Athena, goddess of war, is goddess of golf
SILVERTHORNE – Athena Chakeres isn’t your usual golf pro. Named after the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, Chakeres took to the links at The Raven Golf Club Wednesday morning wearing pink socks, pink checkered pants, a pink shirt, a pink bow in her hair and donning pink fingernails.
Chakeres expresses her femininity through her philosophy on the game. She sees no need to be macho and, when being frank, makes fun of the pros on the LPGA tour.
“You look at the WNBA and after the game, they go to the locker room, and they come out dressed in beautiful clothes. They look like females,” Chakeres said. “I have never seen them do that on the LPGA. They come out looking like golfers.”
But don’t let her philosophy fool you. Chakeres, standing on No. 9, ripped a 270 yard drive that left the men behind her whispering. On a crowded Saturday morning, Chakeres watched the foursome behind her blame her for the slow play.
Little did they know she was the pro.
“I ballroom dance,” she said. “It’s great for your game. Timing and balance are everything. If every guy I taught would go to the dance lessons, they’d take four lessons off the program.”
The program is the Kent Chase Golf Academy based out of Phoenix, where Chakeres grew up. The 32-year-old is fourth representative from the academy at The Raven and charges $150 for a one-hour private lesson. Her coach, Joel Van Der Sloot, is also an instructor in the academy.
And, her credentials are as numerous as her closets full of clothes. She founded the U.S. Challenge Golf Tour, the ladies’ equivalent of the Buy.com Tour. But, after three years of frustration, injury and $150,000 of her own money, she left. Now, the Futures Tour, which she toured with from 1997-1999, is the only Ladies minor-league tour left.
“You should have heard all the complaining from the players,” she said. “This and that. We had a solid organization and I made sure they were getting paid. Most of the time, it came out of my pocket.”
While growing up in a golf-oriented family (her grandmother turned the family farm in Ohio into a driving range), it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Two car accidents in her life have forced her to relearn her swing, overcome surgeries and refocus her attention on her love and passion, golf. But, she has other passions, as well.
In Arizona, Chakeres guest-hosts three radio shows and does commentary on Monday Night Football games. She does course reviews, golf tips and wants to help the general public play golf. Her aunt, who passed away three years ago, was a PGA teaching pro. Chakeres knows she’s fortunate and wants to give back.
“I don’t set my prices,” she said. “I want to help everyone.”
The average golfer shoots a 98 on a round. Only three percent of all golfers are professionals, and only three percent of those professionals actually tour. So, she said, people need help.
Take one of her students, a member at The Raven. Frank Costintini likes having a female pro, especially one in pink with 16 pairs of matching golf shoes.
“You can leave the macho stuff behind you when you’re with her,” Costintini said, moments before going to the driving range to practice. “It’s more about golf things. The feminine perspective helps.”
And, that’s just what she wants to hear. As a part of the Academy, if you’re not satisfied, you are entitled to a full refund or attend the session again for free.
The academy at The Raven is having a special running through Sept. 15. A round of golf, followed by a lesson, costs $160.
For more information or to request a lesson from Athena, call (970) 262-3636. Also, you can contact Athena with golf questions at email@example.com.
Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext .257, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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