Indiana Women’s PGA Player of the Year nears return to Carmel club after ovarian cancer fight

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — Brittany Kelly is walking down the fairway at Ironwood Golf Club, just a 3 wood away from her parents’ backyard, with a completely new perspective on life.

“I want to make sure I’m here for a reason, to help as many people as I can through this journey that I have had to go through,” Kelly said. 

Kelly, a former prep golf standout at Hamilton Southeastern High School and collegiate star at Ball State University, is a gift to golf and to aspiring young girls everywhere.

Kelly is the PGA assistant golf professional at Woodland Country Club in Carmel, Ind. — coming off an incredible run of golf herself in 2019.

Quickly, let me rattle off what Kelly just pulled off:

  • Indiana Women’s Open Champion.
  • Indiana Women’s Player of the Year.
  • Key member of the United State’s inaugural PGA Cup Championship team.
  • Qualified for LPGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Those were just the major achievements. 

Behind the scenes during the PGA Cup event this past fall, however, another battle was brewing. Kelly was dealing with a pain that wouldn’t go away and after undergoing surgery during the winter to remove a mass half the size of a football, her worst fear was confirmed: cancer.

“It was Stage 1, Grade 3, clear-cell ovarian cancer,” Kelly said. “They decided to start my first treatment at the end of February, six-cycles (in total).” 

Kelly quickly shared her story and the fight ahead. A battle cry of “BK Strong” spread across the central Indiana golf community via social media. 

These days, she can get a few swings in ahead of the home stretch at the hospital. Her final treatment is right around the corner later this June.

“Oh, my gosh, she has been through a ton and she has handled it so well,” said Brittany’s mother, Joni Kelly. “Much better than I could have ever handled it.”

Brittany’s father, Ken Kelly, said, “Brittany, all of her life, has been a competitor and a fighter.”

A few weeks after her final treatment, Kelly hopes to return to her home away from home, Woodland Country Club. July 1 is her target date to get back to helping members improve their games and to start tinkering again with her own swing. 

During our visit recent visit together, Kelly’s boss at Woodland, Patrick White, put together a pump-up video for her treatment. It is clear, those closest to Brittany Kelly can’t wait to hear her yell out a simple phrase — “I’m back.”

“That is what I’ve been waiting for,” Kelly said. “I want to get back. I want to see them (Woodland members). I want to be back to normal.“

“They’re awesome people and Woodland is a special club. I have a great staff, my boss is absolutely amazing.”

There is a leaderboard out there of folks who show us how to live. And Brittany Kelly — is right near the top.