Martha Lang of Birmingham, Ala., was recently elected chairman of the USGA Women’s Committee. She spoke with Ken Klavon at the USGA’s Annual Meeting in February and touched on her new role.
It’s been 11 years since you joined the USGA in a volunteer role and you’re now the chairman of the Women’s Committee. Was that a goal of yours?
I never had those aspirations, no. They asked me and I was totally delighted. I’m thrilled. It’s an honor and it’s something I wouldn’t have aspired to, but here I am.
Are you nervous taking on the lead role of the Women’s Committee?
I don’t know if nervous is the right word. I’ve watched some very good chairmen come through and you always think, ‘Do I measure up?’ I’ve got a good committee that will keep me on the straight and narrow.
You started with the Women’s Committee in 1999. How did that come about?
I had served on the Regional Affairs Committee and then I served on the Women’s Mid-Amateur Committee. Then they asked me to join.
You were vice chairman of the Women’s Committee for two years. What did those two years in that position teach you?
I really enjoyed working with [past chairman] Barbara [Douglas], but in my situation it was probably a little different than anyone else who had been vice chairman because of Barbara’s health. But she was really open and willing to let me do anything and everything, so it was great.
What would you like accomplish as you move forward?
I think our charge is championships and doing the best we can with staff, and to run the best championships that we can.
You are an accomplished golfer, having played in many USGA championships. What’s the biggest difference being a player versus an administrator?
Being an administrator has been so much fun for me because my golf-playing career has kind of gone down. It’s allowed me to give back to the game and stay involved with people, volunteers and the staff.
Why have you volunteered all these years?
I think you get so much direction from the staff. You get a lot of direction from the other volunteers. The people you meet, it’s so much fun. And we still get to stay involved with the championships. It’s very fulfilling.
What are some of the important issues for the Women’s Committee?
It’s just one thing after another. It’s so much fun to work on championships. I hold the Curtis Cup near and dear. It’s always fun to go back to a Curtis Cup.
We’re trying to get ready for championship season. Doing a little planning on all those championships and how we’re going to handle them… what we’re going to do. We’re getting geared up for championships. Girls golf and the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf is something we’re trying to be active in.
Would you rather be a player or an administrator?
Are you going to let me say good player? [laughing] A good player would be great. You have to take marginal player against administrator and I don’t know.
It’s a massive job to be the chairman of the Women’s Committee, correct?
You can’t say enough about staff. The staff sets you up so you can’t fail.
What are some of your highlights as a player?
Being a career amateur, playing on the Curtis Cup team really was fun. You get to play on a team, you get to represent the country. All of that really makes it special. And when I won the Women’s Mid-Amateur [in 1988] would be a second highlight.
What do you remember about the year you won the Mid-Amateur?
I don’t remember exactly where I was, but I know I almost missed making the cut. I was close to not making the cut and watching the scoreboard, chewing my fingernails. Maybe it was good because I took it one day at a time, one match at a time. I was probably the most surprised of all.
Do you have plans to attempt to qualify for any championships this year?
I haven’t decided. The USGA Senior Women’s Amateur is still out there. It’s a possibility.
What other interests do you have?
Both of my parents are older, and [husband] Ken and I spend a good amount of time with them. We enjoy playing golf, we enjoy traveling. The USGA picks some nice areas, so we get to go to some nice places for championships and be around nice people. When we lived in Louisiana, we did some fishing.