The Women’s Golf Association at the Chautauqua Golf Club is celebrating its 65th anniversary this season, and expanding its horizons.
The Chautauqua WGA started its 2019 season with a two-person team, best-ball tournament on the Chautauqua Golf Club’s Lake Course. Twenty women came out to play, and the tournament ended with a tie between two teams at a 67-stroke stalemate.
This season there is a new option for those looking to play but who have less time. WGA is now offering nine-hole games in addition to 18-hole games, starting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesdays at the Chautauqua Golf Club.
Association member Judy Kullberg said golf is in a slight popularity decline because of how long people might spend during an 18-hole game.
“They don’t feel they have the time, which is one reason we went to a nine-hole option, so that people could come out and play in the league and not have to spend 4 1/2 hours,” Kullberg said. “They don’t have that time. If the morning lecture is something that they really wanted to go to, they can play nine holes and then go there.”
WGA is also beginning to expand efforts outside the Institution, offering a $40 WGA season membership, as well as discounted green fees and cart fees on Tuesdays for playing with other members of WGA.
In addition, the WGA has also started a program running on Thursdays and Saturdays, throughout the season called Par Pals that is open to the public in an effort to get golfers in the surrounding area involved.
Troy Moss, head golf professional at the Chautauqua Golf Club, said the club had previously been searching for ways to include more women in its tournaments and create a more inclusive environment.
In years past, women and men had separate tournaments on opposing courses on the golf club grounds, the Lake Course and the Hill Course. Now these groups have merged, leading to all-female teams in last Monday’s club tournament, the Score One for the Lake fundraiser.
All of these initiatives through the season show a growing spirit for the club, which had struggled with memberships in the past. These new initiatives from the WGA are meant to continue to push new golfers interested in different forms of the sport to come and try their hand.
WGA member Monica Gardner said these plans were to allow players with limited time and of all levels of experience the chance to take up golf. The implementation of nine-hole play and less restrictive time constraints for signing up were meant to be more inviting to potential members.
Following the opening tournament, WGA gathered for lunch and a meeting to discuss future plans related to fees, public entries to the course and other matters.