While the world has been navigating these unprecedented times, technology has helped maintain and create meaningful connections. Perhaps one of its most inspiring aspects is the ability to not only reach people in different locations, but across generations.
With the transition to online learning, LPGA*USGA Girls Golf programs across the country have been hosting virtual clinics and meet-ups. A few weeks ago, Girls Golf of Miami members got together for an Easter clinic that included trivia, a watch party of The Founders film, and a special surprise from LPGA Founder Shirley Spork.
“I’m so happy that you were able to get so many young ladies together to enjoy some history of our Ladies Professional Golf Association,” said Spork on the call. “Today, we are so fortunate to have people that promote junior girls golf throughout our whole country. Because of that, our game is sound and stable and will continue forward with some of you that are listening that are maybe liking to become a golf champion, or become a teacher, or help assist junior programs.”
After watching The Founders film, an inspiring story that documents the creation of the LPGA Tour, Girls Golf members heard stories from Spork about her start in golf, founding the LPGA and LPGA Professionals, what clubs to use when, and advice for a lifetime. They also had a chance to ask their own questions, including what golf course she grew up on, her favorite tournament, and how she would “relate golf now to back then.”
“It gave me goose bumps to see how excited the younger girls got, average age of 8,” said Stephanie Peareth, Site Director of LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Miami. “They all know the history and had seen the movie so knew who Shirley was. It was a major celebrity moment for them, and Shirley is just incredible!”
In 1950, Spork was one of the 13 women to launch the LPGA, the oldest professional sports organization for women. In 1959, she was instrumental in founding the LPGA’s teaching division (now known as LPGA Professionals) along with Marilynn Smith, Betty Hicks, and Barbara Rotvig. Now 92 years old, Spork resides in Rancho Mirage, Calif. and continues to pave the way for future generations.
“One of the most important things about the game is that it’s fun, you can laugh at yourself,” said Spork. “It takes time, and you have time to correct mistakes you make. No one hits perfect—golf is not a game of perfect. Golf is a game of playable misses . . . I love you all, take care, keep swinging!”
This is a memory that these Girls Golf members will never forget. From California to Florida, 6 to 92 years old, golf truly unites us all.