LPGA Girls’ Golf Clinics
Over the past two days, the Greater Vancouver area has seen an influx of Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association (LPGA) Touring Professionals enter its borders, including 48 of the top 50 players in the world for the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open.
In an effort to promote the sport of golf with a younger, female demographic, the LPGA and British Columbia Golf teamed up to administer a series of first-of-its-kind international Girls’ Golf Clinics.
Created in 1989 by the LPGA and USGA, the LPGA Girls’ Golf Clinics seek to teach girls 7-17 golf skills as well as life lessons that will help them in their future. The Clinics focus on what they refer to as the ‘Five E’s
- We Empower our girls to feel they can accomplish their goals
- We Enrich their lives by teaching them a game they can play and enjoy with friends for a lifetime
- We Engage the girls to become involved and make a difference in their communities
- We Exercise their minds & bodies and help them realize their potential
- We Energize them with our vitality and enthusiasm by sharing our love for the game
Starting on Monday, August 20th, Director of School Golf with British Columbia Golf and LPGA Class A Teaching Professional Kathy Gook took to the grounds of the South Central Youth Centre in Burnaby to teach roughly twenty (20) 7-12 year old girls the basics of golf using adapted golfing equipment.
Bader, hailing from the United States of America, is an eleven year veteran on the LPGA Tour and an individual who credits her parents with introducing her to the game at age 12. She has gone on to earn over $1 million as a Professional and was very happy with the clinic as it unfolded.
Sharp, a home country favourite from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is a seven year LPGA Tour veteran who started the game at age 10 and similar to Bader, credits her parents with introducing her to the game she has turned into her profession.
“Some of [these girls] had never played golf before so to have the opportunity to learn about golf and just have a fun day together as a group was pretty neat. I think it’s a great idea and it makes golf fun.”
On Tuesday, August 21st, two more clinics took place in Vancouver. Getting things rolling again was Kathy Gook, this time paired with a former LPGA Touring Professional and Lower Mainland familiar in Jennifer Wyatt.
Wyatt, a former B.C. Women’s Amateur Champion (1986 & 1987), assisted Gook in instructing roughly 15 girls at Hillcrest Community Centre using the same adapted equipment that is used in British Columbia Golf’s Playground to Fairway (P2F) School Golf Program.
While assisting with getting the girls’ active in the game, Jennifer told a special story about the impact of teaching youth, specifically girls, the game of golf in a setting like the LPGA Girls’ Golf Clinics. As it goes, Wyatt was playing in a tournament many years ago where she was spoke to a young girl who decided on the spot that she wanted to be an LPGA Professional. As it turns out, that girl, Diana D’Alessio is now playing in the CN Canadian Women’s Open as an LPGA Tour Professional and has Wyatt on her bag as her caddy.
Rounding out the first LPGA Girls’ Golf Clinics to be held outside of the United States was todays afternoon session held at Dunbar Community Centre in Vancouver. This session was instructed by LPGA Teaching Professional Toni Taylor.
Roughly 15 young girls attended this session, as did a special group of volunteers. The 2012 B.C. Junior Girls’ Champion Anica Yoo devoted her time to give back to her golfing community and influence youth in getting involved with the game. Helping her out were UBC Thunderbird teammates Stephanie Wong and Valentina Trillo. Trillo, an incoming freshman at UBC has been on a number of British Columbia Golf teams including the 2012 North Pacific Junior Girls’ Team who captured this years competition against the United States. Wong, an incoming sophomore at UBC, has played in many provincial and national championships over here amateur career and has been an influential role model for juniors coming up the ranks behind her. She also assisted with the session held the day before with Sharp and Bader.
In all, 50 girls aged 7-12 were impacted by the LPGA Girls Golf Clinics, a number that may not have ever been introduced to the game if it were not for the dedication of the LPGA and its members as well as volunteers giving up their time to help grow the game.
A special thanks goes out to the First Tee of Greater Vancouver YMCA, the City of Vancouver Parks and Recreation, CN Future Links Program and the City of Burnaby South Central Youth Central. Without your assistance, funding and support, this program would not have been able to take place with such great success.