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UPLGA needs infusion of young blood

July 22, 2012
CRAIG?REMSBURG - Senior Sports Writer (cremsburg@miningjournal.net) , The Mining Journal

A decade or two ago, the Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association annual championship tournament used to draw a lot of competitors.

They'd come from all over the U.P. and spend up to five days looking to claim the tourney title.

Sadly, those long lists of competitors are seemingly long gone.

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CRAIG?REMSBURG

This week, just 68 women entered the UPLGA event held at the Indian Lake Golf and Country Club in Manistique.

That's the fifth straight year tourney numbers have been in the 60s or 70s since seeing 104 entrants in 2006.

The low turnout wasn't likely because Indian Lake was too far to go for tourney entrants. It's more centrally-located than, say, Houghton, Menominee or Sault Ste. Marie.

The economy might have had something to do with the struggle to entice entrants, though.

Those eight golfers who made the semifinals, if they're based far from the tourney site, either had to travel back-and-forth from Monday's qualifying round to Thursday's semifinals or find lodging/meals in the Manistique area for 4-5 days.

That's a big expense, if you include the high cost of gas. Maybe too much for some golfers.

I'd also be willing to bet there are more women are in the work force now than 20 years ago. Using vacation time to compete in a golf tournament might be a turn-off for the casual golfer.

Most of the UPLGA tourney entrants this week were in the 40-70 age group. Only Marquette Senior High School senior-to-be Avery Rochester and 2012 Calumet High School grad Zoe Woodworth represented the younger set.

They made a good showing, as Rochester won the championship and Woodworth made the quarterfinals. But the UPLGA event needed more younger players than just a couple.

Carley Saint-Onge claimed the U.P. title last year after just graduating from Marquette Senior High School, but was unable to compete this year due to other golf commitments.

She was also the only entrant younger than 37 in the 2011 UPLGA tourney.

Perhaps the tourney could be changed to a two-day medal event on a weekend instead of the current one day of medal play (Monday) and three of match play (Tuesday through Thursday).

Some local golf clubs feature the weekend tournaments now. Scores from the first day are divided into flights, then medal play winners are determined the second day.

It cuts down on expenses and each golfer still gets two rounds of competition.

It's also difficult for young women to make a commitment to the UPLGA tournament as they marry, raise children and handle job commitments. Golfing four or five straight days is difficult to pull off. The entrant lists the last few years show as much.

We may never again see the number of UPLGA tourney entrants as we did in the past unless some changes are made.

That will be a shame.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.

 
 

 

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