Members of the media head out to tee it up for a round of golf at LCC as part of Media Day for the U.S. Women's Open.

USGA trying to bring game closer to its youngest fans

Posted: June 1, 2015 10:04 pm



With the U.S. Women’s Open coming to the Lancaster Country Club in July, area golf fans will be able to get an up close and in-person look at the professional golfers they usually watch on television.

But the best view in the house, at least on the Wednesday before play officially begins, will belong to local juniors.

At media day for the 70th annual national women’s championship, the USGA announced that all children in attendance for the practice round Wednesday will not only get in free when accompanied by a ticketed adult, but will also have access to special on-course seating.

For the first time in tournament history, spectators ages 17 and under can sit in designated areas of the greens, mere feet away from the golfers teeing off. Typical tournament vantage points will be available for adults.

“We’re always looking to be innovative in terms of involving juniors at our championships,” said Championship Director Matt Sawicki. “We’ve got a lot of great programs to help grow the game — we do a lot internally — but outwardly, there’s no better experience than a kid actually coming and attending our championships. To give even greater exposure to be able to bring the kids inside the ropes on Wednesday, I think that’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.”

Details are still being finalized, but organizers have proposed numerous locations throughout the 6,500-yard course, including the back edge of the 17th tee. Positions will differ on each hole and will be constructed and limited to just the practice round due to concerns for crowd safety and impact on play.

“We’ve tried to figure out how do we get kids as close to the action as possible, how do we do something that nobody else does,” said Sawicki. “We figured let’s take our normally roped off areas and let’s go even further inside and on some teeing grounds and around some putting green edges. We want to make this as unique of an experience to championship golf as possible.”

A select group will get even closer access to the golfers.

Members of local LPGA-USGA girls’ golf programs will take the course with the likes of Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressel as the players take their last practice swings. Similar to Military Day festivities, the aspiring female golfers will walk the course and take the hole flags from the caddies.

It’s an experience the USGA hopes will spur the growth of the game and entice some future LPGA members.

“What better inspirational piece can you have than a professional athlete saying hello and allowing you to be right there,” said Sawicki.