‘Pink Ladies’ golf for The First Tee

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 127 views 

It was a girls’ day out on the green as The First Tee of Fort Smith hosted its ninth annual “Pink Ladies Scramble” on Saturday (June 15). The all-girl tournament paired young players with experienced golfers for a fun morning of play and learning.

The organization started the Pink Ladies Tournament in 2005 “in an effort to encourage young ladies to become more involved in the game of golf.” The event serves as both a fundraiser and as a great way to promote The First Tee to area students.

“While this tournament is a fundraiser for us, it’s primary purpose is to encourage young ladies to come out and play,” said Kris Scott, executive director of The First Tee. “It also helps raise awareness of our organization in the community.”

Registration began at 8 a.m. with the official shotgun start sounding at 8:30 am. Nine teams made their way through the course, which included a six-hole round for the five through eight year-old student division and a nine-hole course for the older teams.

The tournament was held at The First Tee’s Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy located near Ben Geren Park in Fort Smith. The facility includes a six-hole and a three-hole course, a practice area and three-tiered driving range, a chipping green and a putting green. Also located on the grounds is the Bagby Learning Center, which houses The First Tee offices, lounge, library and classrooms.

The First Tee of Fort Smith’s mission is to “inspire youth to seek higher education, be of good character, and display outstanding citizenship.” Using the game of golf, the organization teaches nine core values to each of its members, which focus on youth and character development. These values include honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.

Membership in The First Tee is open to children ages three to 17. Cost is only $50 per year, with scholarships available. The annual dues allow members the opportunity to utilize the golf courses and Learning Center, as well as enters them into The First Tee’s curriculum.

Adult memberships are also available for $400. Fees include unlimited course and range play for one year. Proceeds from adult memberships help support club operations.

The cost to participate in the Pink Ladies Tournament was $10 per child and $20 per adult. Each team consisted of one child, ages 3-17, and one adult member, ages 18 and older. Teams could also purchase mulligans for $5 each to help give them an advantage.

Following tournament play, teams were treated to lunch, provided by Marketplace, and presented with goody bags. Pink t-shirts were also given to each of the participating ladies in honor of the tournament’s colorful theme.

At the lunch, prizes were awarded for the first and second place teams in each flight, as well as to the “Closet to the Pin” winners in both the youth and adult categories.

Taking home first place in the seven and eight year-old division were Madison Moniz and Paige McCain. Zoie Eserman and Ray Deal won second place. In the 12-17 flight, Claire Rose Latta and Heather Latta placed first. Michaela Earls and Carolyn Murphy came in second. Michaela Earls also won for “Closest to the Pin” in the junior division, while Paige McCain won in the adult category.

Men will get a chance to show off their skills at the “Boyz of the Tee” Tournament on July 13. Players interested in signing up can contact The First Tee at 648-9833 or visit the organization’s website.