Women's Golf Has Heart: The Charitable Side of the Golfing Community
Go ahead and call me an eternal optimist - but as someone who chooses to focus on the positive in even borderline-negative situations, my glass is always unashamedly, half-full. For every on-point headline in the news during the 2017 LPGA tour, it seemed there were another five in line behind it to further distract the narrative of one of the finest women’s professional sporting events of all time.
I say “the finest” not simply because of our passion for the sport itself, but for the heart that it continuously pulses at its cores. Through the LPGA Foundation itself, to other non-profit organizations, such as Golf Fore Africa, there is no shortage of charitable work taking place in the world of women’s professional golf.
Taking a Break to Give Back
Before delving into the storied history of the sport and its heart for giving back, let’s explore one of the more recent events that took place in support of Golf Fore Africa.
The nonprofit was launched back in 2007 by Betsy King in order to raise funds to bring clean water to communities in Africa. The mission was a simple one, and King, the driving force behind its execution, has been the face of the organization for nearly a decade. In 2010, King explained her sudden call to humanitarian work in a USA Today interview stating, “There is a real need over there, and I have to help. You cannot leave Africa without feeling a huge need to do something. I loved competing
on the golf course. Now my life’s work is to help others.” It’s been over ten years since that interview took place, and King has been committed to her resolution to help others, ever since.
On July 18, King hosted a golf outing at New Jersey’s Plainfield Country Club in support of Golf Fore Africa. Drawing in an impressive group of LPGA players who took a break from the professional side of the sport, the Golf Fore Africa outing most notably featured the upcoming World Golf Hall of Famer, Lorena Ochoa.
Since her retirement from the sport at age 28, Ochoa makes only rare public appearances on the course. When she announced her early departure from the professional side of women’s golf over ten years ago, Ochoa was at the top of the LPGA roster, and regarded as one of the most dominant female athletes in the world.
It’s no wonder Ochoa made time to support King’s worthy cause, given her own lifelong humanitarian efforts. The Golf Fore Africa outing earlier this month was a chance for professional women golfers to come together in the spirit of spreading joy, health, and ultimately kindness, onto others.
Aside from working with outside non-profits that inspire her, Ochoa also
has an educational foundation aimed at giving back to her home country of Mexico. The Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation provides children and adults with opportunities for family-based fitness, health, education, and inclusion programs through golf activities.
Ochoa and King aren’t the only two LPGA professionals who have a knack for giving back. Other LPGA players in attendance at the Golf Fore Africa event included Kendall Dye, Kristy McPherson, Christina Kim, Kris Tamulis, and Rosie Jones.
The LPGA Foundation
King and Ochoa are just two examples of the many women in the professional world of golf who either run their own charitable foundation, or give to already existing organizations. The LPGA Foundation is one of the larger organizations that members of the LPGA regularly participate in and support.
On a mission to empower women and young people through golf, the LPGA Foundation offers programs and initiatives that are designed to help accomplish their ultimate goal. Established in 1991, the foundation has offered services and programs to more than 300,000 individuals including scholarships, financial assistance, and a junior golf programs. Funded entirely by corporate and private donations, contributions from the LPGA, and foundation grants, the LPGA Foundation has been one of the foremost charitable organizations with an overall score of 85% by the nonprofit watchdog, Charity Navigator.
One of the most recent endeavors of the LPGA Foundation was also highlighted this month, when the organization announced a partnership with Acer, a Taiwan-based electronics company. Blending golf and technology at the third LPGA Leadership Academy, July 24-25, a five-panelist discussion lead by Acer, themed “Pivotal Moments” encouraged audience members to consider choices that can have an impact on shaping both lives and careers. In attendance at the LPGA Leadership Academy in California earlier this month, was a group of 40 girls between the ages of 13-18.
Women’s Golf Doesn’t Skip a Beat
A simple Google search returns over three million results for “women’s golf charity,” which serves as only a small glimpse into the massive heart that this sport truly has. The impact that these nonprofit organizations have on the people they reach extends far beyond any Google search query. Supported by LPGA players, their families, and countless individuals who feel connected to these causes - it is clear that women’s golf has heart.
As the sport continues to evolve and expand, distracting headlines will continue to flash across televisions, computer screens, and mobile devices. For every news article lamenting the updated LPGA dress code, or protesting a controversial attendee at a tournament, there is a community of professional women athletes who are determined to inspire the next generation by leaving the world, and the sport, better than they found it.
Rather than allow the negative to distract you from the sport you love, why not focus on the positive side of women’s golf? When you take a moment to explore the landscape beyond those trending headlines, what you find won’t just surprise, but inspire you.
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