Lizette Salas grew up with siblings that hated golf, but that didn’t stop her from becoming a professional golfer. The Azusa native got into golf because her father worked as a mechanic at the local country club. Lizette first picked up a pair of clubs at age seven and everything changed for her when her father’s friend decided to give her lessons.
“My dad’s good friend was the head pro at the country club,” Salas said in an interview with CBS Local. “He came over and said ‘I would love to give your daughter lessons.’ I found out later that my dad was doing side jobs for him and fixing cars, so that I could get a lesson every Saturday.”
Salas ended up earning a scholarship to USC and became the first person in her family to graduate from college. During her time at USC, Salas became a national champion and the Pac-10 Player Of The Year. The LA campus will always have a special place in her heart.
“Coming from Azusa to a prestigious university like USC was terrifying,” said Salas. “I had moments where I didn’t think I could do it. Being a four-time All-American is up there. It was so cool to walk across campus and have your colleagues know how you did the week before.”
Salas is still close with her college coach Andrea Gaston. Since turning pro, the former Pac-10 Player Of The Year has won one tournament and had her best finish as a pro at the 2018 PGA Championship where she finished tied for 8th. The 29-year old hopes to win a few more tournaments in 2019, but her greatest accomplishments come back home in Azusa.
“It was definitely one of my goals to give back to my community,” said Salas. “I have a junior golf clinic that we run every Tuesday that I’m so passionate about. If it wasn’t for those neighborhood programs, maybe there wouldn’t be the next Lizette Salas.”