Reaching the Summit – Colorado Golf Association

Participants experience first in-person CGA Women’s Golf Summit since 2020; site for occasion was Denver Botanic Gardens, which has fashioned a promising partnership with the CGA

By Gary Baines – 3/4/2023

The last time the CGA Women’s Golf Summit was held in person, all hell was about to interrupt loose — pardon the language.

It was March 7, 2020 and about 215 individuals confirmed up at CU South Denver. Four days later, the World Health Organization pronounced Covid-19 a pandemic. Two days after that, the president of the U.S. declared a national emergency.

The following two years, the annual Women’s Golf Summit was limited to a digital affair because of Covid-19 security issues. But on Saturday, the event returned in particular person for the primary time in three years, largely again to the total vigor of its pre-Covid days.

“I’m so excited to be back in-person,” mentioned Erin Gangloff, the CGA’s chief advertising officer and a key organizer of the Women’s Summit.

About 215 folks participated within the occasion at the Denver Botanic Gardens — 145 in-person and others just about.

Sara Montgomery, a vice president on the CGA board of administrators who’s in line to turn into president in 2025 barring the unforeseen, sees plenty of value within the Women’s Summit — particularly in particular person.

“The sport of women’s golf, it can be intimidating relying on the place you are as a golfer,” mentioned Montgomery, a former University of Denver player. “There’s this notion if I’m probably not good at this or I don’t know tips on how to do it, perhaps I shouldn’t. And we would like the alternative. We want the game of golf to be, ‘If you need to learn, come along. This is a welcoming group. There’s no must be intimidated. We’ll teach you how to mark your ball or not step in somebody’s line — whatever those things might be.’ 

“From that perspective, there would possibly (be the possibility of) finding someone right here who’s a good companion. ‘You know I’m slightly intimidated. Can you are taking me out on the course? You appear to know lots about that. Can you help me with that?’ Because what we find sometimes is there’s a niche between the will to play and feeling comfortable on the golf course. We don’t need that. It shouldn’t be that means. It should be welcoming. At no matter stage you are, let’s are out there in and see how one can be part of (the game), versus ‘If you don’t know the way to do this, we don’t really want you.’”

CGA staffers Kate Moore (left) and Ashley Harrell conduct a Rules of Golf session on Saturday.

Montgomery makes use of a private expertise as an example. 

“I play in my own little women’s golf league — the 9-hole Sunrise League at Wellshire,” she noted. “There’s women of all ages and all ranges and talent sets, and we’ve gotten to the purpose with our league that’s we’ve got a very welcoming M.O. There might be anyone who’s like, ‘I’ve never performed in a league.’ Well that’s OK. Let’s ensure you know what to take action you are feeling comfortable enjoying out right here. As opposed to, ‘That’s not for me. I wouldn’t be good at that.’ You are literally going to enhance by being out right here with all these women. Maybe they’ll train you some things — the rules or etiquette. That’s really what we’re going for.

“So getting women together on this setting helps transfer that precedence along.”

In addition to being a possibility to socialize and talk about greatest practices amongst women’s clubs from throughout the state, the Summit included periods concerning the Rules of Golf, event management, health and fitness, and ways to heat as much as enhance the percentages of success. Then issues wrapped up with a keynote Q&A with CGA government director Ed Mate featuring Happy Haynes, the executive director of Denver Parks and Rec, and Denver Golf director of golf store operations Susie Helmerich. 

“Nothing can replace in-person,” Mate stated regarding the Summit. “I’m glad folks were on-line, nevertheless it just feels actually good (to do it this way).”

Participants follow some warm-up workouts designed to assist the golf recreation.

Gary Albrecht, the CGA’s new president of the board, famous in addressing these attending the Women’s Summit that 2023 marks the five-year anniversary because the CGA and the Colorado Women’s Golf Association became a single group to extra efficiently serve the golfers of the state.

Since that joining of forces, the CWGA’s Annual Meeting has advanced into the CGA Women’s Golf Summit.

“I suppose it’s been a really successful collaboration and integration,” Albrecht stated. “… And we want to continue to grow on that success.”

Albrecht pointed out that of the members of the volunteer CGA board of administrators, almost half — 14 — are females. A related ratio exists on the Executive Committee. 

“We work very onerous to be as diverse and inclusive as we will,” he said.

