and wanted do this professionally.”
Courtney’s primary goal is to learn and improve each day and to become an elite performer on the LPGA and Ladies European Tour. Her ambition is not only for herself, but to give back to this game that she Loves, by paying forward the opportunities that she has had through mentoring and supporting the groups and people who have enabled her to do what she does.
What sets Courtney apart from the competition is her passion and desire to learn and grow as an athlete and a person, she is never satisfied!
Short and longs terms goals for Courtney are to be recognized globally as one of the faces of Women’s professional golf; to have her brand, “Play Harter’ fully developed and recognized globally; and her foundation “Build U” making a difference in young peoples’ lives by giving them support to believe in themselves so they can build their interests into their passions.
Courtney is in the process of developing a foundation called “BUILD U”. “Everybody has their own set of challenges and go through difficult times or moments when they do not know what to do. Whenever I went through difficult times or challenging periods in my life my parents’ advice to me was always to look within and Build U; Build U was their way of guiding me to focus on my strengths rather than my failures by focusing on building my interests. However, I realized that a lot of kids don’t have that type of support and guidance so I believe that through mentoring that I could help others identify their interests, find their passion, grow their lives and to ignore those who say they cant. I believe passion brings confidence, independence, strength, and happiness. Many people get lost or lack direction because they stop growing and building themselves and instead look to others to provide their happiness.
I want to start my mentoring here in the Tampa Bay Area but realize this is something I can share wherever my travels take me. My plan is to go to local schools and speak to students about finding their passion and explaining the principles of BUILD U.”
Some of her Courtney’s most memorable experiences include her first hole in one on the 15th hole at the 2009 NCAA Women’s National Championship at Caves Valley; making the 12 foot put to win a playoff to get into her first LPGA event at the LPGA Shoprite Classic in 2012; qualifying for the US Women’s Amateur National Championship at age of 15, her first National USGA event, and her travels to fascinating and interesting places both within the United States and Internationally
Family has always played a huge part in her life. Her family is extremely close and they spend a great deal of time together. When she’s not golfing she’s attending sporting events, Courtney is a big Tampa Bay Rays, Lightning and Buccaneers fan. She loves the Arts and has her younger sister Alexis to thank for bringing that into her life. Alexis is a Musical Theatre major at Emerson College in Boston, MA. “I am so proud of how talented and disciplined she is and I enjoy watching her perform every chance I get. Although what we do is so very different I think it helps keep us both balanced. We are constantly learning from one another.”
Panache asked Courtney, who you owe your success to. “So many people have played a part in my success. No one does this alone it takes a team. I have had the support of coaches, teachers, family, and friends along the way. I am also thankful for the Companies and individuals who sponsor me and provide financial support. It takes a lot of people to backing you and believing in you to play at this level. I probably owe the most to my parents who have always challenged me to be my best, held me accountable through the good and bad times, and taught me how to believe in myself. They are incredible role models, and they are the hardest working and most selfless people I know.”
To learn more about this amazing woman, visit www.courtneyharter.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @CourtneyHarter.
Born January 23, 1989 in Clearwater, Florida and has lived in Clearwater her entire life. Daughter of Craig and Tami Harter has a sister, Alexis. Graduated from Palm Harbor University High School in 2007 receiving a diploma from the International Baccalaureate Program, then attended the University of Alabama on an athletic scholarship for Women’s golf. Won first collegiate event (Wildcat Fall Invitational in 2007), named to SEC All-SEC Freshmen team. Four year letterman with 32 career starts, named 2007-2008 SEC Freshmen Academic All-America and 2008-2011 member of Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. Graduated with Honors in May 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Communication Studies, also received a minor in Business Administration and inducted into Lambda Pi Eta- National Communications Honor Society, turned Professional June 2011. When she’s not on tour traveling, Courtney still considers Clearwater her home.