It’s a cross-country journey to get more girls into golf, and one important program has been in the express lane.
Since 2010, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, which specializes in providing a “girl-friendly” environment for juniors aged 6-17 to learn and play the game of golf, has grown from 5,000 participants to an estimated 50,000 spread across 300 communities in 46 states. Founded in 1989 by the highly regarded Arizona-based golf instructor Sandy LaBauve, today the program is administered through a partnership between the LPGA Foundation and the USGA. This year clinics were held at the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open as well as five events on the LPGA Tour schedule.
“Golf can be hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be fun,” said Kiernan Schindler, director of the LPGA Foundation.
Indeed, the program uses fun golf-skills contests – playing a golf version of tic-tac-toe on the putting green and chipping into the mouths of blow-up creatures (a shark named Larry and a hippopotamus named Mia, to name two). There are also arts and crafts, limbo contests, dance parties and other activities that drive a program that embraces the alliterative themes that help young girls develop life skills: Exercise, Enrich, Energize, Empower and Engage.