Dr. Christina Gladney is not your typical golfer. Gladney, a student of USGTF professional John Rosenthall, is a college professor, fitness expert, and higher education administrator with a passion for helping African Americans live healthy lives and excel in their professions. “I am new to the game of golf and see this game as a way of sharing tips for a healthy lifestyle while having fun,” is something Gladney says on a regular basis. She is the director of assessment at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and a visiting professor at Jackson State University in Mississippi.

Golf is new to Gladney. She has taken a very aggressive approach to learning the game and creating opportunities for her friends and colleagues to be introduced to the game of golf. For those who are already golfers, she loves to create opportunities for them to network while partaking in the sport. As a public health instructor, the very same traits she expects and demands from her students are the ones she brings to her golf lessons. Those traits are to listen carefully, pay close attention to your environment, watch how others perfect their skills, and mimic what you see in others you would like to emulate.

Although new to the game, Gladney has taken her enthusiasm and interest to the next level. While sharpening her skills, she has decided to expand the game by introducing golf to African-American women and girls by combining golf with healthy living aspects and professional development. The new program she is leading is The Essence of Golf. The program supports participants through empowerment initiatives related to holistic wellness and professional networking.

A typical Essence of Golf event includes a weekend of golf lessons, rounds of golf, and facilitated discussions designed to strengthen individuals spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, socially, and professionally. Professional networking is an essential element of the weekend. Participants leave the weekend with a renewed spirit, new relationships, and new approaches to self-improvement.

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