June 27, 2008–Could it get much better than this: winning a workout session, 9 holes of golf, and dinner with LPGA Tour superstar Natalie Gulbis? Now you have your chance with an essay contest recently launched by one of Gulbis' sponsors, RSM McGladrey. Gulbis lives on the fairways of Jack Nicklaus' Reflection Bay Golf Club, one of three Las Vegas golf courses located at the prestigious Lake Las Vegas Resort. The "Who's Behind Your Success?" contest, which is open to anyone over age 18, invites participants to submit essays of 200 words or less, highlighting the most influential and/or inspirational individual behind the success in their life. The contest is based on Gulbis' own essay about her father, John, who inspired her to greatness. Gulbis unfortunately missed the cut at the U.S. Women's Open at Interlachen Country Club in Minnesota, even though she said before the tournament that the course setup was very fair. "Interlachen is very fair and very challenging … if you control your approach shots and stay below the hole you can score," Gulbis wrote in an email before teeing off. "If you do not drive the ball in the fairway and stay below the hole, making par is difficult."
Gulbis also wrote that the major story, in her opinion, is that this could be Annika Sorenstam's final U.S. Women's Open. Gulbis and Sorenstam are very good friends. Gulbis also wrote that she was ready for the intense pressure and challenge that the event will bring.
"The mind set I need is patience and focus," wrote Gulbis. "It's a very tough week and par is always a great score."
Gulbis has lived in the Las Vegas area for several years and has become ingrained in the Las Vegas community. She works with legendary pro Butch Harmon at his golf school located at Rio Secco Golf Club, and she recently filmed a press release in Las Vegas for the Boys and Girls Clubs. And she was spotted on the red carpet for the opening of the annual Cinevegas, an international film festival that attracts the Hollywood crowd. She won the Evian Masters last year, the first LPGA Tour win of her career. Reflection Bay Golf Club, where Gulbis lives, is a resort course that is open to all.
One of the qualities I have always admired about my father is his dedication to my dreams. He retired from law enforcement when I was 12-years-old and used his retirement income to pay for my travel, entry fees and equipment. We traveled to tournaments by car and train; we camped instead of staying in hotels. I spent many hours reading and studying while we drove and was fortunate to see much of the U.S. We never lost sight of my goals, and achieving those goals has always been much more fulfilling because of what we sacrificed to reach them.
The contest will have one grand prize winner who will be announced Oct. 21 during the National Championship rounds of The PGA McGladrey Team Championship, the first nationwide grassroots best-ball amateur championship managed by The PGA of America. Five finalists will receive the following: TaylorMade Driver, adidas golf shoes, a Canon Six PowerShot and a SkyCaddie SG-5.
"I am very proud to work with McGladrey on the 'Who's Behind Your Success?' contest," Gulbis said. "I think it's a great idea for a contest and I hope everyone will participate," Gulbis said. "I submitted my own essay about my dad, who sacrificed a lot to help me keep my dreams alive, and I hope it encourages people across the country to participate. I'm glad to be a part of the selection process, and I'll be eager to meet the grand prize winner in person!"