Applying Golf to Life

Golf, testing our limits, challenging us, exposing us to nature, and letting us spend time with friends and family. Best of all, a sport that can be played at all ages. While all of these things are great, there’s another, special bonus that comes with golf, life lessons.

Practice Makes Perfect

When it comes to golf there is no such thing as overnight success. A golfer gets better through good, old-fashioned practice and hours at the range and on the green. With dedication, hard work really pays off. It’s the same in life—put in the effort toward excellence, and one day you’ll reap the rewards.

There are Good Shots and Bad Shots

It doesn’t pay to get too upset over bad shots, because they are simply a fact of life. On the flip side, you’ll have good shots too. It’s called the Law of Averages or, more simply, being human. We make mistakes, learn, and try to improve on them. In life, too, there will be ups and downs. The trick to dealing with the downs is to not take them too seriously and realize that good times are always ahead.

It’s Always Better to be a Good Sport

Remember, adversity reveals true character. Don’t throw clubs, swear, or have a bad attitude if you’re having a bad day. Instead, take a deep breath, shake it off, and try to improve on your next shot. If you’re having a bad round, keep your chin up. Even if you’re in a huge golf slump, congratulate others on their successes. Take this into life as well. It might seem weird at first, but you’ll see soon enough that a great attitude, even when times are rough, makes you the kind of person that people respect and admire.

Sometimes You’ve Got to Play Through the Rain

Every day on the course can’t be a sunny 75. Sometimes, a beautiful round can turn cold, rainy, and just plain miserable in a heartbeat. Yet, we keep going and finish the round. It may be harder, and we may need to pull out our rain gear, concentrate more on shots, and just do what it takes to finish, but, you guessed it, life is like this too. Our days aren’t all sunshine and smiles—storms come up in our lives to challenge us. When this happens, we need to pull out our “rain gear” and muddle through, knowing that the rain will pass and things will get better.

Etiquette is Essential

Golf is based on a system of etiquette, which boils down to respecting other players, the game, and the course. The honor system is a great guide that dictates how golfers should play. For example, low player tees off first, players are quiet when others are hitting, and you don’t walk in front of someone’s ball on the green. While there are a lot of rules to remember, they are helpful because they keep the game moving and force players to respect each other. No questions. Similarly, work, school, and society give us rules that need to be followed. When rules are followed, everyone is happier—people are treated fairly, systems run more smoothly, and we’re given an idea of what is expected of us. Bottom line, it all comes down to respect—respect for others, your surroundings, and, most importantly, yourself. If you do this on the golf course and in life, you know you’re on the right track.

In golf and in life, remember that each day is a new day and a chance to do and be your best. If yesterday’s round wasn’t great, forget about it and know that tomorrow is your time to start fresh! That’s the beauty of life and golf—we always get another shot.

California’s Team for the 2015 USGA State Team Championship


By: Nicole Schroeder

With another USGA championship right around the corner, teams are being set for the 2015 USGA State Team Championship. This year’s competition will be played in Cape Girardeau, Mo. at Dalhousie Golf Club, which is scheduled to take place on September 10-12, 2015.

The USGA Men’s and Women’s State Team Championships grew out of the celebration of the USGA’s centennial in 1995 and have since been held biennially. Starting in 2010, the Men’s State Team has been conducted in even–numbered years and the Women’s State Team in odd-numbered years.

The championships are open to players from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. State associations may use any criteria of their choosing in selecting their teams, which comprise three amateur, non-college golfers.

California’s team is set to comprise of Lynne Cowan, Sara Banke, and Caryn Wilson. A point system is used to determine representatives for the California USGA Women’s State Team. Points are earned over a two-year period by participating in the CWC. All points are deleted after the team has been announced and all players begin a new two-year cycle with zero points. To be eligible for the State Team a player must be a female amateur golfer who is a resident of the State of California. College players are restricted by NCAA rules from participating.

The team consists of three players; alternates are also appointed. Players are selected by point totals and eligibility. Ineligible players are removed from the finishing list before points are awarded. All ties are broken by a card match as recommended by the USGA before points are awarded. If ties occur, combine the points designated for the places tied, then divide equally and distribute.

