Chie Arimura stands at the 18th tee at Pinehurst. She measures the wind, adjusts her grip on the club, and plots her approach to the green in two. After sending her shot sailing down the fairway, she takes in the cheers from the gallery as she strides down the fairway. Chie knows that when she reaches the green and gracefully sinks her ball to the roar of the crowds, her job doesn’t end with her name at the top of the leaderboard. It ends on the podium with trophy in hand, where the media is abuzz with hungry questions for this 2013 LPGA rookie sensation. Since turning professional in 2006 in Japan, she has had the luxury of engaging her fans comfortably in her native tongue. Now her voice is heard all over the world, on television, on the radio, on the web, in the newspapers and magazines, and all in English.
Back at the clubhouse Chie takes advantage of LPGA’s partnership with Language Training Center (LTC), and meets with her language instructor. She has a chance to fine tune her responses to questions ranging from her golf swing to her favorite recipe for goulash. A couple times a week each tournament, she studiously focuses on her English conversation skills. Because the media tent is teeming with talk, Chie is passionate about being able to express herself fluently and confidently in English. Now that she’s on the LPGA world stage, she wants to be able to relate personably with her mushrooming fan base. Chie knows that it is one thing to “get” the vocabulary of a dogleg right, but it is yet another to build her repertoire of idiomatic expression that permeates the English language and makes for personal connections with fans and media.
English isn’t the only sought after second language on the Tour. LTC offers language instruction to LPGA golfers who represent countries and cultures as varied as the plaid on golf pants. Some of the women tee up their language skills in Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, or Portuguese. LTC follows the Tour around the globe, helping them bridge communication gaps wherever they go. In keeping with LTC’s customized and flexible language programs, instructors meet with clients at their places of work or at their homes. Fortunately for the women of LPGA, their places of work are the best golf courses in the world!
As you look at the top of the leaderboard this weekend, reach out and connect with these fabulous women golfers in any language.