The idea of an executive women’s golf association was sparked while Sherry Stevens of Madison was driving a beverage cart in a golf tournament in Dallas.
“Years ago, I worked for a bank in Dallas with a territory including Mississippi,” said Stevens, who is sales coordinator for Trustmark Insurance Agency in Jackson. “I was helping host a golf tournament for one of our executive clients and was driving the beverage cart, as most women do, and I thought to myself, ‘Why can’t we do something for women in Mississippi who are interested in golf?’”
Later that evening, she talked to one of the women golfers in the tournament, who was from Louisiana, where there was a state chapter of the National Executive Women’s Golf Association.
“Six weeks later, she sent me an article about the golf association along with a note saying this would be a great place to start,” Stevens said. “I set it aside because I was quite busy. But in 1998, I set a goal of establishing an organization in the Jackson area.”
Stevens began querying friends and business associates — some that played golf, others who didn’t — about the idea. Given the go-ahead, a group of nine women got things rolling last July.
“We had two small events last year, and had a formal charter incorporation on Oct. 1,” she said. “Today, through word-of-mouth advertising only, we have 33 members. Our goal is to have 100 members by the end of 1999.”
On April 22, the group will meet at Banner Hall on I-55 in Jackson for an official membership drive kickoff. From 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., there will be appetizers, a cash bar, an informal golf modeling show from Nevada Bob’s, product line associates from golfing equipment companies and LPGA representatives.
“We are the first chapter in the state of Mississippi so we may be able to inspire other areas, such as the Gulf Coast, Tupelo and north Mississippi to form chapters,” Stevens said.
GROUP`S GOALS APPEAL TO MANY
Promoting golf as a sport, teaching women to play golf, providing opportunities to compete in tournaments and networking with others who share a common bond are some of the objectives of the association.
“We have women who don’t know which end of the club to play with to those who have won tournaments and every skill level in between,” Stevens said. “We have Realtors, lawyers, accountants, bankers, small business owners, mortgage brokers, non-profit employees, nurses, professionals from all across the spectrum. Some are semi-retired or retired. There’s no requirement that you be an executive of any sortbecause our primary goal is to enhance the game of golf for women and to make it something enjoyable.”
Association fees are $75, of which $25 stays with the local chapter. Whisper Lake Country Club in Madison is the association’s host club, allowing members to play at a reduced rate without a membership, usually during non-peak times, Stevens said.
A golf trip to the LPGA event at Old Waverly in West Point is scheduled on a Friday and Saturday during the tournament. Buses will be chartered for day trips each day and will depart from Northpark Mall in Ridgeland. The tentative cost is $50 for the bus trip and ticket to the event, she said.
“We’ll have some outings where more experienced players will play 18 holes because they can obviously move faster, and ones who choose to can play only nine,” she said.
A rules clinic was held in February, and a trip to the driving range is scheduled April 10. “Then we’re all going to the Cherokee for burgers and beer for lunch,” she said, with a laugh.
Scrambles with experienced golfers paired with non-experienced players are scheduled. The association meets at Jackson’s Steam Room Grill for Dutch treat lunch at 11:30 a.m. the first Friday of every month. Because there’s no RSVP for working women, there’s usually a different group that assembles, she said.
One reason Stevens got involved in golfing is because her son, Tyler Stevens, 13, he had an interest in the game and it was something the two could do together. Before Stevens became involved in the association, she was intimidated by the game of golf, she said.
“I’m not very athletic by nature,” she said. “Most golfers are men who don’t want to play with women very often because women tend to play slower and our skill levels aren’t built up. The women’s golf organization has raised my confidence level of knowing little details about the game, like not wearing cleats in the clubhouse or using a ballmarker on the putting green.”
The Executive Women’s Golf Association is not a male-bashing organization, she said. “Men can join us if they’d like.”
For more information, leave a message on the association’s voice mailbox at (601) 898-1103.