nFocus Nashville: Reaching New Heights welcomes golfer Laura Baugh
Anyone who was not familiar with Laura Baugh will certainly never forget her after Reaching New Heights. The engaging professional golfer and author of Out of the Rough: An Intimate Portrait of Laura Baugh and Her Sobering Journey shared her courageous story of recovery to a packed room at the annual luncheon, which benefits the Women’s Program at Cumberland Heights.
Co-chairs Monica McDougall and Sally Nesbitt welcomed a crowd of familiar faces to Hillwood Country Club before the presentation of the Sheila Keeble Award. “I love getting to brag on my friend!” proclaimed Louise Mandrell as she handed the award to Janice Lovvorn, who has been involved with the organization for 22 years.
Opening with “I’m Laura, and I’m definitely an alcoholic,” the guest speaker had the audience immersed in her tale that was honest, grim and, at times, amusing. Always a golfer, Laura was three years old when she won the first of five national pee-wee championships. She burst onto the national scene when she won the U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion at 16 in 1971 and was named LPGA Rookie of the Year in 1973. At age 24, she had her first drink, and then “for years, I was always pregnant or drinking,” said the mother of seven children. It wasn’t until she nearly died from internal bleeding caused by heavy drinking that Laura was determined to quit. Now celebrating 22 years of sobriety, she zealously embraces her life, family and health.
Since becoming sober, Laura has developed into a new kind of champion. She supports programs for abused women and for women in recovery. Her love of golf remains steadfast, and she helped establish the U.S. Senior Women’s Open with the inaugural championship to be played this July. After delivering such inspiring words at Reaching New Heights, Laura has a contingent of Nashville fans rooting for her in more ways than one.