In one other notable milestone that Albrecht talked about, the 14 Colorado caddies selected for the full-tuition and housing Evans Scholarship this 12 months included a document 11 females. The CGA, which has long partnered with the Illinois-based Western Golf Association in supporting the Evans Scholarship in Colorado, considers the scholarship certainly one of its flagship packages.

Montgomery, who joined the CGA board three years in the past, compares serving in a leadership role with the affiliation to the years she spent as a DU golfer (2000-04).

“It was nice to be part of something that was going someplace,” she stated of DU. “It was an thrilling time to be there. I really feel the identical method in regards to the CGA. And it’s such an exciting time for the game of golf. There’s so many opportunities. I feel like lots of things we’re lacking in society right now — honor, integrity, taking ownership, doing the right factor when no one is trying — these are all really important things, and all of those things are part of the game of golf. That’s only a lovely thing. So if you can give that present to someone at any age, hopefully it trickles out into other areas of their life.”

In fact, Montgomery’s support of the Women’s Summit trickled down to her 8-year-old daughter. 

“She was like, ‘Can I go to the Women’s Golf Summit,’” Sara famous. “(I said), ‘Not yet. When you get somewhat bit older.’” 

Dr. Neil Wolkodoff summarizes a study he oversaw concerning the health and wellness advantages of enjoying golf — and how alternative ways of navigating the game — by way of strolling, riding in a cart, and so forth. — may affect scoring.

CGA Partnership With Denver Botanic Gardens at CommonGround: A informal observer may marvel why Saturday’s CGA Women’s Golf Summit was held on the Denver Botanic Gardens as an alternative of a facility extra immediately related to golf. As it seems, the Botanic Gardens is turning into linked in a way to golf, because of a new partnership with the CGA that is taking half in out at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, which is owned and operated by the affiliation.

In a partnership settlement which took shape starting in 2021, the Botanic Gardens has done a floristic survey concerning the kinds and distribution of vegetation in the non-playing areas of CommonGround — between holes and on the periphery. DBG staffers and volunteers discovered 160 totally different plant species in those areas — some desirable and a few undesirable. And since then, they’ved labored with the superintendent and his staff at CommonGround to seed certain spots with a mixture that may produce desirable native grass and other species. 

“We assume it will be an excellent model for the nation partnering with an organization that connects people to crops and is at the forefront of water conservation and better grasses,” said previous CGA president and Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Kent Moore, who’s among the many CGA leaders playing key roles within the project. 

“We’re very, very excited about it. And I assume (the Botanic Gardens) is very excited about it.”

The risk of such a partnership came from former CGA president Joe McCleary, who now serves as chief enterprise officer for the association. McCleary, a former superintendent at Saddle Rock Golf Course and once a president of the Rocky Mountain Golf Course Superintendents Association, is a longtime good friend of Denver Botanic Gardens staffer Mike Kintgen, and the two gathered plant info at Saddle Rock for many years after a natural world research had been been carried out on the web site prior to development of the course. The two have accomplished related info gathering at Ballyneal in northeast Colorado. And when McCleary joined the leadership of the CGA, he invited Kintgen out for a visit to CommonGround, and ultimately the ideas blossomed to the point that other key players from the CGA and the Botanic Gardens became concerned.

“I found it to be rewarding (to do such exploratory work) as a end result of it changed people’s notion of the golf course,” McCleary mentioned on Saturday. “It had a lot of fascinating plant materials. 

“There’s just a possibility to have a look at these properties another way.”

Matthew Wilkinson experiencing all CommonGround has to offer during a tournament final summer season.

The work being carried out by and with the Denver Botanic Gardens at CommonGround may very properly evolve as time goes on. The potentialities may include various methods to protect open area on the 330-acre property — as opposed to having a portion of the positioning developed — creating some gardens across the course, and doing extra partnership work at other courses that may be interested. The project might also conceivably provide academic alternatives for groups down the street.  

“We began with the foundational work,” McCleary stated. “We’re starting to determine different tasks that can be done on the golf course. Really it’s an evolving relationship. We’re beginning small and we’ll have some other projects sooner or later. 

“(The partnership) is simply an excellent opportunity. I’m not conscious of any other botanic backyard within the country that has a relationship with a golf association and a golf course.”

McCleary sees the partnership and the work that may be done as significantly essential given the large swath of open space that’s involved on the positioning of the previous Lowry Air Force Base.

