BELMONT — A yardage book is one of the most essential things a professional golfer takes on the course with them, as critical as their caddy or even their golf bag.
On the inside, it contains every speck of information about any given hole, how the green rolls, where to hit a shot to set up the best approach. Truly anything a golfer needs to know is held within those pages. So while what’s in between the cover of the book is paramount to success, for Mel Reid what’s on the exterior is even more important.
Scrolled across the top of her book are the words “Be Proud. Be You,” with the colors of the Pride flag subtly embedded in the white cover of the book. Reid, who came out as gay publicly in 2018, and several other LPGA and PGA pros used a less subtle cover with the brightly colored Pride flag emblazoned on it during Pride month in 2021. Last year’s edition was designed by Grant Thorton, one of Reid’s sponsors.
For 2022, the company approached the Englishwoman to help design the cover.
“They asked me if I wanted to design it and I thought was a really cool opportunity and it’s just awesome to be part of something like that,” Reid said. “I think it’s extremely important.”
During the design process, she knew she didn’t want it to be as loud as last year’s full rainbow look. She also thought about how powerful words can be. So she decided to add those four simple ones to the top of the book.
The brief phrase can have a different meaning to anybody who sees it sticking out of Reid’s back pocket on the course. She didn’t intend them explicitly to be directed at the members of the LGBTQ+ community. The words just mean that no matter who you are, to be true to yourself regardless of how others are trying to treat you.
“[The inspiration came from] if everyone was just a little bit more comfortable in their own skin because people are very quick to judge, especially in golf,” Reid said. “Whether it be your sexuality, your gender, your race, your religion, I just feel like golf can be a little bit more inclusive.”
The book is being used by several ambassadors of Grant Thorton, an accounting firm, at the Meijer LPGA Classic this weekend. Reigning tournament champion and Olympic gold medalist Nelly Korda is using the cover, as is her sister Jessica.
Jessica Korda, who currently sits at 8-under par in a tie for ninth at the West Michigan-based tournament, didn’t have to think twice about switching over her yardage book when approached about it. Not only is she also an ambassador for Grant Thorton, but Reid is a good friend of hers.
No matter who somebody is, where they’re from or who they love, Jessica Korda knows that a person is a person and nobody should be looked down upon for who they are. She’s found that sentiment to hold true in the community on the LPGA Tour, but is hoping this yardage book cover helps it spread to the wider world.
“I mean, at the end of the day we’re all just trying to be ourselves, be accepted,” Jessica Korda said. “I’ve never looked at anyone any different than just for who they are, and that’s kind of one of the cool things about being out here [on tour]. There are so many different personalities you meet, different communities represented. That’s kind of how it should be. A human is a human.”
Reid, a four-time Solheim Cup team member, unapologetically loves who she is. Her hope is that every person that’s struggling to live their truth will feel a little bit more at home as themselves when they see her whip out her yardage book to get the distance to the pin.
For those who look down on others for who they are, Reid hopes getting a glimpse of the book and the powerful women who carry it will convince them to educate themselves. She’s hoping it will help them realize the fundamental truth that Jessica Korda said on Thursday afternoon— that a human is a human.
“People are scared about certain things because they’re not educated on it, so I’m just trying to bring a little more awareness, just trying to be a little more inclusive,” Reid said. “There’s so much judgment in this world and if you’re going to judge me based on who I love, then we have some serious issues, I think that more people need to love who they love and get on with it, no drama. ”