Seriously? Yes and no.
The Executive Women’s Golf Association is serious about the game of golf, but having fun is the top priority.
“My theme is bringing fun back into the game,” said EWGA Albany/Capital Region chapter president Mary Ann Keeler. “We encourage women of all skill levels — especially beginners — to join us. We offer opportunities to connect them to area pros through our clinics, which we’ve done at Golf Galaxy and at courses like Mill Road Acres, Western Turnpike and Schenectady Municipal. We not only will help women get connected with a pro so they can have more fun with the game, but we will find them a place and a league to play in. We encourage women to get lessons.”
Part of EWGA’s core events are 13 golf leagues for all levels of players throughout the Capital Region.
“We didn’t have any golf leagues when I first started in the organization, and then we started with a few at Mill Road Acres,” Keeler said. “Then we graduated to about 10 leagues. We have leagues for beginners and leagues just for fun, with no handicaps. We also have plenty of handicap leagues, but they include players with handicaps of 40 and under. Even one of our ‘advanced’ leagues at Orchard Creek has players with all types of handicaps. There aren’t a lot of people who don’t fit in somewhere.”
Keeler said her organization is slightly different than the Northeastern Women’s Golf Association, the region’s premier women’s tournament organization.
“NEWGA provides a competitive outlet for the top players,” Keeler explained. “EWGA is more about bringing women into the game and giving them an opportunity to learn about the game and play. They get a chance to meet with other women and network.”
The EWGA also plans numerous outings and tournaments for its members. This year, members will play at courses like Equinox, Leatherstocking, Saratoga National and Rolling Hills at Antlers. At the end of the year, members can qualify for a national tournament with flights for players of every type of handicap.
The organization had its season kickoff event March 27 at the Desmond Hotal & Convention Center. It included special guest Dottie Pepper, a Saratoga Springs native who won 17 times on the LPGA Tour and is now a color commentator for ESPN as well as an author and PGA of America board member.
Also on hand was Titleist sales representative Jeff Kelly, who gave a presentation on how to choose the right equipment. Several pros from the Northeastern New York PGA were there to give playing tips. There was a putting contest, several drawings to help support junior golf, and plenty of golf clothing to sample from Golf For Her apparel.
“The main reason this organization was founded was to provide a voice for women, both on the national and the local level,” Keeler explained. “For me, that was the main motivator to join. I joined in Feb. 1996, the year after it started locally in 1995. At that first kickoff event, I was so excited to see a room full of women all interested in the game of golf. I wanted to belong and help it grow, so I joined the organization and soon became part of, and eventually the chairman, of the membership committee.”
Keeler has been a longtime EWGA board member, and she competes in an EWGA league at Orchard Creek. She has also been a member of Western Turnpike for more than 20 years and is one of the few women who also compete in NEWGA events.
EWGA is the largest women-focused amateur golf association in the United States, with chapters in nearly every U.S. major market and corporate center. EWGA has connected with more than 100,000 working and professional women who share a passion for cultivating relationships and enjoying the game of golf.
EWGA, which began on the national level in 1991, has chapters in more than 120 cities in the U.S., as well as international locations in Bermuda, Canada, Italy and South Africa.
Following is an event calendar for the Albany/Capital Region Chapter.
15 — Handicap posting; 16 — Captain’s meeting at Portofino’s, 6; 23 — First league night; 26 — Orientation and optional clinic at Orchard Creek.
4 — EduKaytion short game and scoring clinic in Lennox, Mass.; 10 — First Tee golf event at Saratoga National; 13 — Board meeting; 18 — Golf event at Equinox, Vt.
10 — Board meeting; 14 — Golf event at Thunderhart and Sunny Hill.
8 — Board meeeting; 12 — Chapter championship at Fairways of Halfmoon; 15 — Elections of nominating committee.
9 — Thruway Challenge with Syracuse and Rochester chapters; 12 — Board meeting; 15 — Three-Club Scramble at Town of Colonie.
6 — League Challenge at Saratoga Spa State Park; 13 — Golf event at Leatherstocking.
10 — National Championship in Nashville, Tenn.; 14 — Board meeting; 31 — Handicap posting.
1 — Transition for chapter board of directors; 11 — Board meeting; 13 — Annual Business and Volunteer Recognition Dinner.
7 — National Cup Finals in Scottsdale, Ariz.; 9 — Board meeting.