From The Sun's Katherine Dunn:
A year ago, six times as many boys as girls competed on Maryland public school golf teams. And, of course, one way to try to boost the interest among girls is to provide more opportunities for them to play.
Thus, the state Girls Golf Challenge was born.
Saturday, all level of high school players from around the state gathered at Forest Park Golf Course for a day of competition or instruction, depending on each girl’s level of experience. Some played 18 holes, some nine holes and others took part in a clinic.
For Jill Masterman, supervisor of athletics for the Baltimore County public schools who was instrumental in creating the Challenge, it is a way to drum up more interest in golf. Although it is separate from next week’s state championships, it’s also a first step toward possibly having a separate girls state tournament.
Even though the number of girls playing remains small compared to the boys, the numbers are growing, she said, and that growth needs to be encouraged.
"Just from personal experience we’ve had with our grant program and developmental girls golf program (in Baltimore County), we are just acknowledging that all girls are not on the same level," Masterman said.
"When you’re talking about building something, you have to acknowledge where we are and where we are is for some of them, this is the first year they’ve had a club in their hands. For some girls too, it’s intimidating to play 18 holes, but we also acknowledge that we have some young ladies who have had a club in their hands since a very young age. We’ve always had those females; it’s the others we have to cultivate."
Saturday, Milford Mill’s Devonne Richardson finished second in the 18-hole competition. Winters Mills’ Katie Pass won the nine-hole event.
"It wasn’t as much pressure (as the state tournament). It was just fun,” Richardson said. "I liked the atmosphere. I knew girls playing in the tournament were going to be good competition and I was used to the course, because I play there all the time. It gives me a lot of confidence, because that’s the best I’ve shot (79).”
Richardson said she would urge more girls to take up golf.
"A lot of people think it’s a sport for the men,” Richardson said, “because when you watch golf on TV, they’re really big on the men. It’s always Tiger this and Tiger that, but it’s a fun sport for everybody.”