The Gift of Forgiveness – A Conversation with LPGA Golf Great, Carol Mann

Carol Mann 3-25-14

“Forgiveness isn’t about losing the memories, but losing what you assign to those memories.” Carol Mann

Carol Mann is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. During her professional career, she won two major championships and 38 LPGA tour events. She is, by any standard, an example of a “rousing success” – a celebrated and revered sports figure. So who would have believed that when Mann was at the pinnacle of her career, she was also at the lowest point in her life?

“I came from a dysfunctional family, as many of us do,” says Mann. “My mother was an addict and a rager. I didn’t have a loving and supportive home. I didn’t learn about life the normal way – through church, school or home, and for many years, those seemingly negative experiences pointed me down my own path of dysfunction. I was marinating in resentment and anger, and I learned how to harbor those feelings without actually dealing with them.”

That was, until Carol started down the path of forgiveness. It was immediately after her mother’s death, at her funeral in fact, that she began to heal. At the suggestion of a funeral home employee, Mann drafted a note to put in her mother’s casket. In that note, she thanked her mother for what she had learned through her experiences and her own healing.

“I told her that she gave me the gift of learning, even though she omitted teaching.”

According to Mann, this ongoing process of forgiveness has allowed her to experience far richer things in life.

“And I haven’t only forgiven others,” said Mann, “I have forgiven myself – for my own guilt, shame and adoption of inappropriate attitudes. Forgiveness of others is really in concert with forgiving yourself.”

Admittedly, the act of forgiveness takes time. Mann describes it as a “re-peeling of layers, like an onion”. It is not something that happens overnight.

“The human condition is to assign blame to others and play the victim,” said Mann. “We have to begin to recognize who we are blaming and why. Before I began practicing forgiveness, my negative feelings were drowning me. Those feelings of unhealthiness spanned decades.”

Eventually, Mann found and began surrounding herself with people and groups who were on a similar path, peeling away their own layers of anger and resentment.

“Together, we worked to get rid of all the negative ‘junk’. My life today is completely different. I am grateful and joyful. As with all of us, life still throws me curve balls, but now I know how to work through those moments with understanding and insight.”

Carol Mann has been involved with The Women’s Home Men’s and Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament for seven years. Her commitment to the tournament and The Women’s Home is greatly appreciated and her extensive knowledge of her chosen sport has helped us build this tournament into the first class event it is today. We certainly consider Carol a tremendous resource and supporter of The Home, but we also consider her a very dear friend.

In our conversation with Carol, we asked her a few questions related to The Women’s Home and her involvement with the golf tournament. This is what she said:

TWH:  What has kept you involved with the tournament all these years?

CM:    When I was initially approached, my participation had more to do with lending my name to the event in hopes it would help the tournament to be a success. I hoped it would help The Home to reach new donors and get more men involved. Golf has a great record for philanthropy. I chose to stay involved because of the quality of people I met – great people with caring hearts. There is a real sense of spirit at The Women’s Home. I also did an inventory of our volunteers and that culture really attracted me. They are loving, generous, committed people.

 

TWH: Why do you feel organizations like The Women’s Home are so important to the community?

CM:    Every community has those in need – circumstances we have messed up. It’s important to have a place where people can rest, heal, have new possibilities. Some of these women have been bound so long. We can help them get back to what I call “neutral” – a place from which they can begin their transformation. We can send them down a “cared for” path…a smooth path where they can find their self-worth and a whole new life.

 

TWH: What would you say to an individual or group who is thinking about getting involved with The Women’s Home golf tournament?

CM:    The tournament is glamorous. It’s where we join together for fun and fellowship. It’s held in early spring. There’s fresh air, sunshine, green grass and terrific folks. I can’t think of a better environment than a golf course to have a pleasant day while giving back to a worthy cause. We should have a good time while doing good!

 

For more information on The Women’s Home Men’s and Women’s Invitational Golf Tournament (held at Champions Golf Club on Monday, April 7, 2014), contact Marcia Tapp at 713-328-1975 or mtapp@thewomenshome.org.