Former Epson Tour player Allie White, now a golf pro at Lancaster Golf Club (not that Lancaster), set to make KPMG Women’s PGA debut

Allie White wears a name tag that simply says – Golf Pro. Technically, she’s the director of golf at Lancaster (Ohio) Golf Club, but that title feels a bit too much for the self-deprecating White, whose first job in the game was at the snack bar, that is until someone realized she was the one burning the hot dogs. That’s when she joined the grounds crew.

“I was totally that person who took a nip out of the fringe,” she confessed.

White’s longest job in the game, however, was that of touring pro, and most of her time was time was spent grinding on the Epson Tour, the developmental circuit of the LPGA. A veteran of more than 200 pro golf events, White quit playing the tour full-time after the 2022 season, yet now finds herself teeing in it up June 19-23 in her first KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in in Sammamish, Washington.

White, 34, won the 2023 LPGA Professionals National Championship in a playoff on the River Course at Kingsmill Resort to earn her spot in the LPGA’s second-longest running tournament. Of the 156 players at Sahalee, there will be eight PGA/LPGA professionals that make up the Corebridge Financial PGA Team. White, a veteran of two U.S. Women’s Opens, is the only one in the group making her KPMG Women’s PGA debut.

“This is the golf tournament that celebrates people who have worked in the golf industry,” said White. “I have mostly dabbled, but it’s been a lot of dabbling.”

Former Epson Tour pro Allie White poses at the pro shop counter at Lancaster Golf Club, where she’s now director of golf. (courtesy photo)

Other members of the team include Wendy Ward, a four-time winner on the LPGA competing in her 19th career KPMG Women’s PGA and first since 2013. Ward, 51, now works as a golf instructor at Manito Golf & Country Club in Spokane, Washington.

She’s joined by Kim Paez of Peoria, Arizona; Samantha Morrell of Naples, Florida; Allie Knight of Knoxville, Tennessee; Stephanie Connelly-Eiswerth of Fleming Island, Florida; Sandra Changkija of Kissimmee, Florida; and Jennifer Borocz, also of Kissimmee, Florida.

The tournament has changed dramatically since Ward last played. It’s now been 10 years since KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA came together to recreate what was formerly known as the LPGA Championship, an event first won by Beverly Hanson, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier this week.

Hanson won the inaugural LPGA Championship in 1955 at Orchard Ridge Country Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana, defeating Louise Suggs, 4 and 3, in the championship match.

More: As we hit 10 years of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, here’s a look back at the first 9 winners

The greatest champions in the women’s game have hoisted the KPMG Women’s PGA trophy, including Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster, Laura Davies and Annika Sörenstam.

Three-time winner Inbee Park qualified for the LPGA Hall of Fame the last time the KPMG was held at Sahalee in 2016, when a then 18-year-old Brooke Henderson defeated 19-year-old Lydia Ko in a playoff.

Since 2015, the KPMG Women’s PGA has been a driving force for all LPGA majors as it raised the bar with iconic venues and massive purse increases.

“They want to just make it the best event we have,” said KPMG ambassador Stacy Lewis a decade ago.

That commitment never wavered, and White will get a chance to see it firsthand when she arrives in Washington. Actually, White finds that she views tournaments from a completely different lens these days now that she’s wearing a “Golf Pro” tag.

“I’m sure I’ll get to Sahalee,” she said, “and be like ‘Wow, these golf carts are unbelievable. Whoever power washes these things really does a great job.’ ”

White, one of the game’s great characters, played collegiate golf at the University of North Carolina and later served as a graduate assistant women’s coach at Ohio University while pursuing a Master’s degree in journalism.

Growing up, White played a lot of solo golf as a kid. The golf course is less peaceful these days as she manages a crew of employees, charity outings and member leagues.

“Usually if I’m going to sneak in nine holes, it’s kind of at the end of the day and the sun is going down,” she said. “I know the cart kids are cleaning and it’s just you and the course and the serenity of the game.”

Tim White caddies for his daughter, Allie White, at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Those who have followed White’s career know of her ubiquitous Ohio Farmer trucker hat, which she’ll most certainly don at the KPMG. The Ohio Farmer is actually a former magazine, “Farm Progress’s Ohio Farmer Magazine,” now website, that her father served as editor over for 30 years.

She’ll also be wearing the Lancaster logo, which will no doubt be confused with Lancaster Country Club in Pennsylvania, site of the recent U.S. Women’s Open won by Yuka Saso.

White’s Lancaster, a Donald Ross redesign that opened its first nine holes in 1909, was once a struggling private course that’s now open to the public.

The members and staff at Lancaster are pumped about White’s KPMG debut. Her two goals for the week are to “stay really patient and try to breathe a lot.”

Allie White and her dog, Finley, at her family farm in Ohio. (Allie White)

White said she ultimately stopped playing professionally full-time because she was emotionally worn down from the travel and wasn’t as energetic and flexible as she’d been in her 20s.

“I still feel like I can go play great golf,” she said, “but can I do it five weeks in a row in someone else’s bed?”

White’s jobs in the industry have ranged from driving the beverage cart, to waitressing at Chapel Hill Country Club to taking personalized golf ball orders in a call center cubicle.

This latest job in her hometown of Lancaster, 15 minutes from the family farm, created a path that led to a start in a major championship with an eight-figure purse.

The Golf Pro has come a long way since burning the hot dogs.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek