Several girls on the Bluffton, May River and Hilton Head Island high school golf teams got their start in the game through the local LPGA Girls Golf program. Pictured from left are Anna LaPour, Hailey Aipperspach, Robbin Zetrouer, Sydney Bowes, Hanna Harris, Kylie Bowes and Lexi Milbrandt. Not pictured is Sarah Laizer. JEAN HARRIS

(Editor’s note: At press time, we learned that May River High School girls golf team won their regional championship and will move on to the state tournament.)

High school girl’s golf in the Lowcountry is alive and well. I recently attended a couple of matches at Eagles Pointe and Pinecrest Golf Club. I was quite impressed with the quality of golf exhibited.

Teams from Bluffton, May River, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island high schools were competing. The girls carried their own bags or pushed a golf cart. They all wore matching outfits, so I was able to see which team they played for.

The small gallery consisted of family and coaches. Golf is an individual sport that doesn’t have a lot of galleries. The girls get their motivation from inward focus and dedication.

Each team can play five players, and the top four scores count for the team total. The girls don’t know if their score will count until they finish their match. Even though they are playing as individuals, their scores count for the team.

What excited me was that of the 20 girls competing, eight were past participants of our LPGA Girls Golf Program. Krista Dunton and I brought LPGA Girls Golf to Bluffton 11 years ago and several of our past participants are now playing at the college level.

When I interviewed the girls, the common theme was that LPGA Girls Golf got them excited about the game. They were able to see what the older girls in the program were doing in their golf game. Being with other girls made golf fun. Playing games, exercising, and learning values made golf a game they wanted to pursue.

I interviewed the eight girls who had experienced Girls Golf, and their answers show a lot of maturity.

Hailey Aipperspach is only a freshman but has been playing golf for eight years. “Golf has taught me to be honest, persevere, and have a good work ethic. It has taught me a lot of life skills.”

Sarah Laiser started golf only five years ago. Being on a high school team has been a positive experience for her. “My teammates bring me up when I feel like I just can’t do it. Golf has made me learn patience and this helps me in other areas of my life.”

Lexi Milbrandt has been playing golf for six years. She has made many friends playing in tournaments all over the Southeast. At 13 years old, she is the top player on her team, shooting a 36 at Pinecrest. “Golf made me realize that I have to work a lot to achieve my goals.” She wants to play golf at the college level and her dream school is Duke. She has a 4.6 GPA in honors courses, so she is well on her way.

Anna LaPour has been playing golf since age 7. Her dad is a local teaching professional so she has a great background. “Golf has given me patience, dedication, and integrity.” 

Robbin Zetrouer started golf four years ago. She is home-schooled and golf has helped her make a lot of friends. She now plays a number of golf tournaments in the Southeast, which has given her a chance to travel. “Golf showed me that hard work pays off and you don’t get better unless you practice.” 

Kylie Bowes, a junior, shot even par at the Eagles Pointe match. “Golf is a game of respect and I have learned to be accountable. It has made me have a good mental approach to other areas in my life. Golf is a sport I can do for the rest of my life.”

Hannon Harris is a senior on her team. “I love helping the younger members of the team and seeing their improvement. Golf has showed me how to be patient with myself. Being a mental game, it makes me take ownership of my mistakes.”

Sydney Bowes, a senior, is one of the top golfers in the area. “Golf has taught me respect for other people, and integrity in everything I do. Golf has taught me to have a calm mindset that I use in other areas of my life.” She loves helping the younger players on the team. Sydney will be going to Berry College in Georgia on a golf scholarship.

As you can see from their comments, these girls are going to make a difference in whatever they pursue.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com