The IX: Golf Thursday with Carly Grenfell, June 18, 2020
#RaceForeUnity — Interview with Mel Reid — Must-click links in women's golf
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There have been some good things brewing in the women’s golf world this week.
As I talked about in last week’s The IX Golf Thursday, Justin Rose launching the Rose Ladies Series has sparked even more positives. Announced a few days ago, golf retailer American Golf has matched Kate and Justin’s prize fund donation of $44,500. It is pretty amazing what happens when just one person with a big platform publicly supports, and does something good, for women’s golf. Not only has it attracted players like Bronte Law, Charley Hull and Laura Davies among others to the event itself, but it’s led to other companies stepping up. The snowball effect is real, my friends.
“I am so delighted that American Golf has decided to join forces with me and Kate in support of the women’s game. They contacted us to see how they could help support the Rose Ladies Series, and we cannot thank them enough.” (via Golf Channel)
Justin Rose has shown us what coming together looks like. He’s proven that golf should be treated as golf — not men’s golf versus women’s golf. That’s unity if you ask me. And his kind deed leads me perfectly into another amazing initiative being hosted by LPGA player Morgan Pressel: Race Fore Unity. This Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, two teams of athletes, celebrities, influencers and golf executives will take to their Peloton Bikes in a live race for charity that will benefit LPGA*USGA Girls Golf and PGA WORKS.
Captained by 2-time LPGA Tour winner Pressel, the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf team will be riding for the Renee Powell Grant. This grant will provide opportunities and access to young children in black communities to learn the game of golf and valuable lessons in the game of life.
For the PGA WORKS team, captained by former LET player and now GOLFTV broadcaster Henni Zuel, donations will benefit the PGA WORKS Fellowship. This one-year paid program offers access to individuals from diverse backgrounds—whether by gender, age, race or color, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, disability, religion or Veteran status—into golf to gain experience in all facets of the golf industry.
Inclusion, and the need for it in golf, has always been a topic of conversation. But now, it’s more relevant and even more heightened given the racial turmoil in our country today. PGA WORKS is actually part of PGA REACH, the the 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the PGA of America. The mission of PGA REACH is to positively impact the lives of youth, military, and diverse populations by enabling access to PGA Professionals, PGA Sections and the game of golf. Needless to say—I’m excited the PGA is part of the conversation in this #RaceForeUnity.
By the way, if you’re up for taking part, there are plenty of ways you can do so!
All you do is go to raceforeunity.com, scroll to the bottom of the page and and support either the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Team or the PGA WORKS Team. From there, you’ll see all the participants. It gives you the option to either donate a flat fee, or pledge by the mile. For example, if I pledged $5 a mile for Suzy Whaley, and she logs nine miles in a 30-minute ride, I would give $50. I’ve seen that a lot of people have just done the flat fee, but both are great options. I’d say most riders will go around 10 miles in 30 minutes if that is any help for pledging by the mile!
Not long ago, I took a step back from golf to talk about the divide and tension many of us are feeling and have felt the last few weeks. I’m proud that I get to talk about the exact opposite of divide today in unity, because it means so many of us are feeling more empowered than ever to spark positive change in the world. Hats off to Morgan Pressel for putting this Peloton ride together to bring attention to two awesome causes, that ultimately will be the future of our sport.
This work is not just the moral path forward. Golf will not last if we continue being a predominantly middle-aged, white, male sport. Diversity is profitable. A homogenous sport is not. Acclimating to the year 2020, where we aren’t afraid to speak up and fight for the rights of humanity, is profitable. Refusing to change, and relying on outdated traditions for appeal, are not.
Maybe the events of the past three months are what our sport needed to help us blossom. Coronavirus hasn’t defeated golf — many courses didn’t have to fully shut down operations. When you’re cooped up inside, and golf is your only option to get outside and be around people, it makes sense why we’ve seen a spike in participation. It’s encouraging that golf has been able to be there for people in a time of immense uncertainty. And now, we’re trying to extend that reach even further since the death of George Floyd. I’m encouraged by that. And I hope you are too.
