Estela Morales is changing the game of golf for Latinas one swing at a time.

The Connecticut-based woman co-founded the CT Latinas Golf Team, teaching young Latinas golf fundamentals while helping them uplift their self-esteem.

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Morales, originally from Mexico, has played golf for nearly 40 years. She learned to love the sport thanks to her dad, who taught her how to play when she was eight.

“He took me to the course, and I just fell in love with the game,” Morales told Connecticut Public Radio. “He saw that and, thank god, he was able to have somebody to coach me like a professional golfer in Mexico, and I also competed in tournaments and that was part of my life.”

Now, Morales is keeping tradition in the family, teaching her son Christian to play, while helping the next generation of Latina golfers flourish.

“My son and I have played adult and youth Open during the First Tee Connecticut Golf Tournament,” she told mitù. “I coach him like my dad coached me. We have fun. It’s not that you win, but play with passion with joy and the rest comes alone.”

Morales wants the CT Latinas Golf Team to inspire young women

She currently coaches 16 young girls from the ages of five to 14-years-old. Coaching these girls reminds Morales of her childhood and her motivation to play the sport.

In an interview with CPR, 11-year-old Eilene Jimenez and 14-year-old Luna Adrian shared they play golf because it makes them happy and they love the sport.

“At first, I didn’t want to play golf, but now that I do, I feel good. So I do recommend it,” said Adrian. “Just try something new. You’ll never know if you’ll like it.”

Morales added the girls’ activities and training on social media as part of their training. From properly holding a golf club to positioning their bodies correctly when playing, her coaching skills bring it all in.

The CT Latinas Golf Team also incorporates the “5E Model” into their coaching to help their students build a firm foundation through active participation.

“We use the five E method from The Ladies Professional Golf Association Girls Golf USA curriculum to teach our girls,” she said. “We exercise, engage, energize, empower and enrich them.”

Morales and the CT Latinas Golf Team exercise their girls’ minds and bodies to help them unlock their full potential. They also act as positive female role models and mentors.

According to Morales, Latinas are changing golf for the better

Statistics from the National Golf Foundation show that 37% of today’s junior players are women. Additionally, more than one-quarter of junior players are people of color, which doubled in the last two decades.

Morales said Latinas are changing the game. Groups such as the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) and The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) are proof of this impact.

Per Morales, playing golf is sparking an interest in Latinas more than ever and it shows, “We are breaking that barrier; 70% of our group is Latinas.”

Although Morales has played golf since childhood, she wanted to represent as a pro golfer even more when she returned to school to get her LPGA Master Professional credentials.

“A degree that normally takes almost five years for some, I did it in two,” she shared. “My teachers, everyone was so surprised I did it in a short time because COVID helped.”

Other cities around the country are also encouraging Latinas to play golf

In Los Angeles, the Latina Golfers Association has over 2,000 members, using the hashtag #latinagolfers on social media. The hashtag brings awareness and showcases the powerful impact Latinas have in the sport.

In the Chicago area, another group of women is working towards teaching young Latinos how to play golf. While in Miami, First Tee empowers kids and teens through the game.

Training the CT Latinas Golf Team for success

The CT Latinas Golf Team will welcome another set of new students this September to continue growing the team and the future of Latina golfers.

“I’m excited for what we’re doing with Connecticut Latinas Golf Team, Morales said. “This is growing, and we’re here to inspire the next generation.”

Morales and the CT Latinas Golf Team will continue to empower the next generation through the game of golf in a fun and supportive environment.