In the Com­mu­nity

One woman’s legacy helps pave the path for fu­ture women golfers in SWFL

RSWLiving - - Departments - BY KATHRYN COLE

One of Fort My­ers’s lead­ing ladies, Patty Berg, will be hon­ored in April at the in­au­gu­ral Chico’s Patty Berg Me­mo­rial at Cy­press Lake Coun­try Club. The Symetra Tour, of­ten called “the Road to the LPGA,” added the Me­mo­rial to its sched­ule in Septem­ber, and Mike Ni­chols, chief busi­ness of­fi­cer of the Symetra Tour, says it will be more than a tour­na­ment. He says it will be a week­long ex­pe­ri­ence, fea­tur­ing 144 women play­ers.

Patty Berg was one of the founders of the LPGA in 1948 and served as its first pres­i­dent. She still holds the all-time record for most ma­jor ti­tle wins by a fe­male golfer (15), and con­trib­uted even more so to the world of women’s golf by teach­ing over 16,000 clin­ics in her life­time.

Cy­press Lake Coun­try Club was her home course, and it con­tains the sin­gle-largest ex­hibit of her tro­phies and mem­o­ra­bilia, placed on per­ma­nent loan to the club by Berg her­self. In ad­di­tion to Cy­press Lake Coun­try Club host­ing the me­mo­rial, Chico’s, a spe­cialty re­tailer of women’s cloth­ing, is ex­cited to spon­sor the event. Chico’s vice pres­i­dent, brand man­ager Liz Hodges says, “Patty em­bod­ies the spirit of the women Chico’s wants to rep­re­sent.” For­tu­itously, Chico’s cre­ated and launched a women’s golf line this past fall.

The prospects for the fu­ture of the tour­na­ment are “sky high,” ac­cord­ing to Ni­chols, and many sec­ond his opin­ion. This year, the fo­cus is on hav­ing fun and set­ting a base for grow­ing the me­mo­rial for the fu­ture and rais­ing money as well.

All of the pro­ceeds from the Chico’s Patty Berg Me­mo­rial will go to the Amer­i­can Cancer So­ci­ety, specif­i­cally for fund­ing re­search of ovar­ian cancer. The hope is that even­tu­ally no one will ever have to lose a woman they love to ovar­ian cancer. Some­how, it seems that Patty would ap­prove. Fort My­ers na­tive Kathryn Cole has re­turned to her home­town af­ter grad­u­at­ing from Florida State Univer­sity.

LPGA icon Patty Berg still holds the record for ma­jor ti­tle wins by a fe­male golfer.

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