Lexi Thompson, Maxfli helping women’s golf soar through philanthropy

Lexi Thompson is one of the faces of the LPGA and women’s golf, and for good reason. She is one of the more talented women we have ever seen on tour. Thompson has 15 career professional victories, 11 of which have come on the LPGA Tour, including a major win at the 2014 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

But that is hardly the only reason why she is a key figure helping drive popularity in women’s golf.

Seemingly every time fans watch her on television, she has a smile on her face. That effervescent personality jumps off the screen and into people’s homes.

Well, I can attest to her authenticity and likability, as well as her intentions.

Lexi Thompson, Panther National, Maxfli

Lexi Thompson at Panther National for Maxfli photo shoot

I was recently flown out to Panther National in West Palm Beach, Florida, where Thompson had been named an Ambassador of the Jack Nicklaus and Justin Thomas-designed course.

“I am an Ambassador of Panther National. Once they reached out and JT [Justin Thomas] and Jack [Nicklaus] want me to be a part of it, I’m like ‘yes, sign me up.’”

“It’s a huge honor just to be out here… it’s an amazing layout and practice facility for me,” Thompson said in an exclusive interview with Playing Through.

She was there for a photo shoot with her new golf ball partner, Maxfli.

Thompson is partnering with Maxfli as her exclusive ball provider for the 2024 season and will play the proven Maxfli Tour ball at each event this year.

During my time there, I was able to gain insight into what makes Lexi, well — Lexi. It was both enlightening and encouraging.

Maxfli to help Lexi Thompson take game to new heights

Thompson is looking to take her game to a new level in 2024. When her partnership with Bridgestone lapsed, she was in need of a new ball to play.

Enter Maxfli.

“When they reached out, I instantly started testing golf balls and when I saw the results, it was an easy, no-brainer decision.”

“Spin numbers were better, distance was better and around the greens I gained more feel. So, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from a golf ball,” said Thompson giddily.

Her goals and aspirations also align with Maxfli, which made this a seamless fit.

Lexi Thompson, Panther National, Maxfli

Lexi Thompson at Panther National, Maxfli photo shoot

“Their passion for the game is what I have for it. Their strive to always keep on improving — technology, to improve the game of golf in general, that’s what I want to be a part of and affiliated with.”

From all accounts, this looks to be a long-lasting relationship.

But Thompson’s goals are not solely performance-driven, even though she’s confident her elevated game will help with her other key aspiration; growing the game.

Lexi Thompson helping LPGA, women’s golf grow

Over the last couple of years, the LPGA and women’s golf in general has seen incredible growth.

In 2021, the LPGA Tour doled out just under $70 million in total prize money. This year, that has grown to a record $118 million. That is almost a 70 percent growth in just three years.

Any business making that kind of leap deserves recognition. And the LPGA does it the right way.

Last week, Sports Business Journal named the LPGA one of the top places in all of sports to work. That came to fruition based on its outstanding leadership and high employee satisfaction.

Thompson showed an understanding and appreciation for the recent ascension.

“It’s an inspiration to be a part of the women’s game. It’s moving in such a great direction. On the LPGA Tour, we have gained tournament sponsorships, tv coverage, prize money — Even just the game on the women’s side recreationally has grown so much,” Thompson said.

“It’s great to see kids picking up a club at a younger age. I think that’s a big reason for all of the golf programs… LPGA has golf programs, PGA Junior League, LPGA Girls Golf Program… it’s amazing to see.”

“Being a part of that movement, that’s why I started the game. I loved it at a young age and I want to leave it in a better place as I go through my career.”

Indeed, Thompson was immersed in golf having grown up on a course in Coral Springs, Florida.

She detailed how watching her brothers play instilled a sense of determination and drive to be the best. But it was in that moment that I was witness to how self-aware Thompson is.

“I am thankful and blessed… Any way that I can give back, whether it’s growing the game or to [help] people that aren’t as fortunate, I know that I am very much am, so any way I can give them their opportunity to live their best life, that’s what I want to do.”

Most people are not born living on golf courses. They do not have the same access to clubs, courses, instruction, and so forth.

It was with that understanding that she took it upon herself to do what she believed was right; to give back.

Lexi Thompson — Philanthropic Endeavors

Golf, maybe more than any other sport, does a great job giving back to communities.

Whether that is the Friends of Golf, First Tee, the American Golf Foundation, to name a few, charity has long since been a big part of the game.

That is something that Thompson spoke to at length, detailing how much it means to her.

“Playing at the Shriners, it’s like, ‘I’m going to tee it up but only if the message is about the kids,’” Thompson said.

“It wasn’t about me trying to go out there and kick the guys’ butts… the story was way bigger than that. I didn’t want that to be the main message.”

Shriners Children’s Open - Round Two, Lexi Thompson

Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Last October, Thompson became the seventh woman ever to tee it up in a PGA Tour event. She found herself on the back nine Friday at the Shriners Children’s Open above the cut line. She was a few holes from becoming the first woman to make the weekend in modern golf.

That history-making performance was quite a story. Yet, her focus was on what really mattered.

“Meeting some of the Shriners kids, ambassadors, was probably the highlight [of my week],” Thompson noted after her round.

“Being with them, giving a clinic, giving golf lessons, and hopefully inspiring them to go after what they want. That was probably the most special.”

But that’s far from all she has done to give back.

She recently took part in the ninth edition of Capital One’s The Match. She, Rose Zhang, Rory McIlroy and Max Homa took part in the event where Thompson’s zany eagle putt raised $200,000 for charity.

Thompson has also worked with SEAL Legacy Foundation, supported Women’s Breast Cancer research, Wounded Warriors, among many others.

She even created the Lexi Thompson Foundation, which aims to support children with serious illnesses and encourage junior golf development.

It was made crystal clear to me during our time together how personal and paramount philanthropy is to her.

It is truly heartwarming to encounter a person of privilege with other-worldly talent care so much. In a world divided, with so many issues facing society today, we would all be in a better place with more Lexi Thompson’s roaming the Earth.

Kendall Capps is the Senior Editor of SB Nation’s Playing Through. For more golf coverage, follow us @_PlayingThrough on all major social media platforms.

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