One week after Sergio Garcia won his green jacket last April, Mike Whan, commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), purchased a summer home at Reynolds Lake Oconee. A week-long vacation at Reynolds the previous summer had convinced Whan and his family that the 12,000-acre gated community was the ideal place to call home. “My wife would tell you that the number-one reason we bought the house is because it’s the only place where I actually sleep until the sun comes up,” Whan says. “She knew we had finally found the place where I could relax.”

Now in his ninth year as commissioner, Whan is always traveling—he logs more than 100,000 miles a year and has flown more than one million miles on two different airlines. We sat down with him to talk about traveling, his role as the LPGA’s commissioner, and why he believes Reynolds Lake Oconee is unlike any other place on earth.

What do you love most about living at Reynolds Lake Oconee?

We call Reynolds our escape. It’s a place where we escape the non-stop activity of our current life and everything slows down a notch. I spend most of my life at great golf resorts and occasionally my family vacations to great lakes. Reynolds is the only destination I’ve found that offers both.

What conveniences does Reynolds Lake Oconee offer a resident who travels as much as you do?

One of the reasons we chose Reynolds is its location to Atlanta. From March 1st to September 15th, I’m typically on the road Tuesday to Thursday. Now, with our house at Reynolds, during the summer I can fly into Atlanta, which is so easy, and spend Friday through Monday with my wife and kids.

Can you offer our readers any travel tips?

Because I have back problems, I never travel without my own padding. I have a six-foot-long, one-foot-wide piece of memory foam that I roll up and carry with me. It looks like a yoga mat. I started taking memory foam to Asia because the beds there are so hard. Today, even if I’m only flying to Ft. Lauderdale from Orlando, I take that memory foam with me.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your role as commissioner of the LPGA?

I have to take time to communicate with all of my constituents before making decisions about how the tour operates. I need to go slower to move faster. I have to listen first and then move forward. I can still move pretty fast and make quick decisions, but unlike my years as a CEO, being the commissioner requires more up-front thinking and communication.

Has being the commissioner of a women’s professional golf tour changed you at all?

I live the life of the players and I definitely have some unique tendencies with being surrounded by thousands of female athletes all the time. They know I’m there doing and experiencing the same things that they are. My wife will catch me listening to Taylor Swift, and I came home recently with a bag full of Lululemon clothes. She teased me saying that she knew me when I used to be a man.

You travel the world for golf, visiting countries where the game has deep roots and others where it is young and still growing. In which countries is golf growing the fastest?

Once golf became an Olympic sport, it changed the way a lot of countries saw the game. They once viewed it as a rich man’s sport, but now they see it as a podium sport. Golf in China has grown much more popular in the last few years. The number one player on our tour right now is Chinese. But Thailand is probably the most impressive. Eight years ago, you didn’t see women playing golf in Thailand, but now there are multiple Thai women on the tour playing at the highest level.

Do you have a favorite vacation destination?

We honeymooned in Bora Bora and Tahiti 25 years ago and it’s still the best vacation memory of my life. We stayed in one of those bungalows over the water, and we had a room with its own dock and motorized catamaran. The bungalows didn’t have a TV, newspapers, or a phone. There were zero distractions and it forced us to vacation. It was really unbelievable.

What international course has impressed you the most?

When golfers go to Scotland, they always want to play the big-name courses, but if you go and you don’t play Kingsbarns, you’ve made a mistake. It has that typical Scottish look, but on virtually every hole and with every shot you’re overlooking the water. It’s also a big course with wide fairways, so you can take out your driver with confidence and play it like an American course.

Do you have a favorite course at Reynolds Lake Oconee?

If I had to play the same course 10 days in a row, it might be Great Waters. I love the course’s finishing holes and its connection to the lake. But for me, my favorite course is The Oconee. We live just off the 7th fairway, and the clubhouse is probably less than a mile from my house. It just feels like my home course.

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