Lynne Cowan will be the most experienced of the three. Lynne began playing golf at age 12 as a family sport. Cowan played on the boys’ team at Pinole Valley High School before playing for Contra Consta Community College. After graduating from San Jose State University in 1985, she has played in over 20 USGA Championships where her best finish came in 2008 as a semi-finalist in the Women’s Mid-Amateur. Also, in the USGA State Team Championship Cowan has competed for California in 2001, 2011, and 2013 and in 1995 she served as an alternate.

Regarding this year’s championship Lynne had this to say, “I love being able to represent my state in a team setting because that’s something you don’t usually do in an individual sport like golf. I’ve heard great things about this golf course and I can’t wait to see it for myself! Also, I think we’ll have a great opportunity to be a good contender this year with a very solid team.”

Another team member, Sara Banke, winner of the 2014 California Women’s Championship, is the youngest member of this year’s team. Danville native, Banke played both softball and golf at Monte Vista High before going on to compete for University of California Irvine. Banke’s most recent win came at the San Francisco City Amateur Championship. Banke’s next step is to try to qualify for the LPGA tour! She said, “I have been working hard since I graduated in 2014 to try and qualify for the LPGA Tour. With Q School right around the corner, I have been practicing day in and day out in addition to continuing to compete in top amateur golf tournaments. My greatest motivator is being able to golf for a living! I think being able to actually provide a living for myself by doing something I love has always been all the motivation I need.”

Sara is very excited about the upcoming championship and had this to say about it, “For me it is so exciting to have just been chosen to play in a USGA Championship! It will be fun too to go back and play in a “team golf” format like I did in college. From what I have heard from other players who have played in this championship, it is a really special event. It’s truly an honor to represent the state of California! I think it is neat being the youngest player! I have always felt as though I have taken a “journeyman” approach to the game which is why I have given myself some time to thoroughly prepare before taking the next step into playing professional golf. Being that I did not turn pro right away like many of my peers, I have garnered this opportunity and am thrilled to play with extremely talented veterans to this championship! It will definitely be a learning experience.

The final member of the California Team, Caryn Wilson, has experience competing at a high level, but this particular championship is something new for her! Wilson has competed in 3 U.S. Opens…but she didn’t play golf in all of them. There are only two women in sports history who have competed in U.S. Opens in both Tennis and Golf, and Caryn Wilson is the second female to ever do that, after Althea Gibson. Tennis was her first sport, playing at Stanford on a tennis scholarship and playing professionally. She only picked up golf at the age of 30, a natural born athlete she is. Wilson turned professional in 1999, competed on various mini-tours, and was a member of the LPGA tour in 2000 and 2005. She said, “In 2010 I decided to retire from competitive golf, and did not play at all for three years until my husband encouraged me to apply for amateur reinstatement so I could play for fun.”

Regarding this championship Wilson said, “I have to admit that I did not know anything about the USGA State event until it was announced at the completion of the California Women’s Championship at Ojai this month!…I am very excited and honored to be named to our team.  Being part of a team event in an individual sport will be a lot of fun!”

A few tips to help speed up your game!


Start Smart.
Confirm your tee time in ahead of time and make it a goal to arrive at the tee early with your golf equipment in order, ready to play. Remember essentials like extra balls, tees, gloves and appropriate clothing for the day’s weather conditions.

Try alternate forms of play to speed up your round.
Match play, Stableford, best-ball and other formats are easy and fun alternatives to individual stroke play because not every player has to hole out on every hole. There are multiple resources online and in print to learn about the many different golf formats. Try one out! You’ll be surprised how fun it could be!

Minimize your time on the tee.
On the tee it is usually acceptable for players to “hit when ready.” You can also save time by playing a provisional ball (Rule 27-2) if you think your original ball might be lost or out of bounds.

Plan your shot before you get to your ball.
Once you’re off the tee, think ahead. Determine your yardage and make your club selection before it is your turn to play. Very often, you can do this while others are playing, without disruption. If you take your glove off between shots, have it back on before it is your turn to play. Even a small step like this saves time.

Keep your pre-shot routine short.
Pick your line of play once and trust yourself. Try to take no more than one practice swing, then set up to the ball and play your shot. Most importantly, be ready to hit when it is your turn. Be efficient after your shot too. Start moving toward your next shot promptly.

Aim to play in 20 seconds.
From club selection to pre-shot routine to execution, strive to hit your shot in 20 seconds when it’s your turn to play. Help keep play moving at a brisk pace.

