Ashley Grier learned the game of golf from her father, a PGA of America professional who grew up in Hagerstown, Maryland. When she got into high school, however, she had to compete with the boys as there were no girls’ golf teams, and the only other girls in the area who played the game were her two sisters.
Women’s sport has slowly but steadily developed over the past two decades. Grier, 37, one of the nation’s top PGA professionals and Assistant Pro at Overbrook Golf Club in Bryn Mawr, aims to inspire young girls and women of all ages to learn and enjoy the game.
“It’s very important,” she said in an interview with Overbrook on Thursday. “When girls see other girls play, they’ll want to play. Team sports are very important these days. Sometimes it’s hard on your own. But I hope I was able to inspire more girls to get into the game and stick with it.
“It’s a huge benefit later in life, even in the business world, to have whether you’re good or not, at least you have the background. It helps you in many ways. “
The National Golf Foundation reported that in 2020 the number of adult and teenage golfers increased by 450,000 and that 24% of golfers on the course are women.
The Philadelphia Section PGA said 28 of its 870 members are women.
Grier, who is in her sixth year with Overbrook, said it was a “special day” earlier this month as she was one of 14 entrants in the first Philadelphia Women’s PGA Professional Championship at Kennett Square Golf and Country Club. She won the event by four strokes in front of her younger sister Andrea Grier and enjoyed the whole day.
“The employees did a great job,” she says. “You made it a top event. We talked about it for a while and tried to get more women to play. I think, more importantly, it was just a day to bring everyone together. Hopefully we can expand it every year to make it seem bigger and bigger and create a better network of female golf professionals in the area. “
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In the competition, Grier has had some success lately, especially despite all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, winning the PGA of America’s Women’s Professional of the Year Award 2020.
“COVID actually helped me practice a little more and play a little more,” she said. “I was on leave here until about mid-June. Then unfortunately many of the big events were canceled, so I couldn’t really work where my golf game was because we canceled a lot of things.
“Then we had enough events in the last part of the year and it was just nice to see a couple of years working hard to see it all pay off and it motivated me to try again this year . “
She is on the way and is currently leading the 2021 Women’s Professional of the Year points race.
She also qualified for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship 2022 at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., About an hour from where she was born, which she described as “probably the # 1 highlight of my year.”
“I was really excited to make it to this event just because I have a lot of friends and family back home,” said Grier, who has participated in three previous Women’s PGAs. “It’s about 15 minutes from the club I used to work at.”
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In the current PGA rating of the Philadelphia Section, she is sixth in the Player of the Year race and 15th in the average scoring with two wins and four other top 10 placements. Women participating in sectional tournaments play yards that are 78-85% of those of men.
She plays well despite back problems that have persisted since a car accident in February 2019 that also affect her leg and hip. She said that between waking up and getting up on the golf course, she spends about 45 minutes stretching and loosening up.
Two big tournaments are waiting for the members of the section. The 100th Philadelphia PGA Professional Championship takes place Monday through Wednesday at Aronimink and Applebrook golf clubs with prize money of over US $ 72,000. On September 7th, the Haverford Philadelphia PGA Classic returns to the Sunnybrook Golf Club with a check for $ 100,000 to the champion.
Grier likes the state of her game. She is smarter and more consistent and has moved 15 to 20 meters from the tee for the past few years. She is able to effectively balance work and competition. She calls Overbrook Pro Eric Kennedy a “great role model and mentor who taught me a lot in class, outside of class, at work.” And she wants to reach out and help women pick up the game.
“So I feel like I’ve learned to balance life, job, golf and everything a little better,” she said. “I feel like I helped the programs here. It seems like we have more women playing football now, so I feel like I had a bit to do with encouraging and inspiring some of the women and girls in the area. “