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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Now What? Saturday's Plan B

Third round play's been suspended at the Women's British Open because of high winds.  The Star Fort Ladies Golf Association got bumped from it's customary Saturday round by the men's member-guest tournament.  Saturday isn't getting off to a smooth start.  I need a Plan B.  Otherwise I'm going to get stuck cleaning the bathrooms!

But wait, Kelley Shaw, the Ladies Dream Golf League Marshal and Les Bailey, the Editor of ProGolfNow, are going to interview Alexandra Casi in a Google Hangout in a few minutes.  Alexandra's going to be featured at some point in the future of Staying in the Short Grass!  I've been preoccupied with covering the British Open for ProGolfNow that I haven't had time to work on my own blog.  My Saturday morning just got better!

Alexandra's interview helped me better understand the financial challenges underlying access to pro golf.   It's not just a matter of being a great golfer!  There's an economic dimension to the pro golf world that's masked by the million dollar checks Phil Mickelson and Inbee Park collect.

Alexandra's struggles to secure sponsorship are a critical foundation to her career development, and the challenges she faces in generating the funds to meet the expenses of the next tournament, the right equipment, and still meet her daily living expenses are overwhelming.  This is a hidden dimension of the golf world that I'd not even considered until I started chatting with Alexandra privately, and have come to understand at a much deeper level as a result of her interview with Kelley and Les.

It's not enough to support the LPGA Girl Golf program and First Tee programs and Little Linksters.  To be sure, we can create a new generation of golfers through those programs, and for the good of the game we should and must do that.  But we lovers of the game of golf need to think beyond junior golf and take an active hand in devising strategies to open access to the competitive professional golf arena.

Why? Because pro golf is an international sport and it's in our best interests to support and facilitate athletic excellence in the international arena.  Because golf is a lifetime sport that enriches our individual bodies and spirits, and the larger and more diverse the cadre of professional golfers, the deeper the bench of role models and heroes/heroines for us to emulate.