U.S. SENIOR WOMEN'S AMATEUR
Notebook: Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From Tree in George Family September 13, 2014 By Joey Flyntz, USGA

Bonnie George (right), the oldest competitor in the field, draws inspiration from her 98-year-old mom, Bobbie. (USGA/Jonathan Ernst)

DEAL, N.J. – Parents doling out advice to their children on the practice range is a common sight at USGA championships. Suffice it to say, it’s not quite as common when the child is 70 years old.

That scene played out during stroke-play qualifying of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Hollywood Golf Club this weekend.

The oldest player in the field, Bonnie George, of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., was joined by her mother, Bobbie, this weekend. Even at 98 years of age, mom can’t turn down the opportunity to convey a teaching point.

"She came up to me on the practice range and called me over very quietly and said: 'Bonnie, you're not moving through the ball. You're not using your left arm. You have to stay down, you have to stay low,' said Bonnie. She was such a good athlete. She knows the game and she still plays the game."

Indeed, Bobbie still plays regularly at Philmont Country Club in Huntingdon Valley. A standout athlete and member of the Philadelphia Jewish Hall of Fame alongside Bonnie and her son, Lee, Bobbie is always on the lookout for ways to improve her game.

"This is what I really love, watching all the girls on the range, on the course." Bobbie said. "Watching them gives me lessons and teaches me things I think will be helpful for my game."

In addition to golf, mother and daughter also excel artistically.

Bonnie specializes in watercolor portraits and designed the logo for Women Golfers Give Back, as well as the poster for the 1987 LPGA ShopRite Classic. She never misses an opportunity to help someone with a watercolor portrait and she has recently started knitting her own golf club head covers, which were on display in her bag this weekend.

While Bonnie thrives with watercolors, Bobbie is more diverse.

She’s so talented, said Bonnie. She welds artistic pieces, she can work with oils and all kinds of other mediums and here I am doing mainly watercolors.

When she’s not putting on greens or painting on canvas, Bonnie enjoys cooking and says her goal is to compete on the Food Network program Chopped. She’s not bashful about her killer chocolate cake and she’ll gladly share her recipe if you ask.

A 10-time U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur competitor, Bonnie hopes to return next year. To get there, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and probably some teaching sessions on the range with mom.

Mohler Enjoying Golf More Than Ever

Despite being one of the top female amateur golfers in the country, Noreen Mohler understood that in order to find what she really wanted in life, golf had to take a backseat. A 20-year backseat, it turned out.

Mohler, 58, of Bethlehem, Pa., reached the semifinals in the 1975 U.S. Women’s Amateur and played on the victorious 1978 USA Curtis Cup Team. She also played two years on the LPGA Tour, but bigger things beckoned.

She married into the restaurant business and owned three restaurants with her husband, Jeff. Between that and raising the couple’s three children – Ashley, Jeremy and Brendan – there just wasn’t time for golf.

Mohler brought the clubs back out in 2006 and she’s never had more fun.

"Years ago, golf was everything. If I posted a bad score or hit a bad shot, life was terrible," she said. "But now that we're senior women and we've been through life, we realize that this is a game that we're playing. It's so nice to be together as senior women playing this game, because we all know that this isn't do or die. This is a fun game. The camaraderie here is spectacular."

Mohler and her husband now own only one restaurant – Marblehead Chowder House, in Easton, Pa. – but Mohler is hands-off and is making up for lost time with golf, both on and off the course. Mohler, who shot 11-over-par 157 to easily advance to match play at the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, also captained the USA Team in the 2010 Curtis Cup. The greatest experience of my life, she said.

Last year, Mohler became the first female member of the Golf Association of Philadelphia Executive Committee, where she offers a new perspective to the game.

"It's been great," she said. All the other guys have been very welcoming. It seems like everyone is happy that I'm on the committee. The guys seem genuinely interested in a different perspective. We're trying to grow the game. It's not just men, we're trying to add women, juniors and parents. We want to make it more accessible."

Holland Passes on Field Hockey Sticks For Golf Clubs

Jen Holland is accustomed to watching college players swing field hockey sticks this time of year, but for the past two weeks she’s enjoyed swinging her golf clubs at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championships.

Holland, 51, of Branford, Conn., works as an NCAA field hockey official in the fall and as a women’s lacrosse official in the spring.

After missing the match-play cut by one stroke at last week’s Women’s Mid-Amateur at Harbour Trees Golf & Beach Club in Noblesville, Ind., Holland easily advanced to match play at the Senior Women’s Amateur at Hollywood Golf Club with back-to-back 6-over-par 79s.

September golf is a new experience.

"I don’t pick up my clubs until June and then usually around this time of year, my clubs get put away," she said. "I kind of have a three-month window in the summer to play."

Holland officiates high school and college field hockey in the fall, primarily in New England, but occasionally as far south as New York City. She is scheduled to work games in Connecticut this week. Every day she advances in match play could be a game lost, but for the chance at a USGA championship?

It’s worth it, she said.

Odds And Ends

Amy Ellertson, 53, of Free Union, Va., withdrew on Sunday due to an arm injury. Susan DeKalb, 58, of nearby Middletown, N.J., withdrew due to a back injury. … Lynda Foster, 61, of Madison, Conn., eagled the par-5 12th hole. She hit a 3-wood from 187 yards away on her second shot and then sunk a 20-footer from just off the green.

Joey Flyntz is an associate writer for the USGA. Email him at jflyntz@usga.org.