Coaching Confidence

Coaching Confidence

PGA Jr. League Coach Brittny Lott, LPGA, on using PGA Jr. League to stay accountable to the gift she’s been given

By Hayley Wilson

Some golf pros might be concerned when their program shrinks. Not so for PGA Jr. League Coach and LPGA Professional Brittny Lott.

Her PGA Jr. League program wasn’t shrinking because kids weren’t unhappily quitting. It was shrinking because, one by one, her players were making their high school golf teams.

“I know that PGA Jr. League gave them the on-course confidence to stand out above the rest and make the team,” she said.

Lott spent over a decade with The First Tee network. As an Outreach Coordinator for The First Tee of Metro Atlanta, she led successful LPGA*USGA Girls Golf programming at East Lake Golf Club’s Charlie Yates Golf Course. Across the street at Drew Charter School, Lott and fellow First Tee staff members offered golf as an elective.

It became evident there was a gap in her programming, and her students were missing an emphasis on playing golf and a safe space to apply those newly learned skills. 

“PGA Jr. League is something that we’re doing to help kids get acclimated to playing on the course,” Lott said. “They learn pace of play, etiquette and other things that can sometimes feel overwhelming, but PGA Jr. League makes it fun.
“I did it because my players were stuck,” she continued. “They could hit the ball but couldn’t understand how to play. For parents, PGA Jr. League becomes an easy thing because it’s an organized league.”

Lott developed quite the following of students who made their way over to Sugar Creek Golf & Tennis Club when she accepted the role of LPGA Girls Golf Coach/Instructor. 

Sugar Creek was a serendipitous homecoming.

“Everything I have is by the grace of God,” Lott replies when asked about how she got her start in the game. “I didn’t take a traditional junior golf route. I started playing golf at 12 years old after my parents divorced, at Sugar Creek with my dad who had only recently picked up golf himself.”

After staff members started commenting on her natural ability, Lott enrolled in golf camps and programs, eventually trying out as the only girl for the Sandy Creek High School golf team. She missed the cut by two strokes, but that didn’t stop her––Lott worked quickly to recruit her high school basketball teammates to form a girls golf team, which proudly came second in the regional championship.

From there, Lott found a great mentor in LaJean Gould, founder of the Women in Golf Foundation, who invited her to a collegiate event as a high school senior. 

“I had no scholarship offers, and my dad had just received disability from working for the railroad… We had no money for school,” Lott said. “My dad was sitting on a picnic bench, and coaches were surrounding him. I got five scholarship offers in one day.”

She soon accepted a full-ride scholarship to Southern University. While she makes it clear she was shooting in the 90s on the golf team, it didn’t matter. She made it.

After college, Lott became a high school teacher at Westlake, and started the girls golf team there. Her father, again her anchor to the game, introduced her to the director of The First Tee at Charlie Yates, where he worked part time. It was the forward trajectory she needed.

“I asked myself, ‘If I have to be held accountable for the gift I’ve been given, how can I do the most I can and take my talent the furthest it can go?’” she said. “I became an LPGA Professional, and with help along the way, became a Class A.” 

Lott currently works for Titleist full time, and most impressively, she coaches PGA Jr. League and leads Girls Golf programming each and every week after her 9-to-5.

“I couldn’t just turn my back on it,” she added. “The truth is, the kids are so positively impacted, I’ve decided I’ll just be tired and get over it.” 

Lott can cite student after student who have excelled beyond her coaching. There’s ninth grader Natalie, now on her high school golf team, who Lott has been teaching since Natalie was 8 years old; or Devin, a student of Lott’s since he was 5, whose passion was evident but lacked the confidence to succeed until PGA Jr. League. There’s Jakari, who is on her way to becoming an LPGA Professional… but not until after she gets her biomedical engineering degree.

Another is Jordyn Hanes, whose journey in golf is much like Lott’s––serendipitous, and very much a full circle moment for her family.

Jordyn and her Drew Charter golf teammates

Jordyn’s love of golf sparked when her dad picked it up at the height of the pandemic. She enrolled in The First Tee, and went on to join Lott’s Girls Golf program and PGA Jr. League team. Jordyn, who recently turned 14, is now a proud member of the Drew Charter School high school girls golf junior varsity team as an 8th grader.

“PGA Jr. League helped me get in the right mindset and skill to play on the course,” said Jordyn. “It’s helped me keep my game consistent, and I like doing it with Coach Lott.”

Much like her coach, Jordyn’s goal is to get a college scholarship and keep playing. 

Jordyn’s mother, Jenelle, credits Lott’s PGA Jr. League team with “providing a safe space for her to grow and gain confidence.” She saw her daughter blossom.

Jenelle grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her grandfather, Dr. David Mallette, Sr., was a member of Meadowbrook Country Club, which was chartered in the 1950s by a group of African-American men who were banned from other golf clubs due to their race. 

“I told Jordyn, ‘I know my grandfather is dancing in heaven knowing you’re playing his sport,” she said. “It’s beautiful that we’re here, two generations later.”