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Golf association celebrates 50 years
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Photo courtesy of TELA HARBOLD
Several members of the Baypointe Women’s Golf Association during their 2005 Rally for the Cure tournament they hold each year to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
SEMINOLE – Fifty years ago, the first group of women to play together as Baypointe Women’s Golf Association (BWGA) teed off.

Now the group is celebrating half a decade of golfing on Friday, April 11 with a luncheon at the Sandwedge Restaurant at the Baypointe Golf Club, 9399 Commodore Drive.

Preceding the luncheon, the women will have the opportunity to play 18 holes with a shotgun start.  

There aren’t any members left from those very early days, said past president Carol Johnson, 70, of Tierra Verde, who is now in charge of special events for BWGA. But this anniversary celebration will be a great opportunity for past members to meet and exchange old golf stories.

At its height, the group swelled to 82 members, Johnson said. These days the number hovers around 68.

“We’d like to get some new blood, some younger players,” said member Tela Harbold, 52, of Largo.

It costs $44 to join each year, and most women earn that back through weekly competitive play, tournaments, and fun games like the “Dreaded Color Ball.”

Like many of the women in BWGA, Johnson was a new golfer when she joined the group in 2003.

An athlete all her life – she qualified to compete in the 1964 Olympics with the United States track and field team – she found golf to be a stimulating challenge for her as she got older.

“This is the only game that gets to me,” she said. “I’ve played every sport and this is the only one that gets me going. I’ve played fast-pitch softball and can swing at and hit the ball every time. But I put this little ball on the ground and I can’t hit it.”

Member Ronnie Windishman, 84, who lives at Baypointe, said that golf is a great way to stay active now that she’s older.

“I love the game of golf,” she said. “Golf is something you can take into quite an age … It’s still something you can do, provided you can swing.”

The short course at BCG allows players to hone their putting and chipping skills, rather than focusing on their longer game and driving shots, Windishman said.

At the heart of the BWGA is the social aspect and friendships formed.

“We are just a fun group of ladies that like to get together on Friday mornings for a little golf and a lot of fun,” Harbold said. “I’ve golfed in leagues at other places, and I’ve never been as comfortable as I am with this group of women.”

Contact Carol Johnson at 866-0952 for further information on joining BWGA or Friday’s 50th anniversary celebration.
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