Who: Lisa Krouse
Title: Senior vice
president, FCCI Insurance Group
For years, even decades, Lisa Krouse was an anomaly among most of her fellow insurance industry executives: She never played golf.
But Krouse, a senior vice president of human resources and support service at FCCI Insurance Group, took up the sport last year, at 52 years old. That's when her two children were out of the home, one in college and one a recent graduate. “I could not imagine trying to balance raising a family with several hours on a weekend or during the week to play and/or practice,” Krouse says.
Now Krouse plays golf at least twice a week, sometimes three times. She hits the range whenever she can. “It's an addiction,” she says.
A relentlessly frustrating and humbling addiction, adds Krouse, which echoes the contradictory feelings many others have over golf. “It's one of the greatest things I ever done,” says Krouse, although she grouses that “sometimes I think golf was invented by the devil himself.”
Krouse recently spoke with the Business Review about how golf changed her life, and her career.
Get going: Krouse would see many of her fellow senior executives at FCCI play during charity golf tournaments. “It just struck me,” Krouse says. “I'm sitting here out of the game. I need to be in it.”
Learn a lot: An admitted Type A, Krouse quickly set up an instructional golf league through FCCI to learn with others. The more she played, the more people she met. “I have made great friends through golf,” Krouse says, “and I find that executive women build alliances through the sport.”
Stress relief: Golf is now the activity Krouse uses to think about something other than work. “It's a great stress relief,” she says. “You can focus on your game and the stroke. It's an opportunity to decompress and disengage.
Training regimen: Krouse takes kickboxing and yoga classes at the in-house FCCI gym. She says both sports have helped her form and stamina for golf.
Practice, practice: Krouse signed up for a summer membership at University Park Country Club in Manatee County. That allowed her to use the course and driving range for $500 for the summer, money she says was well spent. Says Krouse: “They got to know me real well.”
Be like Paula: Once Krouse got hooked on the sport, the TV at home shifted from news to the Golf Channel. Now she's a fan of Paula Creamer, the 2010 U.S. Women's Open champion. Creamer has played and trained at the Ritz-Carlton Members Club in east Manatee County and the IMG Academies in Bradenton. “How do you get to be that good?” Krouse wonders.
Fancy feet: The clothes and shoes Krouse says she wears on the course have a big impact on her mental state — a key part of golf. “Being fashionable,” Krouse says, “doesn't end when you put your clubs on a cart.”
Krouse has three pairs of golf shoes she rotates based on factors like the course and the weather. Her shoes include a pair of Footjoy Europa in cognac and white and a pair of Nike Air golf saddle shoes in white leather with brown saddle.
Fashion forward: Shoes are merely a portion of Krouse's golf course fashion ensemble. She also wears a long sleeve polo shirt, usually Lacoste, for sun protection.
Grip it: Krouse uses Big Bertha Ladies Irons with a deep cavity back. She says her irons are “very forgiving of off-center strikes.” The clubs go in Krouse's aqua blue and pearl white Bennington Ladies Couture bag. And her driver and wood are covered with blue, white and gold Big Bertha knit pom-poms. Says Krouse: “The whole package looks really elegant.”
Get tough: Krouse, who is active in state and national human resources organizations, says golf has taught and re-taught her valuable business lessons. “If the ball is in the rough or the mud, get over it,” Krouse says. “You hit it and realize difficult obstacles can be overcome.”