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LPGA & USGA Team Up for New Event
The LPGA and the United States Golf Association (USGA) have announced that they will co-host the inaugural LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Team Championship & Academy at the Kiawah Island Club in Kiawah Island, S.C., in June of 2012.
Participants will be competing for the Bell-McIntire Trophy, which will honor former USGA President Judy Bell and two-time U.S. Women's Amateur champion Barbara McIntire, two pioneers for junior golf and, in particular, girls' golf.
"We are very pleased to support the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program through its new team championship and academy, which will give young women even more exposure to the game," said USGA President Jim Hyler. "Judy Bell and Barbara McIntire have been wonderful representatives for the United States Golf Association and the game for many years, and this is a fitting tribute to recognize their contributions."
"This is a great opportunity to expand the reach of our LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and to honor two great ambassadors for women's golf in Judy and Barbara," said Nancy Henderson, senior vice president for The LPGA Foundation. "This event would not be possible without the generous support of RR Donnelley, LPGA Foundation board member Donna Bailey and the team at the Kiawah Island Club."
The Championship and Academy participants will consist of more than 150 girls who have taken part in the more than 230 LPGA-USGA Girls Golf programs across the United States. There will be 50 teams competing in a two-day team championship and more than 50 girls attending the three-day academy.
"The LPGA and USGA understand that there are many girls out there who might not ever dream to play on the Tour or win major championships in their golf career," said Kiernan Schindler, director of LPGA-USGA Girls Golf. "But this experience of meeting girls from around the country will demonstrate how golf can take them places they never imagined they could go."
Following the philosophy of the Girls Golf mission, the girls will gain entry into the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Team Championship & Academy based on their commitment and participation in the program (at least two years). Girls must have a USGA Handicap Index and Rules and Etiquette knowledge for participation. The cost of the event will be greatly reduced due to the generosity of the Kiawah Island Club and scholarship money, some of which will be raised in a fundraiser at the Kiawah Island Club.
"Kiawah has been host to many great events, including the 29th U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship," said Robbie Crawford, general manager of the Kiawah Island Club. "We are looking forward to once again putting our best foot forward in hosting the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Team Championship and Academy next June, followed by the PGA Championship in August."
Thanks to money raised by the inaugural RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup this past March, there will also be an opportunity for girls to qualify for financial assistance in order to make this event more accessible and affordable. The RR Donnelly LPGA Founders Cup contributed $500,000 to the LPGA Foundation and Girls Golf. Those funds have already been used to help expand the Girls Golf program. A total of 32 new sites are being added to the program and participation is expected to rise by 20 percent in 2012.
LPGA-USGA Girls Golf provides an opportunity for girls, ages 7 to 17, 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. Girls are learning values inherent to the game of golf, such as patience, respect, perseverance, and honesty, preparing them to meet challenges of today's world with confidence. The goal is also to teach girls the importance of a healthy lifestyle and provide them with the tools to maintain a strong level of self-esteem.