How the City Women's Golf Association helps this group stay on the green

Posted at 11:31 AM, Jun 20, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. -- The second annual Women's Open of Virginia recently highlighted some of Virginia's greatest female golfers.

It is a segment of the sport's population that the City Women's Golf Association has watched grow.

The group, in existence for around seven decades, plays on about a dozen courses across the region.

"Oh, you get hooked! It's like a quest trying to find a good shot or a good score," Janet Ahl said. "You just keep trying to better yourself, have that moment of glory."

Most of the current members have only been playing for the last 25 years or so.

And for every different swing and handicap, there's a different reason as to why they picked up golf.

"I got into sales and I felt that I needed to have that as a skill for my job. It was very helpful!" Ahl said.

You hear male golfers use that tactic as well.

But ask these women about the biggest differences between their group and the men's groups and their answers might surprise you.

"Women do play by the rules. That's different from the men! We putt out everything. We play by the rules but we have a lot of fun when we do that," Diane Murdock-Thorp said.

"When we're in the cart together, we talk about things besides golf. When they're in carts together, they talk about golf, I think. They've never invited me into their pack yet," Marylou Boerner said.

But that hasn't always been the case.

When this group was founded, women weren't associated with the game. But some local golf pros got them started and hooked on playing.

"Before the event or after the event they would hold clinics for the women. They really wanted to encourage them. They helped them find clubs," Murdock-Thorp said. "Most of the women didn't really play golf. They hadn't had the opportunities to play golf. They were traditional stay-at-home moms raising their kids, or they were working. We were in that transition, so they didn't have the opportunities."

The CWGA now boasts roughly 150 members and helps to promote golf wherever they can.

They have sponsored a youth clinic for 27 years at the Windy Hill Sports Complex before COVID brought that to a halt.

They have seen opportunities and attitudes change for women playing the game.

"I saw a young man walking up to the green pushing and pulling a cart. I'm thinking what a gentleman he is, he's got his wife's cart," Murdock-Thorp said. "When he gets there, he has a baby stroller that he parked on the green. Sixty years ago, you probably would not have seen that."

"You get really close to many of them," Ahl said. "You support them through difficult times, through joyful times. It's just a camaraderie."

In addition to the camaraderie the CWGA provides, it also keeps its members moving and active. It also supported the Fleming Fund, which provides scholarships and golf camp opportunities to junior players.

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