Golf: the game that keeps on giving

Golf: the game that keeps on giving

By Kaylee Smith


PALOS VERDES ESTATES, Calif. -- Twas’ the day before FIR HILLS, and all through the course: all preparations were stirring, and press conferences were about. All the tournament journalists hung their credentials with care, in hopes that they could catch the players that soon would be there.


Before the excitement started today with round one of the FIR HILLS Seri Pak Championship, the Pro-Am saw some celebrities tee-off on the course on Wednesday. At 1 p.m. PST, the tee box saw LPGA players Andrea Lee and Marina Alex playing alongside three former American soccer players: specifically, 1996 Olympic Gold Medalists, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Tisha Hoch. It’s safe to say these ladies were up to par on their golf game. They rocked some shades and visors, and put away their shin guards and cleats for this tournament.


“Back when we played, we knew a bunch of the LPGA players from back then, like Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon and Juli Inkster and that whole crew. And so, we got to hang out with them all the time. Which is so cool because we were just saying, like this new, younger generation, we don't know, right? Which is so neat to see. So, it's like our little kind of brief encounter with LPGA again, which is fun,” says Hoch.


The ladies made a friend before their round as they waited off to the side observing other golfers practicing their putting. Little did they know that this new friend was a young Australian LPGA player, Grace Kim. Kim teed off in the group in front of the soccer players and received an enormous amount of cheering from her newly recruited friends after her first drive.


“Good job, Grace! Let's go girl. Don't slow us down, Grace!”


Of course, what’s playing golf without the quality time spent throughout the round. Especially when a dear ol’ dad takes his son out for a game and shows him the swing of things. Those moments are often what create a core memory, and those memories were present at the Pro-Am today. Mardy Fish, former professional tennis player turned amateur golfer, teed off in the group after Hamm, Foudy, and Hoch with his 10-year-old son, Beckett. Mardy Fish is a regular when it comes to competing in celebrity golf opportunities, but today was a day of fun with his son and other group members. With his son interested in golf, the chances to bond within the sport are endless, and it will only be a matter of time before the little Fish challenges the big Fish.


“He's only 10, so I'm holding him off as long as I can,” said Mardy.


Playing in the same group were LPGA players Jasmine Suwannapura and Jennifer Song, along with actors and TV personalities Anthony Anderson and Michael Pena. Both Anderson and Pena were excited to learn the ropes and get out and play: not in the Happy Gilmore style, but from the pros they were with and with the help of Pena’s In-N-Out club cover. Anderson talked about how he had done a film shoot on the course, but never played it. His goal for the day was crystal clear.


“I’m excited to be here, play with the pros, get a couple lessons, and just have a great day,” says Anderson.


Aside from the friendly competition, Anderson and Pena were looking forward to playing with the LPGA players and seeing them in action. Coming from the entertainment world, they know that the TV doesn’t give these women enough credit for their athletic talents and hard work.


“They’re ridiculously good...when you see them live and how exactly it’s a different kind of game -- they’re more accurate than any other tour, and it’s a different strategy altogether. It's just a joy,” says Pena.


And of course, these actors went crazy when Suwannapura teed off – she started the group off strong and developed a small fanbase from Anderson and Pena as they rallied in excitement.


The FIR HILLS Seri Pak Championship successfully brought together decorated athletes from various sports and on-screen talents to foster and grow the appreciation for the LPGA and the women golfers who make up the organization. It was a showcase of sports supporting other sports, and teaching others about what Seri Pak and her tournament embrace. The values of hard work, dedication, and talent will be represented throughout the week at Palos Verdes Golf Club

March 21, 2024
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