Stacy Lewis Invests in the Future of LPGA-USGA Girl’s Golf
I noticed an article this morning that referred to a fifty thousand dollar donation to LPGA/USGA Girl’s Golf by Stacy Lewis. So, I scrapped my other topic, because a glimmer of this institution’s far-reaching importance penetrated my thick skull a little deeper than usual.
For Stacy, and other pros (many of whom went through the programs) who donate to such a cause, it’s money well-spent, and they seem to understand why. Somewhere, whether consciously or unconsciously, they have decided that appearing, playing and picking up a check isn’t enough. There is an intent on the part of so many players to leave the tour and the community better than they found it. The game and its benefits to growing children are going to be glad and grateful that they were there.
On an annual basis, LPGA/USGA Girl’s Golf hosts approximately twenty thousand young players from seven to seventeen. The website uses the term, “changing lives one swing at a time,” a well-thought out expression, because that’s precisely what it does. The sub-text is that such a gathering goes well past the game by adding “introducing golf, and the values that are inherent to the game…positive girl-friendly environments.”
Growing up as a boy, I wasn’t part of such an organization, but fortunately did play a lot with friends, a generally good group of folks. The culture addressed matters of integrity, honesty and issues of temper without consciously intending to. But, if I had been thrown into a co-ed introduction to the game in an intense way, figuring out all the ramifications would have been overwhelming for a little kid’s brain. We were still trying to figure ourselves out, much less the bigger world. Looking back, I figure that sisterly and brotherly environments can be a real plus when you’re just getting your feet wet in searching for yourself.
“Girl-friendly” environments, then, not only appear to take all sorts of pressures out of the equation, but seek to prevent feelings of isolation, confusion, or of not feeling safe, the most basic of human rights. As it is on the tour, RR Donnelly is heavily involved, providing golf clinics and events in conjunction with pro tournaments. The girls get to play courses they would not otherwise be able to play. They meet their role models, are appreciated and respected, and oh yes, they get to play golf, a lot of golf.
Junior golf clinics include Phoenix (at the Donnelly Founders Cup), Carlsbad, Ca. (at the KIA Classic), Palm Desert (the Kraft Nabisco) and Williamsburg (the Kingsmill Championship). The cost is extremely reasonable, with clinics and play dates coming in around $85. That’s a pretty paltry investment for such an enormous return.
I enjoy a golf joke as much as anyone, whether it’s Churchill or Twain reducing the game to hitting a small sphere with a stick, but in the real world, this game is so much more, because of what it teaches, the healthy relationships it creates, and the time spent between people who are centrally important to one another, especially families. Golf is a game that can be played throughout one’s life, and can help to forge a life one will be glad to live. Although it is not immune to the foibles of human nature, the friendly environment is a potential showcase for all of us to be at our best, and to practice being our best.
So, what’s Stacy Lewis getting for her money? Consider such an investment – would I want to send twenty thousand young women with integrity, strong self-esteem and a healthy sense of camaraderie and joy into society every year? The same with the boys? Yeah, I’ll donate to that.