Middle School Girls Sample the Sport of Golf at GirlGolf Clinic at The Griff

GirlGolf, a non-profit organization founded by Greenwich teen Claire Yu, held its inaugural event on Monday, May, at the Griffith E. Harris Golf Course in Greenwich. GirlGolf seeks to give girls, particularly those from underrepresented communities, the opportunity to experience golf and a pathway to continue in the sport if they are interested.

Monday’s event provided nearly two dozen local middle-school girls with the opportunity to try golf in a fun and supportive environment, and each girl received a free set of clubs and other golf paraphernalia as well as the opportunity to access additional lessons in the future.

Claire, a junior at Rye Country Day School, founded GirlGolf to help address the barriers that keep girls from being able to play golf.

“I love the game and believe that it teaches important values like honesty, self-reliance, and humility,” she said, adding, “But golf has traditionally been a male-dominated sport, and it bothered me that so few girls play.”

Another barrier is cost.

“It disheartens me to think that so many girls never even tried golf, either for cultural or financial reasons. That’s why I founded GirlGolf. I wanted to introduce girls to golf in a fun and unintimidating environment.”

To make the GirlGolf event a reality, Claire solicited donations from local businesses and organizations such as the Greenwich Old Timers Club as well as national retailers like The PGA Superstore, Carl’s Golfland, Old Navy, and Target.

She organized a golf club drive in March to gather equipment for the girls and collected over two dozen sets of clubs. Also, she was able to trade or sell the clubs not suitable for teenage girls for those
more appropriate.

Claire reached out to groups like Western Middle School’s AVID program and the Boys and Girls Clubs to help publicize the event. Prior to the event, she personally met and presented to girls to encourage participation.

Several local golf professionals in the area, as well as instructors at The Griff, generously volunteered their time to help instruct the girls. To give the girls the opportunity to continue with the sport, Claire also arranged for discounted future lessons for the girls to be funded by GirlGolf. Hosting the event at the Griff was particularly meaningful, as the Greenwich High School girl’s golf team practices there, allowing the girls to become more familiar with the course.

Monday’s event was a rousing success for GirlGolf as twenty local middle school girls
received an introduction to the game, including time at the driving range and chipping and putting lessons.

After the instruction, the girls were treated to a celebratory dinner, thanks to the generosity of The Carmine Cerone Sportsmen Foundation, who covered the cost of the dinner at The Clubhouse at the Griff. Each girl was gifted with a set of clubs, some golf attire, and other prizes.  “Can we really keep the clubs?” more than one girl asked.

The pros seemed to enjoy the event as well.

“I turned professional in order to help grow the game for women and young girls. This is such a great event to bring girls to a facility in which they can learn from other golf pros, learn from other girls that play golf, and be exposed to the sport,” Woodway Country Club assistant pro Alexis Helios said.

For Claire, GirlGolf is about breaking down barriers—whether societal or economic—that may have prevented girls from trying the game.

“I really hope that GirlGolf can help demystify golf and make it more accessible for young girls,” Claire said. “I hope that the girls say, ‘Hey, that was really fun, and I want to keep playing.’ And GirlGolf can help them continue.”