Golf is in Jan Kleiman’s blood. The women’s golf champion was first introduced to the game by her father around the age of 12. And as they say, she was hooked. She shared an anecdote that summarizes her foray into the sport:
“My older brother and his friends created ‘golf courses’ in the neighborhoods,” she said. “They mowed greens and used tuna cans as cups. I even remember scorecards—which were harder to create back in those pre-computer days! I tagged along whenever they’d let me. “
It wasn’t long before golf became her favorite pastime. Kleiman played on the boys’ team in junior high and high school girls’ golf team at Rushville High School—all before attending Indiana University on a golf scholarship. According to Kleiman, it was the academic support that helped her develop as an athlete. “Even though Rushville only had a small facility, they saw to it that I got out there to play,” she said. “Having a strong support system made a difference, too.”
“Whatever success I’ve had, I attribute to my mom, dad and brother and also to the good fortune to grow up in a community with wonderful schools,” she said. “I think I learned very early from coaches and teachers to be organized and that hard work pays off.”
Hard work does pay off, as evidenced by her most recent win. In July of this year, the 54-yearold won her first Indiana PGA Women’s Open, defeating a field of younger players—primarily high school and college athletes—and a twohole playoff with golf professional Brittany Kelly. While Kleiman was thrilled to take the title, she remains humble.
“I had no expectations coming into this event,” Kleiman said. “I have been playing well lately but I didn’t come into this expecting to win. I loved getting paired with young players … they make me want to continue to play in tournaments and keep me game-sharp.”
Speaking of youth, Kleiman offers a few words of wisdom for young women: “My advice to young women is find your passion and pursue it. Each day is a new opportunity and a fresh start—so do not let setbacks stop you. Pick yourself up and get after it!”