Develop an eye for distance.
You don’t have to step off yardage for every shot. If you need to determine precise distance, try to find a yardage marker before you reach your ball, then step off the yardage on the way to your ball. Or, consider investing in an electronic range-finder or global positioning system for golf and use it when permitted by Local Rule. If others you’re playing with are not familiar with the course, the Rules permit players to exchange yardage information without penalty.

When sharing a cart, use a buddy system.
Don’t wait in the cart while your cartmate hits and then drive to your ball. Get out and walk to your ball with a few clubs. Be ready to play when it is your turn and then let your cartmate pick you up. Or, drive to your ball after you drop your cartmate off and then pick him or her up after you hit.

Be helpful to others in your group.
Follow the flight of all tee shots, not just your own. Once in the fairway, help others look for their ball if you already know the location of yours. Volunteer to fill in a divot or rake a bunker for another player if needed. Be ready to attend the flagstick for others.

Keep up with the group in front of you.
Your correct position on the course is immediately behind the group in front of you, not immediately in front of the group behind you. Arrive at your next shot just before the group in front leaves the area in front of you. If you are consistently not able to keep up and a gap opens in front of you, invite the group behind you to play through, irrespective of the number of players in the group.

Be efficient on the putting green.
Mark your ball and lift and clean it when you arrive at the putting green so you will be ready to replace it when it is your turn to play. You can usually line up your putt while others are putting, without disturbing them. Leave your clubs on the side of the putting green closest to the next tee, and leave the green promptly after holing out. Wait until the next tee to record your score.

Remember that picking up your ball is permitted by the USGA Handicap System.
If not in an individual stroke play competition, it is generally OK to pick up your ball and move on to the next hole if you are “out” of a hole and want to maintain pace of play. This applies in match play and many forms of stroke play, including Stableford and best-ball play.

Don’t Have Time? Play Nine!
You won’t always have time in your schedule for an 18-hole round of golf. But you can still enjoy the game by playing nine. It’s fully compatible with both the Rules of Golf and the USGA Handicap System. And when it comes to golf, nine is better than none.

The 33rd annual WGAC North-South State Team Championship


Congratulations to the North Team for winning the 2015 Women’s Golf Association of California North-South State Team Championship! For the first time in the event’s history, the matches were tied at the end of play. The North won the sudden-death playoff on the first playoff hole. This year’s annual rivalry was hosted by the Women’s Southern California Golf Association as well as the Women’s Golf Association of Northern California and took place at the Santa Maria Country Club on Sunday July 19th.

Representing the South were:
Joan Higgins, Glendora
Cathy Lonegan, Las Posas
Linda Pearson, Oakmont
Colette Rosenberg, Riviera
Angela Collins, Oakmont
Leslie Wilk, Las Posas
Carol Sarkissian (Western Hills) was the Team Captain.


  • A Rules official, marker and observer are assigned to each match
  • The matches feature three teams each with two players from the South and two from the North
  • The first two teams are arranged in index order based on the latest update
  • The third team consists of senior players who can be of any index
  • Four-Ball Match Play on holes 1-6
  • Modified Scotch on holes 7-12
  • Two-Person Scramble on holes 13-18

Each association selects their players based on their own criteria. WSCGA selected their players based on points earned from tournament events throughout the season.

Players are awarded points for placement in the following events:

  • Desert Event
  • Senior Championship
  • Net Championship
  • 36-Hole Tournament
  • Tournament of Champions

Points are also awarded for playing in any WSCGA tournament throughout the year.

The bottom line: The more tournaments you play in, the more points you receive.

Zach Johnson has the victory in Open play-off


American, Zach Johnson finished a shot ahead of South African Louis Oosthuizen and three ahead of Australian Marc Leishman over four extra holes, claiming his second major title with victory in a three-man play-off on a thrilling final day in the 144th Open Championship..

Earlier, the three ended on 15 under to lead a competitive field at St Andrews.

Jordan Spieth’s hopes of a Grand Slam were ended as he finished on 14 under along with Australia’s Jason Day.

Johnson’s margin of victory over Oosthuizen was just by one. Leishman wilted in the intensity of direct combat, faring three shots worse than the victor. In showing his class, Spieth stood at the 18th green to watch the final exchanges. Johnson shed tears of joy.


US Women’s Open 2015: Saturday Highlights

Day 3 of the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club is in the books, and just like Friday’s round, it concluded with South Korean Amy Yang atop the leaderboard.

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So far with 11 players have accrued totals under par.

