As a countdown to our 25th Anniversary Celebration in Colonial Williamsburg in April, EWGA Founder Nancy Oliver has agreed to write a weekly column and share her amazing collection of newsletters and press clips revealing the early years.
I had been in the golf business for 12 years but had never actually PLAYED the game. I was so involved in the game that I helped spearhead the first “Florida Golf Summit”, where it became clear to me that the golf industry simply needed more women in the game. And although much to my embarrassment I personally didn’t play golf, it also became clear that I was well-positioned and somehow destined to get the ball rolling…at least in the State of Florida.
So I decided to put together an 8-week “soup to nuts” clinic for beginner golfers that I could just slip into without anyone realizing that I didn’t know how to play. I contacted one of my clients, Ray Finch of Emerald Dunes, with my idea, and he said “If you get more than a half-dozen women here, I’ll eat my hat.” Sounded like a challenge to me…so after some brainstorming with a couple of friends, we came up with the name “Executive Women’s Golf League” because we didn’t want to be immediately labeled as beginners, and could only assume that we would, over time, get better. Then we ordered another glass of wine!
On the first day, Tuesday, July 9, 1991, we did in fact have more than a half dozen women…(it was actually 28), and by the third or fourth session, we had all become fast friends and they were telling all of their friends about it. Out of sheer demand, we started another 8-week session on Thursdays. Upon graduation of that second group, I invited Ray to come to the podium so he could officially “Eat His Hat”!
A big shout out to some of the enthusiastic individuals of the “early days” who made things happen behind the scenes – Kim Throckmorton, Penny White (Parks) , Joyce Pepin, Beth Cohen, Sally Benson, Pat Stephenson, Dianne Redding, Saundra Kellam, and a special thanks to Ray Finch, Rob Young and Rich LeConche of Emerald Dunes, our first host club, for believing in the possibilities!
EDITOR'S NOTE: This was back in 1991 and the golf industry still needs more women to take up the game today.