While we admittedly have a ways to go, we’re certainly going.
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This Week in Women’s Golf
Reminder: First, the underlined words are the links. Second. CLICK these, even if you’ve already read them. Clicks = Attention from editors, producers and webmasters. Third, if you want to push out stuff you’ve written or read, email me! email@example.com
The LPGA to restart at a newly created Drive On Championship as part of Ohio double header. (via Golf Channel)
Mel Reid writes a letter for Pride Month: educating yourself leads to greater understanding. (via LPGA.com)
The LPGA announces 2020 scholarship recipients. (via LPGA.com)
Inspiring LPGA Professional Mackenzie Mack spreads ‘move forward’ message. (via LPGA.com)
LPGA players and SParms team up for mask share program. (via LPGA.com)
The LPGA’s absence makes the heart grow fonder. (via LPGA.com)
Dame Laura Davies credits Justin Rose as British female professionals prepare for return to golf. (via Sky Sports)
Catching up with So Yeon Ryu, who was recently awarded the USGA Bob Jones Award. (via Golf Digest)
Former Solheim Cup player Emily Pedersen dominates in a male-heavy field. (via Golf News Net)
Justin Rose announces American Golf as the title sponsor of the Rose Ladies Series. (via Golf Magic)
LPGA player shoots 61 to collect a third mini-tour trophy. (via Golfweek)
Mike Whan still feels pretty good about the LPGA events in Scotland happening in August. (via Golfweek)
College golf transfer blog: who is going where next year? (via Golfweek)
Diane Dailey, who coached women’s golf for 30 years, humbled to be inducted into Wake Forest Hall of Fame. (via Winston-Salem Journal)
This year’s U.S. Amateur, Women’s Amateur should be all-timers. (via Golf Channel)
Tweet of the Week
Five at The IX: Mel Reid
LPGA player Mel Reid has been a prominent voice in golf over the last few months especially and is one of the riders in Saturday’s Ride Fore Unity. I asked her a handful of questions about exactly that—unity and what else it will take to bring the sport together for years to come.
I. What was your reaction to Justin Rose sponsoring the Rose Ladies Series and then American Golf matching his donation? I think it says a lot about himself and his foundation. I had a sense of pride because I felt like maybe he had heard what I said in my tweet that got some attention following the TaylorMade Match. Maybe it caught his attention to help out the women more and to be a voice for the women. An added bonus of American Golf matching his donation. It just goes to show you what can be done.
II. You recently wrote a letter for Pride Month for the LPGA. Why is this important to you? I think given the current situation in the world right now, there’s never been a more obvious time for inclusion. I’ve always tried to be authentically myself so that people who may struggle with who they are, knows that we all have cracks and dents. As athletes we do have a platform. And this is what I like to use mine for.
III. Do you feel like some of the positives to come out of women’s golf lately, like your powerful letter on coming out, Justin Rose’s event, the new event in Ohio, etc. unifies the golf industry in any way? This is a great time for golf to reevaluate how they have done things in the past. I do believe golf has been behind in exclusion and equality. However, all of these positive changes lately will hopefully move the game forward. We need to take responsibility as a whole to make it more inclusive and welcome diversity more openly. Golf is an amazing community to be a part of. I just want more people to be a part of and experience that community.
IV. You’re one of the participants in this weekend’s Race Fore Unity. What does it mean to support causes like PGA WORKS and LPGA*USGA Girls Golf? We’re taught by our commissioner Mike Whan to leave the game better than we found it, so this is what it means to me. They are two fantastic foundations that allow inclusion and new participation to the game. A group of us got together to do it because we want to do our part in diversifying the industry as a whole and making it more inclusive for everybody.
V. What do you feel will have to happen to unify golf further? It will have to be accessible to anybody who wants to take up this wonderful game. Golf has always been considered an upperclass sport—that needs to change. It’s more attractive and sustainable when you have people from all walks of life playing, watching or simply being a fan. The unique thing about golf is that you can play it at any age, with any ability and it can be competitive. I would just love for it to be more inclusive and I will always be a voice in trying to make that happen.