“In Texas, it’s all about people, isn’t it?” Lisa O’Hurley said within the first two minutes of our conversation, explaining that she initially had no intention of playing golf at Baylor University.
Now the former Golf Channel executive can’t imagine what life would have been like without her.
The daughter of a country club manager who worked in Dallas, Houston and various other places, O’Hurley’s first golf lesson came from future PGA Tour player Billy Ray Brown. By the time she was ready to choose a college, her family had moved to Arizona and she was playing for the nationally renowned Xavier College Prep, which also spawned Cheyenne Woods, Grace Park and the current State Coach of the State. Arizona, Missy Farr- Kaye. When a close friend from her high school team said she was going on college tours in Texas, O’Hurley jumped at the chance to join her, knowing how much she had enjoyed her upbringing in the Lone Star State.
But when she was accepted into Baylor, the idea was just to attend, not compete. Everything changed quickly.
“I had no intention of playing golf there until about two weeks into my stay there. Literally they knocked on my dorm door and said we were starting a team of golf and we understand that you play golf and we want you to be part of the team,” she said. “So I said sure, and I played on the Baylor varsity team.
“We were nowhere as good, by comparison, as my high school team. Not even close.
Fast forward more than two decades and O’Hurley has built a successful career around the game, first with more than a decade at the Golf Channel and now through her own rapidly gaining apparel line. As CEO of Lohla Sport, O’Hurley drew on her six years with Golfino, a Germany-based fashion sportswear company, and used a European flair to go with west coast vibes to create a line that quickly resonated with female golfers. .
Former Golf Channel executive Lisa O’Hurley lives in Los Angeles with her husband, John, who has a long string of acting credits, including an iconic role in “Seinfeld.” (photo added)
O’Hurley, who had built a healthy contact list, reached out to 70 potential buyers on her Lohla line, even before she had a product to show. More than 50 people bought it, without seeing it, and O’Hurley knew she was onto something. Still, it took a bit of luck to make it all work as many clothing lines, especially those that sprung up during the pandemic, quickly faded away.
“Golf was the only thing that was marked as safe and so the clubs were always open, the stores were always open, and that was huge. If we were a brand that only exists in department stores, we wouldn’t never would have made it. So, I mean, the fact that the golf community could support itself, so to speak, was great,” she said. “And then with COVID, we were able to pick up a lot of new women who were new to the sport and not used to wearing golf clothes.”
O’Hurley now lives in Los Angeles with her husband John — J. Peterman of “Seinfeld” fame — and she still plays a lot of golf while keeping her dear Baylor roots. In fact, she has become close with the current coach of the Bears women’s golf team and often plays with the team while traveling in Southern California.
“I guess one of my lucky gifts, you know, is maintaining my relationships and still having these wonderful people in my life. And so I’ve remained very good friends with Baylor’s current golf coach, Jay Goble, and he and I have become very close. I’m really still in tune with this team.
Speaking of her husband, he recently made an appearance at a jazz club in the Pearl District of San Antonio. John O’Hurley hosted ‘Family Feud’, appeared on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and hosts an annual charity golf tournament with former Major League Baseball star Josh Beckett (who lives in Boerne).
But while he’s a multi-talented man, he’s currently an underdog when playing two-man with his wife.
“When we met, we were pretty equal,” Lisa O’Hurley said. “I kick him now.”
Golfweek’s 2022 Holiday Gift Guide: Here are the winter golf fashion trends
The story originally appeared on GolfWeek