The overview of Saturday’s course layout, which has been the hardest so far:

On Saturday, just one player shot better than 67, and a meager 14 in the field tallied rounds under par.

A birdie on No. 14 moved Lewis to within two shots of Yang at the time, but a late bogey on No. 17 dropped her back to five under overall.

Lee Lopez, who sits at three over following 54 holes, showed off her stuff at par-three 13th scoring an ace:

According to the Fox broadcast, Lopez’s hole-in-one was the 22nd in women’s U.S. Open history

EWGA And The First Tee Renew Partnership To Increase Female Mentoring Opportunities

(Palm Beach Gardens, FL, (July 1, 2015) The EWGA (Executive Women’s Golf Association) connects women to learn, play and enjoy the game for business or for fun. Following a successful partnership with The First Tee in 2014, the two national organizations are coming together again during July for “Mentoring Month.”

With more than 120 EWGA Chapters and approximately 175 The First Tee chapters, “Mentoring Month” is a great way to increase female participation through a welcoming, non-intimidating environment. EWGA Chapters nationwide are working with The First Tee chapters to increase female role models and mentors at The First Tee Chapter events.

“The EWGA is all about bringing women together on the course and welcoming more individuals into the EWGA community through the game of golf,” says CEO Pam Swensen. “By providing these young adults with a role model and mentor, it really creates a sense of empowerment to enhance their lives in every aspect.”

Last year, 34 of The First Tee chapters partnered with their local EWGA chapter to conduct special events for female participants. One event in particular included an opportunity for EWGA members to learn about The First Tee Nine Core Values from female participants. The nine-hole scramble included an educational piece where a female participant reviewed one of the Nine Core Values with the EWGA member at the teeing ground of each hole.

Many EWGA Chapters and The First Tee chapters are partnering to host events throughout the year to support mentoring activities. View the listing of various EWGA and The First Tee events that took place in 2014.

Known for enriching the lives of women through the game of golf, EWGA invites women into the game of golf and provides a great opportunity for women of all skill levels to enjoy the game. It creates more opportunities for women and supports programs that enhance the success and growth of women in business and other aspects of their lives. The EWGA uses golf as a platform to open doors, strengthen relationships, forge lifetime friendships and promote business and networking opportunities in their community.

“I am proud of The First Tee chapters’ efforts to involve girls in the game and while currently 38 percent of chapter participants are female, we intend to increase the number of girls we are reaching in the coming years,” said Kelly Martin, The First Tee’s chief operating officer. “Through this partnership we will connect the efforts of our chapters to EWGA Chapters for the benefit of girls involved in the game of golf.”

For more information about EWGA, visit For more information about The First Tee, visit

About the EWGA
As the largest women-focused amateur golf association in the United States with chapters in nearly every U.S. major market and corporate center, the EWGA has connected more than 100,000 working and professional women who share a passion for cultivating relationships and enjoying the game of golf. Offering a wide range of affordable organized golf activities and educational programs, this award-winning association has been driving social and networking opportunities for women through the game of golf since 1991. With EWGA Chapters located in more than 108 cities throughout the United States as well as in international locations including Bermuda, Canada, Italy and South Africa, EWGA members are active participants in hundreds of communities. EWGA is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 6 membership association. For more information about EWGA visit,

About The First Tee
The First Tee ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf. With its home office at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., The First Tee reaches young people on golf courses, in elementary schools and at other youth-serving locations.

Since its inception in 1997, The First Tee has introduced the game of golf and its values to more than 10.5 million young people in all 50 United States and select international locations. The First Tee’s Founding Partners are LPGA, the Masters Tournament, PGA of America, PGA TOUR and the USGA. Shell Oil Company is The First Tee’s Founding Corporate Partner and Johnson & Johnson is its Legacy Partner. Former President George W. Bush serves as honorary chair.



5 facts about golf’s resource consumption

Landscape_golf1. Superintendents at 18-hole golf facilities utilize numerous methods to conserve water, with the top three tactics being the use of wetting agents (92 percent), hand watering (78 percent), and keeping turf drier than in the past.

