Ashley Grier discovered golf thanks to her father, a PGA of America pro who grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland. However, once entering high school, she had to compete with the boys as there were no girls’ golf teams, and the only other girls in the area who played the game were her two sisters.
Women’s sport has evolved slowly but steadily over the past two decades. Grier, 37, one of the nation’s top PGA pros and professional assistant at Bryn Mawr’s Overbrook Golf Club, wants to inspire young girls and women of all ages to learn and enjoy the game.
“It’s very important,” she said in an interview with Overbrook on Thursday. âIf the girls see other girls playing, they’ll want to play. Team sports are important these days. Sometimes it’s hard on your own. But I hope I can inspire more girls to step into the game and stick with it.
âIt’s such an advantage to have later in life, even in the business world, whether you are good or not, at least you have the experience. It helps you in so many ways.
The National Golf Foundation has reported that in 2020 the number of adult and junior female golfers increased by 450,000 and that 24% of female golfers “on the course” are women.
The Philadelphia PGA Chapter said that of its 870 members, 28 are women.
Grier, who is in her sixth year at Overbrook, said it was a “special day” earlier this month when she was one of 14 contenders for the Philadelphia PGA Women’s First Professional Championship. at Kennett Square Golf and Country Club. She won the event by four strokes over her younger sister, Andrea Grier, and enjoyed it all day.
âThe staff have done an incredible job,â she said. âThey made it a top notch event. We’ve been talking about this for a while trying to get more women out and play. So I think more importantly, it was just a day to bring everyone together. I hope we can develop it every year to make it bigger and bigger and create a better network of golf professionals in the region.
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Competitively, Grier has enjoyed recent success, particularly winning the PGA of America’s Women’s Professional of the Year 2020 award despite all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.
âCOVID actually helped me to be able to train a little more and play a little more,â she said. âI was on leave until about mid-June here. Then unfortunately a lot of big events got canceled so I couldn’t really work where my golf game was because we had a lot of stuff canceled.
“Then having enough events in the latter part of the year, it was just nice to see working hard for a few years to see it all pay off, and that made me want to try and do it again this year. year.”
She is on her way and is currently leading the points race for the 2021 Women’s Professional of the Year.
She also qualified for the 2022 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., Located about an hour from where she grew up, which she called “probably the climax n Â° 1 of my year “.
âI was really excited to be there just because I have a lot of friends and family at home,â said Grier, who has played in three previous PGA Women. “It’s about 15 minutes from the club where I worked.”
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In the current PGA Philadelphia Section standings, she is sixth in the player of the year race with two wins and four more top 10s, and 15th on average. Women who participate in sectional tournaments play distances that are 78 to 85% of that of men.
She is playing well despite having back problems that have persisted since a car accident in February 2019 and also affect her leg and hip. She said she spends about 45 minutes from when she wakes up to when she heads to the golf course to stretch and relax.
Two major tournaments await the members of the section. The 100th Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship will be held Monday through Wednesday at Aronimink and Applebrook Golf Clubs with over $ 72,000 in prize money. Then on September 7, the Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic returns to Sunnybrook Golf Club with a check for $ 100,000 given to the champion.
Grier likes the state of her game. She’s smarter and more consistent and has picked up 15-20 yards off the tee in recent years. She has managed to effectively balance work and competition. She calls Overbrook Head Professional Eric Kennedy “a great role model and mentor who taught me a lot during the course, outside of the course, on the job.” And she wants to reach out and help women get into the game.
âSo I feel like I’ve learned to balance life, work, golf, all a little better,â she said. âI feel like I helped the programs here. It looks like we have more women getting into the game now, so I like to feel like I had a little bit of work to do to try to encourage and inspire some of the women and girls in the area.