Posted: July 8, 2015 6:32 pm
Normally, the idea of kids walking on the fairways and standing on the greens at a golf tournament would be frowned upon.
However, on Wednesday at Lancaster Country Club, it was a common sight.
Junior Day was taking place on the final day of practice for the U.S. Women’s Open. It meant kids from as far as Washington, D.C., were out walking the links with some of their favorite players. The idea to bring this concept to a large-scale tournament like the Open was crafted by Beth Major, who is the Director of Public Services for the United States Golf Association.
“Back in March, the LPGA has the Founder’s Cup in Phoenix, and I saw kids working inside the ropes and on the greens,” Major said.
Major thought this would be a great opportunity to create a unique interaction between young kids who love golf, and the players they idolize.
“I saw the excitement in those kid’s eyes and the connection they made. I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could do that at the Women’s Open,” Major said.
Major explained the idea to the USGA and they agreed to it. As a result, kids were out in abundance and all over the course Wednesday.
Some kids were watching practice from inside the ropes. They could sit on the fairway and watch as the players walked right by them.
Other kids were the ambassadors from the USGA-LPGA Girls Golf program. It’s a program that aspires to help young girls dream big and empower them through golf.
Those girls got to sit right around the greens, pull the flagstick for the players and receive autographs once the players walked off the green.
“We’ve had at least 350 kids come through so far. Most of them are from local Girls Golf chapters but some come from as far as Baltimore and Washington, D.C.,” said Kiernan Schindler, who is the Director of the LPGA Foundation, a national partner of Girls Golf.
With a free picnic lunch included, most of the kids were enjoying the experience.
When asked about her favorite part of the experience, Kyran Crosley, an 8-year-old whose favorite player is Michelle Wie, enthusiastically said, “All of it.”
Not only have the kids loved it, but the players have as well. Karrie Webb gave several girls golf balls with kangaroos on them when she walked off the 10th green.
“Many of the players were not junior golfers all that long ago and I think they understand how much it means to these girls,” Major said.
With all the success this year, the USGA hopes to parlay this into an annual event.
“It has been everything we hoped and it would be fantastic if we could do this again and again,” Major said.