‘Trying something new and fun’

Joy Merder sinks a putt on hole 18 at Tanasi Golf Course.

Nick Davis | The Connection

Women golfers from across Tellico Village descended May 8 on Tanasi Golf Course to participate in a newly designed golf format.

The format is solely intended for women golfers on a beginner to intermediate level of play. The format imitates the Professional Golf Association’s Junior League, which pits teams of golfers against one another.

“We actually just took it straight from the PGA Junior League, except it’s for women,” Adam Jacob, Toqua golf professional, said. “The whole point with us here in Tellico Village is since we don’t have any juniors here, we decided to go with this format to help grow the women’s game. We’ve changed and tweaked some of the rules a little bit to make it a little more player-friendly for our beginner women, so we’re trying something new and fun.”

There are currently three women’s golf leagues in the Village — the Tellico Village Ladies Golf Association 18-hole league, the TVLGA 9-hole league and the Lady Linksters. This new format best suits the Lady Linksters, which is a beginner-level group.

“I guess you could say we’re kind of the rinky dinks when compared to the other two leagues,” Joy Merder, Lady Linksters member, said. “Adam’s trying out this new format on us, and I think if it goes well, then he’ll probably expand it to the other two leagues. He just went around to all of us and asked if we wanted to be on a team, so I said ‘yes’.”

Jacob originally planned to have 40-50 players participate, but turnout was larger than expected.

“If I remember correctly, I think he was thinking it was going to be somewhere around the 40s or 50s,” Diane Gower, Lady Linksters member, said. “I know he ended up getting over 60 sign up. and it was very successful.”

Eight teams of eight-10 players and the top six from each team play against another team of six. To ensure everyone gets to play, the teams of six will split so that three players will play three holes and alternate.

The format will help Lady Linksters members with overall skills, as well as familiarize them with tournament play, Jacob said.

“First off, we really want to emphasize that it’s very player-friendly, and it helps these ladies grow their game along the way,” he said. “Another thing, too, is that there are a lot of golf tournaments every year here in Tellico Village, so if any of these ladies ever want to participate in one of them or play in one of the charity events, then they’ll have a much better idea of how competition is played.”

The format can add competitive pep for the league, which focuses on a fun, relaxed golf atmosphere.

“With us Lady Linksters, we don’t usually give a rip how we do and we don’t have the competition you do in the 18- or 9-hole leagues,” Merder said. “I think this really helps the Lady Linksters be a little more competitive and care more about how they do. It was a great turnout for it and we had a lot of fun the first time. Our team did pretty well.”

The revamped league will play once a month, and depending on its success, the format may expand into the other leagues.

“The ladies were actually very surprised with how much fun they had being with their clique or their team,” Jacob said. “They were laughing and having a ball out there playing, and that’s what it’s all about. Most of them even stayed to have lunch, talk about their round and talk about what they could improve on for next time. That’s what I was looking for, and I think this definitely could be something we could do with the other leagues, including the men.”