Headline: Growth of Girls Independent Golf League (GIGL) Returns to MGA Links in Norton in 2017 & Continues Heading into Year Five
For Immediate Release: April 18, 2017
|Participants are excited for the fifth season of GIGL golf.|
Norton, MA — Often in business and sports, success is determined by numbers and reach.
If that is the standard to which success is measured, there is no question that the Girls Independent Golf League (GIGL) is a success, and continues to provide an opportunity to young female golfers throughout the Bay State.
Since its inception in 2013, GIGL, the only non-profit all-girls, youth team golf league anywhere in New England and even possibly the country, says organization co-founder Dave Barend, has continued to increase the number of girls playing the game of golf – drawing interest and providing opportunity that was previously unavailable or simply had not been organized.
It has grown from two 16-player tournaments held in 2013 to averaging nearly 180 players in each tournament held during the 2016 season.
On Sunday, April 30, the new GIGL season will begin at MGA Links in Norton with its first of three scheduled jamborees and its largest number to date, 320 girls, are expected to hit the links for a day of tournaments and clinics taught by GIGL experts.
MGA Links at Mamantapett, the 18-hole par 3 course operated by the Massachusetts Golf Association, has hosted several of these events since 2013 and has embraced GIGL’s mission to get more people involved in the game. It’s part of GIGL’s mission of providing a fun, team event where girls ages 4-18 can come together and learn the game at a low cost. No experience is needed and golf clubs can even be provided to those who don’t have their own.
“Golf is a great fit. The only problem that it is rarely ever marketed as a team sport” said Barend, who started GIGL alongside his wife Sara and daughters Jillian and Sadie, who wanted to play on a golf team like the women of Team USA during the Solheim Cup, the biennial golf tournament contested by teams representing Europe and the United States. “That is what GIGL has done with a huge amount of assistance from MGA Links. We have created a league that allows girls to play in, on a team, and it’s all girls.”
Since its birth, the Girls Independent Golf League has grown tremendously with now 22 teams having formed across the Bay State and Rhode Island. And the organization has received lots of support from those who have found success themselves in golf.
The long list of GIGL experts, which started with former PGA Tour player Skip Guss and Brown University Women’s Golf Coach Danielle Griffiths, have included Hall of Famers, Tour players and college athletes, to name just a few. These individuals, who have donated their time, travel and expertise for the game, have been a major component to the sustained interest in the services that GIGL offers to its young golfers.
“Creditability. Immediate credibility” stated Barend on the more than 50 experts who have helped out with at least one GIGL event dating back to 2013. The list of experts who have volunteered their times to give back to the sport range from Brittany Altomare to Pat Bradley, Kay McMahon, Michelle Bell, Megan Khang and many more.
“These GIGL experts are inspiring girls in the right ways. They are role models. When these little girls see other women playing golf, they realize golf isn’t just for grandpa. It is for everyone.”
While the 320 scheduled participants for the April 30 jamboree is at capacity, GIGL has scheduled two other events for the season that it hopes will continue to draw interest from girls looking to start the game for the first time. Those events are set are June 25, 2017 and November 5, 2017 and will both be held at MGA Links in Norton.
In addition to the popular jamborees, the Girls Independent Golf League is introducing two new leagues for 2017, GIGL Pink and GIGL Purple, both of which are a takeoff from the original events that have been taking place over the past few years. The GIGL Pink League will be designed for girls 8 and under while the new Purple League will be designated for girls ages 9 and older.
GIGL Pink will feature four set dates between April and October, as determined by each respective coach, and will feature a clinic followed by three holes of alternate shot play whereas GIGL Purple will feature six set dates at MGA Links in Norton with nine holes of stroke play being contested each week and team scores being counted towards league standings.
In regards to these new leagues, Barend said, “We thought that we’d try to create something in addition to these jamborees now so the girls would have options to play in their own league and with their own age groups. It’s been an unbelievable success so far.”
The creation of these two new leagues follow the introduction of GIGL Plus, the town-based league for experienced high school and junior high school players. The program’s popularity has too skyrocketed ever since.
GIGL, now voluntarily run by the Barend family and other parents, is 100% funded by donations and its success has been increased by the many people who have given their time as either an expert or served as a coach for an area team. For more information on the Girls Independent Golf League and how to get involved or to volunteer, you can visit http://www.giglgolf.com.