The practice green at Cimarron GC every weekday morning is a sight to behold. A large group of women dressed in blue and white address their balls on one of the 18 holes prepared that morning for the group. They begin to putt. The silence is quickly broken by loud cheers for a player who made a hole-in-one! It’s different, it’s affordable, it’s fun, it’s 10 months a year and it takes less than 2 hours to play! It’s one answer to a less time consuming way to have a game of golf. It’s a women’s putting league.
The Start of Something New
The group was formed when two women who played in a putting league in Palm Desert, California moved to Sun City Grand and wanted to start a ladies putting group there. Rosemary Merlino, who moved to SCG in 1997 from Massachusetts, was a founding member in 1998 and recalled their first meeting with 45 women. “We were excited with the huge turnout for the new group,” she said. “We’ve now grown to over 600 members! We play with different women every week so we are continually meeting new people and making new friends.” Many women start by putting and then join a women’s golf league. She added, “Some women think, ‘If I can putt, maybe I can play golf too!’” Rosemary said some women wouldn’t have dreamed of playing golf but being part of the Lady Putters gives them the confidence to get on the course.
FINE POINTS: Phyllis Prosser, past president, explained some of the details of league play.
Holes are designed to putt from 15 feet to 30 feet.
Groups are made up of three or four women – never more than six.
Players earn putting handicaps and are flighted accordingly. Using a computer program, a player enters scores each week. After five entries, the program issues a putting handicap between 0 – 12.
GROWING PAINS: How did this group grow from 45 members to over 600? According to current club President, Cheryll McMath, they advertise in The Grand Times, a magazine published for residents of Sun City Grand and attend new resident events. Word of mouth has also been instrumental. When asked if they received any new members from passers-by who noticed their large group of women in blue and white every morning of the week on the putting green, Cheryll said, “Most definitely. When they discover who we are, they are ready to join.” According to Cheryll, it now takes approximately 150 volunteers to keep their club running efficiently over the five days. That’s a lot of dedicated volunteers!
CHARITY PROJECTS: The women are a generous group as well. This year their Christmas Charity is the Valley View Community Food Bank. Not only are the women bringing food items each week but they also make cash contributions. With 600 members, those donations add up quickly.
“We have such a good time and it’s something every woman can do.“ Lady Putter groups have spread to other Del Webb communities such as Sun City Festival and Sun City West and to other courses including Happy Trails, Arizona Traditions, Briarwood and Corte Bella to name a few.
If you’re looking for a new twist on enjoying golf or need a little mandatory practice on the putting green, Lady Putters is your answer. “Try it — you’ll like it!” seems to be a cliché that fits this activity perfectly!