Jeehae Lee: Pro golf to Topgolf to tech wizard
Sportsbox.ai CEO and co-founder Jeehae Lee has been blazing trails for a while now having started out much like anyone else – trying to hit a ball as far as possible.
Before she’d even discovered golf – which she played professionally from 2007-2011 on the Futures (now Symetra), LET and LPGA Tours – she was swinging a plastic tee-ball bat and hitting it a mile.
A career in golf followed, bringing with it a heartwarming moment with her Dad in an unusually inclement Florida as she landed her LPGA Tour card at qualifying in 2008.
“It was the one week there, in Daytona Beach, where it was 40 degrees and stormy. It was unbearable weather,” she told Colin Weston on the ModGolf Podcast.
“But I made it through the five days, and on my last hole I hit a 7 iron and hit the flagstick to leave a tap in. My caddie said to me ‘Welcome to the LPGA Tour.’
“My Dad is super stoic, doesn’t express his feeling very often and he literally had tears in his eyes. He’d been there every step of the way and only packed a tiny wind breaker jacket because he’d expected Florida weather.”
For someone who described her own game as “mediocre”, Lee was anything but in nearly six years as a professional who then paved her own way in sports business.
She managed great friend Michelle Wie before heading to IMG then Topgolf and Toptracer, but she always had the itch to go alone.
So she founded Sportsbox.ai with Sam Menaker and Stephanie Wei to revolutionise golf coaching – giving golfers of all levels the option between a human coach or an AI instructor to help them improve.
“The question that I keep answering – and I’m going to keep answering this as I go on – is how does this actually help a golfer get better? How does this help somebody become a better athlete?
“We’ve decided to explore our second idea first: giving teachers a tool to teach better, whether in person or remotely. I think that’s going to have a huge impact on our promise.”
Lee is almost ideally placed to survive or reinvent herself in such a fast-paced world – she’s spoken of the ups and downs of professional sport as a career and has unwavering self-belief.
“I trust myself enough to dive in and if it works then great and if it doesn’t then it will still be a great experience.”
Listen to the ModGolf podcast, featuring Jeehae Lee: https://modgolf.fireside.fm/115-jeehae-lee