“The goal is to enhance the habitat for pollinators — whether or not that be bugs, birds, small mammals, whatever, in those non-playing areas at CommonGround, simply to go ahead and improve it,” he said. “And the exciting thing at CommonGround is that whenever you look at the whole thing including the wetlands space to the west of hole 5, it’s over 330 acres. From what I have checked out on Google Earth, that’s the most important contiguous open house space within the Denver metro between I-25, I-225 and I-70. That’s vital.

“It’s located proper in the middle of the town, in order that makes it an important corridor for wildlife. We suppose it’s an enormous educational alternative to boost the setting and in addition to engage the group at CommonGround in partnership with the Botanic Gardens.

“I would describe it as an excellent relationship that’s evolving. It’s just a nice alternative.”

Indeed, Mate hopes for even larger issues out of the partnership, however whatever occurs, he believes it’s a symbiotic relationship with the DBG.

“Even if we don’t do anything bigger than what we’re doing proper now with the Botanic Gardens, simply understanding that we’ve so much in common (is very worthwhile),” he stated. “When I began with the CGA 20-some years in the past, if you’d said we’re doing a partnership with the Botanic Gardens, I’d have stated, ‘Why?’ And now it’s just so timely and thrilling.”

McCleary likes the greatest way the partnership with the DBG meshes with different group work long accomplished at CommonGround, the place such endeavors are a high precedence of the CGA.

“The environmental stuff is important, however we’re (also) doing all the neighborhood programming, Golf in Schools and the (Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy) program,” he mentioned. “The finest means I can sum it up is we’ve received a sphere. We’ve received all these community programs and now we’ve got this foundational sort of relationship that’s creating with the Gardens as it relates to the surroundings. We suppose there’s a brilliant future for what’s going to happen as this relationship evolves.”

Happy Haynes (left) and Susie Helmerich from the City of Denver share a laugh during Saturday’s Q&A.

Notable: Haynes, who wrapped up the Women’s Summit festivities in a Q&A with Mate and Helmerich, coincidentally celebrated her 70th birthday on Saturday.

Though she has lengthy loved golf — and now has a job by which the game performs a major part — Haynes recalled on Saturday that she wasn’t an enormous fan of the sport early in her life.

“A Confession: I grew up near City Park and walked to school every single day across the golf course,” she stated. “My first introduction to golf was stealing golf balls after (players) hit them, then operating madly to get away from the offended golfers.

“… Another confession: I thought it was a stupid game” as a younger person. 

But later, after experiencing the never-ending problem of golf, “I became hooked,” Haynes added.

Now, she’s a fan in a couple of respect.

She acknowledges “golf courses as a natural resource. We count on them in our department for the environmental advantages they convey to our city. That’s one thing I hadn’t anticipated. I used to tell folks after I drive back and forth from work every day, I’d come residence in the midst of the summer time and it will be hotter than blazes downtown within the concrete jungle, and as soon as I hit City Park, the temperature on my automotive went down 5-6 degrees. What that advised us was the facility in battling climate change, cooling our city, the air quality that courses offer. Now with the renewed interest in bringing pure environments, golf programs are serving to people really connect with nature.” …

Among the subjects introduced on Saturday, Dr. Neil Wolkodoff mentioned the outcomes of a CGA-sponsored examine, conducted last yr, that examined the health and wellness benefits of playing golf — and the way alternative ways of navigating the sport — through walking, using in a cart, and so on. — might have an result on scoring. As Wolkodoff famous on Saturday, “Golf in a good stroll enhanced.” To read in additional detail in regards to the research, CLICK HERE. …

The CGA will conduct numerous Women’s Practice Clinics and Women’s Playing Clinics in 2023. For the schedule, CLICK HERE. …

Ashley Harrell, the CGA’s chief working officer, noted that with two USGA championships being contested in Colorado this summer time — the U.S. Girls’ Junior in July at Eisenhower and the us Amateur in August at Cherry Hills, there’s considerable want for volunteers at each occasions. For extra information, CLICK HERE. …

The CGA’s Season Kickoff Silent Auction — which benefits such packages because the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy, Youth on Course, Golf in Schools and more — continues through March 15. As of Saturday, it had raised more than $42,000. For more information or to bid, CLICK HERE.

About the Author: Gary Baines owns and operates

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