2. Grass clippings are recycled by spreading them along the rough and around trees. Composting the clippings is also frequently used. Compost is an excellent growing medium that promotes fast germination and can reduce fertilizer use. Recycling grass clippings provides valuable nutrients that improve the soil.

light3. Seventy-one percent of 18-hole golf facilities have incorporated one or more design, physical or mechanical changes to conserve energy, such as programmable thermostats, low-level faucets, irrigation controller updates and T-8 lighting.

recycling-center-sign-s-76964. Golf facilities are highly active in recycling/reusing items in the golf course operations waste stream. For example, 92 percent of facilities that have oils in their waste stream recycle or reuse them. Other recycle/reuse rates include
equipment/golf car batteries (93 percent), hydraulic fluids (89 percent), fryer/cooking grease (89 percent), pallets (79 percent), tires (77 percent) and aluminum (76 percent).

homerecycling5. Surveys show that 29 percent of 18-hole facilities in the U.S. participate in voluntary environmental stewardship programs. In the Pacific Northwest, that number is 53 percent of facilities.

“It’s Okay” Rule, for a Fun Round of Golf!

Here are a few rules to keep in mind for those who are new to golf or are playing just for fun and will help make your experience that more awesome!

1.It’s okay to play from the shortest tees or start at the 150-yard marker.

2. It’s okay to not keep score.

3. It’s okay to tee the ball up anywhere when you are first learning.

4. It’s okay to give yourself a better lie by rolling the ball around a little.

5.It’s okay to throw the ball out of a bunker after one try.

6. It’s okay to get enthusiastic! (High fives, fist pumps and big smiles are encouraged)

7. It’s okay to forget about a ball that may be lost or out of bounds. It’s okay to drop a ball where you think it might be…or where you wanted it to be.

8. It’s okay to play a scramble with your group — scrambles are very popular.

9. It’s okay to just chip and putt on a hole when you feel like it.

10. It’s okay to laugh. There are no penalties for excessive laughing or high fives on the golf course.

11.It’s okay to count swings only when you make contact with the ball.

12. It’s okay to play less than 9 or 18 holes and call it a round of golf.

13. It’s okay to move your ball away from trees, rocks or very hilly lies.

14. It’s okay to hit the same club for the entire round, while using a putter on the putting green.

15. It’s okay to play golf in your sneakers. Be comfortable!

16.  It’s okay to skip a hole if you need to take a break.

17. It’s okay to talk on the golf course — enjoy a nice conversation or tell a few jokes.

18.It’s okay to pick up in the middle of the hole and enjoy the outdoors and scenery .

19.It’s okay to bring your kids to the course whether they are 5 or 35 .

20. It’s okay to PLAY GOLF JUST FOR FUN! Play the tees that make you the happiest.

Here is a quick rundown of the 2015 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship


Taking place at the Pinnacle Country Club this passed weekend was the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship which Na Yeon Choi of South Korea took the lead this year with 15-under, just a 2 shot difference from Mika Miyazato who was at 13-under for second place and Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis taking 3rd.

As Na Yeon Choi approached her second shot at the 16th hole in Sunday’s final round fans at the 17th hole never knew what was going on as she quickly took the lead from Lewis as she holed out for eagle on the 16th, then nearly aced the par-3 17th to post a come-from behind two-stroke victory.

Lewis (Arkansas Razorbacks) led by one shot when she stuck her tee shot 6 feet behind the hole at 17, moments before Choi, playing in the final group, launched an 8-iron on the par-4 16th that bounced once and into the hole for an eagle that catapulted her into the lead at 14 under.

Lewis, unaware of what happened behind her, missed her attempt at birdie, which would have kept her tied for the lead. Further, she didn’t know more bad news was on the way as she prepared to tee off on the 18th.

Choi stuck another 8-iron dagger, this one within a foot at the par-3 17th, setting up a tap-in birdie that would take her to her winning 15-under score..

“If someone asked me what’s your favorite club I always answer the 8-iron,” Choi said. “So I like that club and when I pull the 8-iron I always feel good.”

Choi went from a one-shot deficit into a two-shot lead in mere minutes, leaving Lewis needing a miracle 18th-hole eagle to forge a tie.

But Lewis, a two-time major champion who hasn’t won on the LPGA Tour since last year’s Northwest Arkansas Championship, laid up from 210 yards with her second shot on the par-5 finishing hole, missed the green with her third and ended up with a bogey to drop into a tie for third place at 12 under.

Lewis’ playing partner Mika Miyazato birdied two of her final three holes to finish second outright at 13 under.

Lewis finished tied with Azahara Munoz and Anna Nordqvist for third. World No. 2 Lydia Ko fired a final-round 63 to move from 40th into a tie for sixth.