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Gap to Renew Development Program


The Golf Association of Philadelphia (GAP) is accepting applications again this year for its Mary's Girls development program for a selected number of aspiring, young female golfers who are not members of a private golf club. The program provides female community-based golfers with instructional and financial support with a goal of enabling them to earn college golf scholarships.

In its inaugural year in 2004, Mary's Girls supported four outstanding young women golfers: Angela Oh, of Maple Shade, N.J.; Joanna Coe, of Mays Landing, N.J.; Cassaundra Fincke, of Broomall, Pa., and Katie Kahn, of Allentown, Pa.

The program was developed by GAP at the request of Larry Ballen, a member of Bala Golf Club, who was seeking a way to honor his late wife, Mary, an avid participant in and supporter of women's golf. Any female golfer, aged 12 and above, with an already demonstrated commitment to the game, who does not belong, as an individual or family member, to a private golf club, is eligible for grant consideration.

Mary's Girls soon attracted the attention of Women Golfers Give Back (WGGB), a consortium of leading female golfers from GAP area clubs formed to support women's golf initiatives in the region, who generously backed the initiative.

Application forms require biographical information on the applicant, financial disclosure, and a statement from a sponsor/mentor on why the applicant should be selected for a grant. The sponsor/mentor must commit to actively assisting and mentoring the applicant throughout the duration of a Mary's Girls grant.

The program is administered by the Golf Association of Philadelphia's PLAY (Philadelphia Local Area Youth) Golf Program, the Association's initiative to provide access for urban, community-based, disadvantaged and handicapped young people to the game of golf in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

Applicants are reviewed and evaluated by a committee composed of the Ballen family, GAP, Women's GAP and WGGB.

Grant winners are provided funds, on a year-by-year basis, for professional instruction, course access, equipment, transportation costs, and any other ancillary costs deemed appropriate by the committee for the further development of the grant recipient.

Further information and grant applications can be accessed on the GAP website, www.gapgolf.org, under the PLAY Golf page, or by emailing bjones@gapgolf.org.