For the fourth year in a row, the USGA is sponsoring and promoting PLAY9 Days across the United States. This year, however, rather than focusing on a specific day, the USGA has designated the ninth day of each month as PLAY9 Day throughout the golf season. (May 9, June 9, July 9, August 9, September 9 and October 9).
Launched in 2014, the USGA encourages golfers of all ages and abilities to take time to play 9 holes. While many non-golfers state time and money as reasons they don’t play golf, this campaign is designed to encourage people to spend two hours on the golf course playing, rather than not playing at all.
New for 2017, all clubs are encouraged to support and promote PLAY9 days through the primary golf season between May and October. Check out the USGA Toolkit for suggested PLAY9 activities and social media copy and images.
EWGA Foundation Board Member Jon Last from the Sports & Leisure Research Group shares a report with the USGA that states 60 percent of golfers perceive that 9-hole rounds are a great way to introduce non-golfers to the game. It’s a great way to experience the game, without consuming large amounts of time to play or when time does not allow for an 18-hole round.
Some benefits of playing 9-holes include:
More than 30 percent of the public courses in the United States are nine-hole golf facilities and 90 percent of 18-hole public facilities offer rates to play 9-holes. Building on the success from the first three years, the USGA hopes to increase awareness and have more facilities and golfers participate throughout the summer and fall months this year. Golfers are encouraged to share their experiences on social media and post photos using the hashtag #PLAY9Golf.
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis says, “What we love about PLAY9 is the opportunity to welcome more people – both recreational golfers and non-golfers alike – to enjoy the great game of golf.”
We are thrilled to have LPGA major champion and golf executive Jane Geddes join EWGA as our CEO. Jane is a 14-time winner worldwide, including two majors at the 1986 U.S. Women’s Open and the 1987 LPGA Championship. Following a successful career on the LPGA Tour, Jane earned a law degree from Stetson University, worked at LPGA headquarters, the WWE and most recently as the executive director with the International Association of Golf Administrators.
Let’s tour a quick 18 holes (questions) to meet our CEO, Jane Geddes.
How did you get started in golf?
My family moved to South Carolina from Long Island, New York when I was 16 and I was a bit unhappy with the move. I played a lot of other sports, but never golf. My mother saw an article in the Charleston newspaper talking about Beth Daniel winning her second U.S. Amateur and her teacher, Derek Hardy. My mom thought that maybe I would like to take golf lessons…my response to her was, “NO, I hate golf!” Needless to say, she ignored me, scheduled the lesson with Derek and the rest is history!
When did you know golf would be your profession?
I HOPED it would be my profession after my junior year in college at Florida State. Everyone thought I was crazy, except for my parents who always supported my decisions….thank goodness!
What is your best memory from your years on the LPGA Tour?
Winning the U.S. Open and LPGA Championship are my two best golf memories, but my best memory of the Tour will always be the friendships I made through the years. The women I played golf with were, and remain in my life, as family.
What is your favorite golf club in your bag?
Who are/were your role models/mentors?
In golf - Beth Daniel was my role model and probably somewhat of a mentor early on especially since it was due to her that I even contemplated playing golf.
At work – Mike Whan (LPGA Commissioner), Zayra Calderon (former Pres. and CEO of the Duramed Futures Tour), Libba Galloway(former LPGA General Counsel) and Carolyn Bivens (former LPGA Commissioner) who gave me my first job at the LPGA.
What drives you or motivates you?
I like a challenge….in golf it was succeeding on the LPGA Tour because no one thought I could. Outside of golf, it’s taking on challenges that require pulling people together to make a difference.
Are there any unique experiences you’ve had that helped make you the leader you are now?
My life has been one giant unique experience. I played on Tour for 20 years, left to finish school and go on to Law School, worked on the corporate side of golf and then moved on to work at the WWE…yes, World Wrestling Entertainment. I think my unique experiences in golf and the corporate world have provided amazing opportunities to learn to lead in a variety of different capacities.
How can we continue to grow women’s golf?
It has always been about awareness of opportunities. At the LPGA, it’s about awareness of the Tour, its players, etc. Outside the Tour, it’s about getting women interested in the game on THEIR terms. Women access the game in different ways than what we are used to with men. We must acknowledge those differences and create awareness around access to those opportunities.
What can EWGA members do to impact golf locally?
EWGA can impact golf locally by spreading the word about access to the game through the EWGA. More to come on that soon!!
What advice would you offer for women in business, when it comes to golf?
Doesn’t matter how you play…learn the rules of etiquette first, take lessons so you get the fundamentals, know how to “talk the game” on a basic level while on the course and know that you are most likely just as good as your male colleagues…the only difference is that they won’t admit it!
Who is in your dream foursome? (living or not)
I have played with so many great people in the world that I am not sure I have a dream foursome. If I could turn back time, however, my dream foursome would include my Mom, Dad and my wife Gigi somewhere out on the Monterey peninsula.
What is your favorite food?
Skirt steak with Chimichurri sauce.
Where is your favorite place to vacation?
For places I have been lately, it the BVIs on a boat. Otherwise, I like going places with my kids where they can have an amazing educational experience.
