The LPGA Launches “Changing the Face of the Game” Campaign

PHOENIX, March 15, 2017 – As girls’ golf continues to ride a remarkably strong surge of growth in  the United States, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) will today launch a “Changing the Face of the Game” campaign ahead of this week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Girls under the age of 18 represent the fastest growing sector in the U.S. golf population since 2010 and more than 60,000 girls were engaged last year by the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf initiative, a staggering increase of 1,000 percent since the Founders Cup was launched in 2011.

The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, which began in Phoenix in 1989, specializes in providing a “girl-friendly” environment for juniors to learn and play the game of golf and the program has expanded to nearly 400 sites across the United States, with close to 40 being added just this year.

To mark the campaign’s launch, Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan and LPGA Foundation President Nancy Henderson will hold a press conference at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, along with Kyla Wilde, a product of LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Phoenix.

“We learned early on with Girls Golf that if you let young women come together in an all-girls environment, they begin to really enjoy the game and the retention rate is unbelievable,” said LPGA Commissioner Whan. “We introduced the Founders Cup, back in 2011, when we all decided to play for no purse and just pass it all forward to support Girls Golf — acting with a Founder mentality. When I talk to an LPGA Founder today, she is proud of what has happened to television and excited about our growth in purses, but what she really likes is what we are doing in terms of leaving the game better for the next generation of young women, and building a pipeline that can truly change the ‘face’ of golf longer-term.”

The Girls Golf campaign includes a new PSA (public service announcement), available below, which will be first aired on Golf Channel during television coverage of the 2017 Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

More than 40 members of the LPGA and Symetra Tours kickstarted their golf careers at a Girls Golf program, including Cheyenne Woods, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel, Mariah Stackhouse, Vicky Hurst and Kathleen Ekey.

“When I became President of the LPGA Foundation, it didn’t take long for me to realize how important LPGA-USGA Girls Golf is to the LPGA and to the future of the game of golf,” said LPGA Foundation President Henderson. ” What our LPGA players and teachers are doing in inspiring young girls is a testament to their dedication and passion for the game of golf. Together, we are truly making a difference in the lives of girls and helping to change the face of golf.”

Girls are getting, and accepting, the message that golf can be both welcoming and fun. Over the last 20 years, the growth of girls’ golf in the U.S. has far outpaced that of the boys. In 1995, girls made up only 17% of all junior golfers — today they total one third, according to the National Golf Foundation.

There has been similar growth in the numbers of non-white junior golfers in the U.S. during that time. Twenty years ago, only 1 out of 17 junior players was non-Caucasian, according to the NGF. Today, that number is nearly 1 out of 3.

Today’s emerging golfers are coming to the game at a much younger age in the U.S. where there are 50% more junior players under 12 than there were in 1995. The NGF’s research also found that Millennials who started playing before the age of 14 are nearly twice as likely to become regular golfers than players who picked up the game at a later stage.

Junior golf has increased in participation by 600,000 from 2011 to 2015, according to a study by the Sports Industry Association. This is the largest jump in total volume compared to other youth sports such as soccer, basketball, football and baseball.

How Girls Golfers Used the Olympics to Learn Golf’s Most Common Formats

by Jane Huling
Site Director, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Naples, FL

Scramble vs. Best Ball vs. Stableford

We hosted three separate events using the Olympic theme to get our girls excited about the 2016 games and to help teach them about golf’s different team formats. The girls chose the countries they wanted to represent and got dressed up in their favorite country’s colors.

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September eLeader of the Month: Marin Pena – Champion of Girls Golf

Marin has been a member of the Girls Golf of Greater Washington D.C. since its foundation in 2013. As an eLeader, she has served as an Assistant Coach, where she likes being a role model to for the younger girls and helping them learn about golf. One of her favorite games she likes to play with the girls is “What’s in the Bag” that helps them learn about what they should carry in their golf bags.

Katie Blodgett, Site Director of LPGA-USGA Girls Golf of Greater Washington DC, said, “Marin has been a great role model for the younger girls in the program. They all look up to up to her and love having her lead activities. I have enjoyed watching her grow into a great leader for our programs.”

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The LPGA Foundation Announces 2016 Marilynn Smith Scholarship Recipients

The LPGA Foundation announced today the 30 high-school graduates selected to receive this year’s Marilynn Smith Scholarship. Each candidate has demonstrated outstanding academic excellence, leadership skills and active involvement and service to her community while also fulfilling specific requirements for each scholarship award.

The Marilynn Smith Scholarship, named in honor of one of the LPGA’s 13 founding members, is awarded to 30 high school seniors who plan to play collegiate golf while pursuing college degrees. Each of the 2016 recipients received $5,000 scholarships

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The LPGA Foundation Announces 2016 Dinah Shore and Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship Recipients

The LPGA Foundation announced today the two high school graduates selected to receive this year’s Dinah Shore and Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarships. Each candidate has demonstrated outstanding academic excellence, leadership skills and active involvement and service to her community while also fulfilling specific requirements for each scholarship award.

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Girls Golf eLeader Reflection on the Girls Golf Academy

by Dani Swaggerty

My experience at the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Academy was definitely a great one.  Even before the actual academy started, I was welcomed with open arms by all the LPGA staff. The first day was a big day for me, since this was my first trip by myself. The whole LPGA staff made it very easy for me to adjust to the unfamiliar.  As an eLeader, I enjoyed watching all the girls grow over the course of two days, and I loved being exposed to the true power of the game of golf.  The top three things that I took away from this experience were: building new and existing relationships, meeting the next generation of girls in golf, and learning more about myself.

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Girls Golf at the Maid Marian Cup in Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest is over 100 years old and a thriving and very active golf community. For well over 30 years, They have hosted their own adult /pro tournament and golf pros from all over the greater Washington, Baltimore, and Eastern shore are active participants and their younger girls and boys provide lots of volunteer time as caddies and event guides.

The inaugural Maid Marian event on June 30th focused on their young girl players, and it was a huge benefit to  building their interest and appreciation for all the life lessons golf offers young women.

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Girls Golf Event Ideas for a Rainy Day

by Lynette Robbins,
Co-Site Director of Girls Golf at Hickory Swing Course in Great Falls, MT

Hickory Swing Girls Golf in Great Falls got off to a rainy day start today, but that did not stop the girls from a fun day doing activities inside! Girls broke up into small groups and rotated around each station working on various activities. At the end of the program everyone went outside for a quick photo to show off their new golf shirts, visors they decorated and the name tags they made today!

Here is a list of our rainy day activities:

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LPGA Leadership Academy presented by AXA, Day 2 Recap

by Larissa Spiess

sample_d_logoDay 2 of the Leadership Academy was filled with new activities. The girls learned about different stress factors and how to manage each one. Goal setting was practiced through different activities on the golf course. Another emphasis was on teamwork, which was strengthened through exercises such as the Human Knot. This may sound fairly easy but proved to be rather difficult. Each group exemplified exceptional teamwork, even if it took a few tries. One of the highlights was certainly the Relay Race—but not your typical race. Teams were created and it required not only teamwork, but playing to each individual’s strengths.

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