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Girls Golf is part of The First Tee of Brunswick County. All spring, 15 young ladies have been meeting weekly at St. James Plantation to learn about life skills and golf.
“What’s special about LPGA/USGA Girls Golf is that it’s just girls,” said Emily Emerson, the assistant PGA golf professional and lead coach for Girls Golf at St. James. “Most First Tee sessions include a mixture of boys and girls. Sometimes girls are a bit shy about playing golf with the guys, so this is the perfect outlet for young ladies who want to try golf. These girls come from all over the county every other week.”
The Ladies Professional Golf Association and the United States Golf Association joined forces several years ago to promote the game of golf among young girls. Today, there are 5,700 girls, ages 7-17, participating at more than 180 sites nationwide.
The stated focus of the organization is to “provide an opportunity for girls to learn to play golf, build lasting friendships and experience competition in a fun, supportive environment, preparing them for a lifetime of enjoyment with the game.”
Many Girls Golf sites are at public and private clubs and are often run by lady pros and/or women’s golf leagues. Some are aligned with local First Tee chapters, as is the case of the Girls Golf at St. James, which is aligned with The First Tee of Brunswick County.
“The girls love it,” Emerson said. “We have 13 girls in the program now and expect it will grow quickly. The girls take it seriously. They want to improve their game. We also have a lot of fun. They’re very comfortable in the program.”
Kaitlyn Johnston, the new program director for The First Tee of Brunswick County, is excited about Girls Golf.
“It’s a perfect way for girls to gather and learn to play golff,” she said. “I expect this program to grow a lot in the next few years.”
ELSA BONSTEIN is a golf columnist for the Beacon. Reach her at email@example.com.