Do you have any pets in your family?
We are first time cat owners….and I am not going to justify it by saying that my cat is just like a dog. Our cat is a cat….an awesome cat but a cat, nonetheless!
Your spouse is a former professional tennis player and two time Olympic gold medalist. Do you play tennis and if so, is it competitive or for fun?
Yes, I do play tennis….for fun and competitively. I played tennis when I was in my teens (before playing golf) and took it up again a couple years ago. I play to a 4.0 level which in golf would be like a middle-teen handicap. I play in USTA leagues on the competitive side and participate Gigi’s teaching clinics.
What is your best memory or funny story you can share about being the mother of twins?
Every day is a new memory…sounds cliché but true. As far as a funny memory, it’s when they were infants and we had to keep a notebook on when we fed them because, even though it seems unlikely, they were not always hungry at the same time or ate the same amount so we had to keep track of each. Gigi was meticulous at keeping the records and I was, well….not as meticulous with my exact amounts of formula, etc. We called her the “Formula-Nazi” for that period of time! We still have the notebook….we always have a story that we reminisce about when we open it.
You are preparing for an upcoming Legends Tour event in Wisconsin – what do you focus on as you prepare for competition? (Sandra Palmer once said she starts practicing five days before the event!)
I don’t practice at all…my theory is that if I am not playing all the time, I operate on the law of diminishing returns. My best days are my first few and it’s downhill from there! I was never a big practicer…just ask my friends. So, this should surprise no one who knows me!
What are you most looking forward to as CEO of the EWGA?
I am looking forward the challenge to continue to grow the women’s game. It’s where I spent most of my life, so I am very much looking forward to giving back by creating awareness and opportunities for women that play the game and for those who will play in the future.
WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of the game's leading associations and industry partners, returns to Capitol Hill for the 10th annual National Golf Day tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26. During the day, leaders from many associations representing the golf industry meet with Members of Congress to discuss the game’s tax benefits to local communities and ask for equal treatment as a legitimate industry.
The national economic impact from the game is nearly $70 billion, with a $4 billion annual charitable impact along with providing both environmental and fitness benefits. Industry leaders continue to report on golf’s 15,204 facilities in the U.S., with more than 10,000 facilities open to the public. One in 75 U.S. jobs is impacted by the golf industry, accounting for $55.6 billion wage income from about two million U.S. jobs. While the public believes the cost to play golf is expensive, WE ARE GOLF reports the median green fee in the U.S. is $37 and eight out of 10 golfers play at public golf facilities.
New for 2017, golf industry leaders will participate in a community service initiative on the national Mall to focus on the beautification, preservation and helping the National park Service with turf-deferred maintenance.
In 2016, National Golf Day was the most successful event to date, with members attending more than 120 scheduled Congressional meetings in one day. WE ARE GOLF encourages golfers to participate in the annual social media campaign to help create awareness and spread the good news about golf. Last year the #NGD16 Twitter campaign had 52 million impressions and reached 17.7 million accounts, with 4.4 million users in a one-hour span.
Golfers are encouraged to join the conversation by visiting the social media hub for suggested Tweets and social media posts. Use #NGD17 and tag @wearegolf for Twitter and Instagram to show your support for the golf industry.
The quickest way to see immediate improvement in your golf scores is to practice the short game. Golfers know this and yet most people don’t practice chipping, pitching, bunker shots or putting like they should. The general rule of thumb is to practice 50 percent of the time on these areas.
Part of practicing the short game is to know the difference between a chip shot and a pitch shot and when to use them. For a chip shot, the ball stays low to the ground so it’s a great shot when you want to land the ball on the green and have it roll to the hole.
To hit a chip shot, use a wedge or short iron and play the ball closer to your back foot (right foot for right-handed golfers, left foot for left-handed golfers). You want your weight more on your front foot with your club shaft and hands pressed slightly forward. Make a short back and through motion and you will feel the ball “pop” off the clubface. The back of your lead hand (left hand for right-handed players) finishes toward your target. The club head stays below your hands and finishes low to the ground.
Here are some Chipping secrets:
Learn and own a 50-yard shot – it’s imperative for women to get great at it. You will be amazed how the increased confidence will carry over to other areas of your swing and game. Even if you play with golfers who hit the ball farther than you do, once you get comfortable with the 50-yard shot, you will score better with your new and improved short game.
To escape from the bunker in one shot, use a sand wedge or lofted club with some bounce. (Bounce is an angle measurement in degrees, of how much the sole of the club head lifts the leading edge.) Bounce is what helps the club glide through the sand to help get the ball up and out of the bunker. Start by opening your stance so you are lined up just left of your intended target and have your weight on your forward foot. (Just like when hitting a pitch shot, this helps you avoid the tendency to want to “lift” the ball out of the bunker.
Open the clubface and swing out to in through the sand, hitting about an inch or two behind the ball. Be sure to accelerate through the swing and follow-through to the target. Many times golfers stop swinging at the ball as soon as they hit the sand. The key to getting the ball out on the first attempt is to swing to the target. By hitting behind the ball, the sand forces the ball out of the bunker – the club head never really hits the ball.
