14 January 16  |  Golf   |  

What is the History of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA)?

More than 75 years ago, 13 women dreamed of playing professional golf. In 1950, the history of Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) begins.

Their names? Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Detweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Babe Zaharias. They are the founders of the LPGA.

The women wanted to establish a year-long tournament circuit. In September 1959, that dream also became reality, according to the LPGA. Today the division is called the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional membership.

LPGA to be held at Golden Ocala in February


Smith was serving as president. Spork, Rotvig, Hicks and Smith are the division’s founding members.

The oldest professional women’s sports organization in the United States, the LPGA holds an annual qualifying school. Depending on golfers’ final qualifying score, they may earn the right to play in the LPGA Tour.

The LPGA also holds the Symetra Tour where top players of the season earn playing privileges at the LPGA Tour the following year.

The LPGA is the first and the largest women’s professional golf organization in the world. It succeeded the Women’s Professional Golf Association, which was formed in 1944.

In 2001, retired professional golfer Jane Blalock formed the Women’s Senior Golf Tour (Legends Tour) for professional women golfers 45 and older. Legends Tour is affiliated but not owned by the LPGA.

Some of LPGA’s best players are expected to play in the Coates Golf Championship Feb. 1-6, hosted by Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. R+L Carriers is the event’s presenting sponsor; Coates Golf is the title sponsor.

“The Coates Golf Championship was a great success for Ocala/Marion County in 2015 and we’re excited to bring the event back in February,” said Coates Golf president Mollie Coates in a statement. “Again and again the players commented on the size of the galleries at the inaugural tournament and how welcome they felt within the community. The goal is to continue exceeding the community’s, the players’ and our sponsors’ expectations. It’s an exciting week-long event whether you play golf or not.”

Ticket packages for the championship are available online. Single-day grounds tickets are $15; weekly grounds tickets are $45. Admission for children 12 and under with adults with tickets is free.

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