Growing the field
Island golfers would like to see more women involved in tournaments
Brenda McIllwaine and Sherry White are encouraging more women to take part in Island golf tournaments.
Brenda McIllwaine remembers her first swing at a competitive golf tournament.
“I didn’t hit the ball off the first tee - I missed it,” McIllwaine said, admitting to questioning why she decided to sign up for the tournament. “I was fortunate to be with people that were encouraging. From the women I know in golf they’re very encouraging.”
A few years later she is glad she stuck with it. Her game, while not where she would like it to be, has, and continues to, improve.
“I’ve seen a huge improvement,” fellow golfer Sherry White said. “Sometimes you’re playing well and not scoring well. Her shots have improved drastically by playing tournaments and being competitive.”
And that is the message the women are trying to spread.
They would like to see more women take part in the Island’s competitive tournaments like the player of the year series and the amateur championship.
The next stop on the player of the year series is this weekend at the Mill River Open while the amateur is set for Glen Afton on July 11 and 12. The men’s field will play on July 10 in a three-day amateur championship.
“If you’re a higher handicap, like I am, you feel like you shouldn’t go in some of the tournaments because you’re not up to speed,” McIllwaine said. “If you want to improve, or if you want to just feel better about yourself, the best way is to go in tournaments.”
On top of getting better, she has also made new friends.
White has been a regular in tournament fields for more than 35 years and has witnessed the numbers dwindle. She would like to see a full field of 30 for the amateur and knows there are players out there capable of playing in the tournaments.
“There’s a lot of golfers that would be able to play tournaments and just don’t and there’s also a lot of very good golfers that don’t play tournaments,” she said.
White said the tournaments also provide a way to see and play a variety of courses across the Island. And it’s not all about getting your name on a trophy.
“It’s about improving your own game,” White said.
Brenda McIllwaine sinks a putt during a recent practice session at Belvedere Golf Club.