Practice these short game shots and you will have increased confidence and lower scores.
We’ve all heard the best way to lower your score is to practice your short game – where you can save valuable strokes by chipping the ball close to the hole or by avoiding the dreaded three-putt. Yet another way to improve your golf game and lower your score is to keep track of your stats.
Studies show the best way to make a difference in your score is to hit greens in regulation (GIR), however, due to the length of most golf courses, this is a tough feat for many women. Greens in regulation for women don’t have to be the same as men…so maybe your personal goal is to reach the green in three shots on a par 4 vs. two shots. Keep track on your scorecard how many strokes it takes you to reach the green and look for a pattern (or consistent number of shots to reach the green). If you feel like you are always hitting a chip shot to the green, you could take one more club to try to reach the green and not end up chipping on, if your previous shot was short of the green.
Another important stat to record on your score card is the number of putts. Many golfers keep track of putts for little side-bet games but pay close attention to your putting stats. You should try to finish an 18-hole round with fewer than 36 putts. If you are in the 37-40 range on a regular basis, take time to practice your putting and get rid of the three-putts. Golf Digest reports that a typical golfer who shoots 95, averages 37 putts a round while a typical Professional who shoots 71, averages 29 putts. To break 90, you need to have 34 putts per round and to break 80, get to 31 or 32 putts per round.
If you think about it, greens in regulation and putts account for most golfers ups and downs in their game. If you struggle getting from the tee to the green, great putting can help you immensely.
An easy way to track your stats on your scorecard is to circle the hole number on the scorecard when you hit a green in regulation. Another way is to make an X in the box below your score when you hit a GIR. Simply add up the circles or X’s to determine how many greens you hit. Increase that GIR goal each time you play and watch how the results track over your four or five next rounds. For putting, since your goal is two putts per green, I like to record only one-putts or three-putts (no sense writing all those 2’s on the card). Total your putts after each round and see how GIR and putting help lower your score.
You can track and record any number of other shots as well. Some people like to track hitting fairways with their tee shot. Assuming there are four par 3’s during the round, you can track how many fairways you hit out of a possible 14 tee shots. Also keep track of the par 3’s you hit in regulation and try to score 3’s and 4’s on every par 3.
When you finish a round, you can create a spreadsheet to record the stats from each round. Keeping track of your stats is the best way to see what areas of your game need more concentration and practice. By tracking your stats, you can note your progress to an improved game and lower scores.
The Masters Tournament is the first of the four major championships in men’s professional golf. While the other three majors are played on a different venue each year, the Masters is held at the same location every year. Augusta National Golf Club, a private club in Augusta, Georgia has hosted the event for 83 years. While the tickets are not expensive, they are the most difficult sporting ticket to obtain. Practice round tickets are available every year for Monday through Wednesday, but the actual Tournament Badges for Thursday through Sunday have been sold out for years. Many corporations and individuals offer their tickets for sale every year, much to the delight of people who have attending the Masters at the top of their “bucket list.”
People watching the Masters have all heard CBS Analyst Jim Nantz’ famous line “It’s a tradition unlike any other.” Here are some of those great Masters traditions…
Here are some of the best traditions and some trivia from the Masters to share with your friends as you are viewing the broadcast this week:
With years of tradition and the first men’s major of the year, many golfers feel spring has officially arrived when they watch the Masters Tournament. Who will 2016 Champion Danny Willet slip the Green Jacket on this year?
Now in its fifth season, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide junior golf development competition aimed at growing the game by focusing on three fundamental skills (driving, chipping and putting) used in golf. It is a joint initiative founded by the Masters Tournament, The PGA of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA).
The competition is open for girls and boys ages 7-15 and provides an opportunity for junior golfers to compete with other qualifiers nationwide. Local qualifying takes place at 268 sites in all 50 states from May to August and attracts nearly 200 golfers at each site. The top three golfers in each age group advance to one of 53 sites for the sub-regional competition held in July and August. Again the top three golfers in each age group advance to the regional competition that takes place at 10 sites in August and September. The top boys and girls in each age category (40 boys and 40 girls) advance to the National Finals, which takes place at Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before the Masters Tournament the following April.
Each participant competes in the three skills (Drive, Chip and Putt) and accumulates points for each skill. Each participant gets three shots in each skill with each shot worth 25 points for a maximum of 75 points per skill. For Driving, a shot must finish in the 40-yard wide fairway to accumulate points (with more points awarded for distance from 25 to 300 yards). For the Chipping skill, each participant hits three 10-15 yard shots at the hole, with scoring rings determining the points earned. The Putting skill involves the participant attempting one putt from 6 feet, 15 feet and 30 feet, with scoring rings determining the points earned. The champion in each of the four age categories is the person earning the highest number of accumulated points for all three skills.
Be sure to tune in to Golf Channel to watch the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals broadcast live on Sunday, April 2 at 8am EDT from Augusta National Golf Club.
Click here to find a local qualifier near you for the 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship and help a young woman in your life fall in love with golf.