N.J. – Beaches, pools and golf
weather. That’s the perception of Florida.
Cold, snow and igloos. That’s what most people think of Alaska.
But this week at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links three
women from the 49th state, Terri McAngus, of Eagle River, and Pamela
Chesla and Susan Gatewood,
are trying to show Alaskans can also excel in a summer-time activity.
is the only state without a private course, so everyone who plays golf does so
on public layouts. Even practice is hard
because snow covers the ground for some eight months out of the year. That makes
state with the shortest golf season.
“There are a lot of
simulators, or video screens you can play on,” said Chesla. “So, if it’s the
middle of December, I can go and play Pebble Beach
if I want to.”
Even for the WAPL qualifier, the greens at the Palmer Golf Course were not completely in shape. The
course had to use temporary greens due to the record snowfall in the state this
During the summer, it is still not the most ideal place to
might be the only state with golf until midnight, but the many driving ranges
don’t have sufficient short-game facilities.
insufficient to try and go putt and chip, which are key aspects of the game,”
said McAngus. “You just have to make do with what you got.”
After the 2012 championship season, Alaska will also be the
only state to have never hosted a USGA championship (Utah and New Hampshire are
leaving that list this summer after hosting the Amateur Public Links and U.S.
Junior Amateur, respectively). That should make Alaska
golfers yearn to have a national championship even more.
Berge, Alaska’s representative on
the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship Committee, is at Neshanic Valley Golf
Course this week to hopefully convince USGA officials that a USGA event should
be conducted in the state. For Alaska
to host such a major event, the state would need grant money. The championship
would also need to be contested later in the season because the courses need
time to soak in all of the water from the spring thaw.
“We would love to host a tournament,” said Gatewood. “And
hopefully, it’s soon.”
For now, Alaska will need
to make do with what it has in state pride, which are three Alaska golfers qualifying for a USGA
Cassandra Stein is the USGA’s communications
intern. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.