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Oct 05, 2023

Kelley Hester Named LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year

LPGA Release

Clemson, S.C. – Kelley Hester has been named the LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year for 2022-23, it was announced today by the LPGA Professionals. Hester is a five-time winner of the Southeast Section Coach of the year honor (2009, 2016, 2021, 2022, 2023), but this is the second time she has been selected as the National Coach of the Year (2009).

The national award winners were selected by the LPGA Professionals membership’s Executive Committee from the pool of Section Award winners voted on by officers of the six regional sections: Central, International, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Western.

Below is what the LPGA Professionals released about the award: 

The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.

LPGA Professionals Class A member Kelley Hester has spent the last 25 years of her life coaching college golf, selflessly putting her athletes ahead of herself. Taking an honorable approach to her work, Hester’s goal is to be an athlete-centered coach who encourages a growth mindset in her students, ultimately allowing her program to be student-led. With a strong focus on culture, she strives to build a strong team of like-minded players who fully support one another.

Starting in 1998, Hester began her coaching career at Mercer University before moving to other universities. She started UNLV’s golf program and went on to serve as Head Coach at the University of Arkansas, the University of Georgia, and Furman University before landing her current role at Clemson University. After seven years of coaching there, the women’s golf team won their first-ever ACC Championship in the 2022-23 season.

This year, the Clemson University Women’s Golf Team improved in overall stroke average across the board, firing 18 rounds of 68 or better, and saw team players compete at the highest levels including the Canadian Open and LPGA Dow Team Championship. With such notable accomplishments under her belt, Hester was voted the 2023 ACC Coach of the Year by her peers.

She is an engaged member of the LPGA and plays an active role in leadership as a member of the LPGA Membership Growth Committee since 2021. For the last three years, Hester has hosted the LPGA Coaching Seminar. In 2022 and 2023 she organized the Clemson LIFE golf clinic for intellectually challenged students. She also coached at the LPGA Leadership Academy in New Jersey in 2022 and 2023. 

“I am truly humbled to be named the LPGA National Coach of the Year. There are so many worthy coaches out there and I feel blessed to be honored,” said Hester. “The players on my team at Clemson as well as our entire support staff work incredibly hard to represent Clemson Women’s Golf. We enjoyed a banner year at Clemson, and they deserve all the credit. The LPGA has been so good to me, and I cherish every minute of my time spent serving junior and college golfers as well as fellow LPGA members who join me in the coaching ranks.”