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I don’t even play golf, and I am SO excited to write about the 2014 U.S. Open & U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2…and the Encore!

I was fortunate enough to attend the final weekend for both championships and see EVERY golfer at work on the course. That was A LOT of golf, heat sand and excitement (and hotdogs and water).

First, the folks at the Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, Village of Pinehurst, N.C. know how to run an excellent event. This year and the last time I attended the Open in Pinehurst (in 2005), I was impressed with the efficiency of the operations, the friendliness of the volunteers and staff and of course, the course.

Second, it was exciting to be part of the historic back-to-back timing of the men’s and women’s championships and see first-hand how well the course withstood everything. The success of that part of the event seems to make a great case for more natural landscaping (that, and the fact that it takes considerably fewer resources to maintain the renovated course).

Third, the greens on No. 2 lead to the good, the bad and the ugly of the best golf. I saw some amazing putts and some that went right across the green and down the other side…twice. It was amazing to see the professionals at their best and not so great up close. Here are some great 2014 moments as collected by Pinehurst.

Fourth, speaking of professionals, I was thrilled to watch men and women (I didn’t see the 11 year old Lucy Li.) who I have seen on TV. Since I don’t play golf, those are the ones who are familiar to me. Adam Scott. Ernie Els. Michelle Wie. Phil Mickelson. Karrie Webb. Just to name a few.

credit: LPGA Foundation website, 6-25-14

Finally, as my mom and I left the U.S. Women’s Open on Saturday, June 21, I noticed images from an event for girls: The LPGA Junior Golf Extravaganza Presented by LPGA-USGA Girls Golf (Extravaganza). I looked it up and, as I hoped, the initiative deserves an Encore!

Specifically, the Extravaganza was free and open to the public and held as part of the 2014 LPGA Founders Cup on March 22-23, 2014 in Phoenix, AZ. Activities included crafts, games, dancing, a golf clinic and ice cream social. And, over breakfast, a health and nutrition expert conducted “an interactive and informative workshop aimed at learning the facts and myths about fitness and nutrition for kids.” Fun and fitness sound like a great and effective combination, especially for kids.

In general:

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf (Girls Golf) provides over 30,000 girls, ages 7-17, with the opportunity to play golf, build lasting friendships, and experience competition in a fun, supportive, and girl-friendly atmosphere, while teaching them values that are inherent to the game.

Girls not only learn to play the game of golf, but they discover life skills that inspire them to feel confident, build positive self-esteem and live active and health lifestyles through the “Five E’s of Girls Golf.” (empower, enrich, engage, exercise and energize)

Sounds like Martin Kaymer and Michelle Wie-level programs with a public health twist!

(image credit: LGPA Foundation website, 6-25-14)

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