Leadership Above Par

Leadership Above Par

November 22nd, 2014  |  Published in Community

By Mary Keovisai

In 2010, Sith Noy Phousirith, Ace Thiphavanthong, and Kop Perry Sinasone went on a search around the U.S. looking for other Lao golfers and Lao golf communities. On this search, they found similar trends among golf clubs in different states. They found that many small clubs and associations existed solely as a boys club. They also noticed that most of the golfers are former soccer players who have, for one reason or another, given up soccer and moved on to golf. Mostly though, they found old friends with a similar appreciation for golf and an idea to unite the Lao golf communities in hopes to rekindle old friendships, develop new ones and set a solid foundation for future generations of golfers. It was through this search that they founded the National Lao Golf Association (NLGA). The NLGA is a non-profit whose vision is to unite all Lao golfers from the U.S. and across the globe by bringing them together for an annual National Lao Golf Championship Tournament.

The NLGA recently held their first golf tournament in Las Vegas on October 18-19, 2014. The tournament saw an impressive turnout with over 110 golfers participating from all over the country. Sticking with the NLGA’s mission to organize Lao golfers, as well as networking with other ethnicities, the tournament was open for all amateur golfers, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or skill level.

Planning a tournament of this caliber was not a simple task. It took two years for Phousirith, Thiphavanthong, and Sinasone to find and recruit the rest of the principle organizers for NLGA. They looked for people who not only loved golf, but who also met their core values and who had professional skillsets in order to function as a successful team and business. They were able to find Nuny Kham-One, Lo Vongsaga, Bounvilay Bannavong, Lang LaVanh, and Sone Bernard Bouttarobol, and brought them on board.

After putting together their team, they went to work on the actual planning process for the tournament. They all had different schedules, were busy with their own lives and lived in various parts of the country, but were still able to make time to plan the tournament. Meetings went from once a month, to bi-weekly, and then weekly as the tournament date approached. The organizers also received a lot of support and help from their spouses who worked as volunteers during the planning process and during the tournament itself. In the end, they were able to put on a successful tournament and brought Lao golfers together for a wonderful weekend.

NLGA aims to have the annual tournament take place on the 3rd weekend of October every year. The winning regional team will also declare the location for the next year’s tournament. 2014’s tournament winner was Thailer Carlson from Iowa. NLGA also has tournament souvenirs for sale on their website for a limited time, which can be found here: http://nationallaogolf.com/ngla_online_shop.php.

On Faceboook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/laogolfmn/