Opportunity for girls to play golf
Posted at: 06/14/2012 5:44 PM
| Updated at: 06/14/2012 8:32 PM
By: Robin De Wind | WHEC.com
Girls’ golf is a sport with a lot of opportunity, but it is still struggling to attract young athletes. The Rochester area is known for its course, talent and rich golf history, but many young girls are still not pursuing this life-long sport.
Last week’s LPGA raised our awareness about women’s golf, but the problem is the interest isn’t always sustained or appreciated about younger girls. Golf is still perceived as a man’s sport.
They are the powerhouse of Section V Girls’ Golf, state champions by a mile, winning last weekend by a combined 41 shots.
Danielle Fuss, Mercy Junior, said, “Some say it's boring but once you get out there and give it a try you'll see that it isn't.”
Mercy junior Danielle Fuss placed second in the two day tournament. She is a five time All-Greater Rochester selection and helped lead Section V to its first state title last year.
Fuss said, “I just picked up a club when I was four and just followed my dad and brother and haven't stopped since.”
But Fuss is rare. Golf isn’t the sport of choice for most girls in junior high and high school, but some say it should be.
Julie Odenback, Section V Girls Golf Coordinator, said, “I've got college coaches calling saying. ‘Julie, I've got scholarships they only need to break 100 give me a girl that can swing the club.’”
Julie Odenbeck is the Section V coordinator for girls’ golf. She says our area is rich in teaching pros, so girls who have never picked up a club can learn quickly.
Odenbach said, “I've got girls who started sophomore year and are going to college to play golf in just those three years.”
Odenbach says while colleges are opening up opportunities for female golfers, high schools are dropping the sport due to budget cuts. Another problem, if girls don’t get interested in joining a team by the 7th grade, they may never buy into the idea.
Odenbach said, “This is a lifetime sport and for girls to get in to it, they need to start young and have friends, they need the social aspect of it, they need friends.”
For Pittsford Mendon’s Gabrielle Sacheli, it was her dad who encouraged her at the age of five. Golf became a family sport. She will attend Rutgers next year on a golf scholarship.
Sacheli said,” I’ve played with girls from Thailand to California. It's all over the place, you get to play with boys, they're really competitive so you need to come up with them and sometimes you beat them which is nice. I think women are progressing a lot. It's great to see both sexes being able to play.”
The LPGA is also addressing the issue of getting younger girls interested in golf. Pros participated in “The Future of Women’s Golf Tournament” held earlier this week and they invite local high school players to the course in the cities where they play for clinics.