SPECIAL FEATURE: Get on Par with Syracuse’s EWGA
BY JENNA SCHIFFERLE
Many modern women find themselves caught in a balancing act. Between work, activities and family, keeping up with the pace of life can be hectic. Edwina Schleider, the current leadership chair of the Executive Women’s Golf Association, says that golf is a great way to de-stress and incorporate an element of fun into your life.
“Nowadays, we’re expected to be ‘superwoman,’” Schleider said. “The great thing about the EWGA is that it affords women a little bit of stress relief.”
The EWGA is a growing not-for-profit organization that is “dedicated to enriching the lives of women through the game of golf,” according to their website. There are chapters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as South Africa, Italy and Bermuda. The Central New York chapter of the EWGA was established 10 years ago and brings women of different walks of life together through golf. They aim at inclusiveness and diversity among all the members, Edwina said. This is especially important because everyone searches for something different when they join, and everyone has a different level of talent for golf, from beginners and novices to experienced golfers.
“Nationally, there’s a huge push to get women to play golf,” she said. Golf is becoming more popular, and the EWGA is working with organizations such as The First Tee to help beginner golfers learn the game. They even sponsor a mentoring program that pairs experienced members with new members who then get together to play. They also host a program called Get Golf Ready to help golfers get the basics they need to play in tournaments.
Kim Stanfield has belonged to the EWGA for seven years and says that joining put a new spark in her life. She strives to improve her golf game each time she plays and has been involved with EWGA programs ever since she first started. She volunteered for three years on the Board of Directors, served as chair for various education programs put on by the EWGA and is currently the 2013 Chapter Championship Event Chair.
Once she started playing, she “got the bug” and found herself devoting much of her time to the organization, she said. “I actually have a whole new circle of friends. Everything I do involves the ladies of the EWGA.”
Though Kim started as a beginner, she has improved dramatically and even went on to win her flight at nationals, Edwina said.
In addition to helping women network, the EWGA has a charitable arm called the EWGA Foundation that helps women develop leadership skills, business skills and confidence. Their program “Women on Par” gives two scholarships to women over the age of 30 who want to go back to school and start or finish their bachelor’s degree.
This year, however, the EWGA is placing extra emphasis on new memberships to keep the organization growing. This year’s events will consist of a membership drive, end of the season and start of the season tournament, a volunteer recognition event where new officers are introduced for the board and more.
Last month, they hosted their annual “Winter Blues” event to bring women together after the snowy weather. And from 5 to 8 p.m. on March 15, prospective members can attend the EWGA Open House at the Links of Erie Village. It will be an opportunity for those with interest in joining, new members and existing members to learn about this years league opportunities, reconnect and learn about the EWGA and all the benefits associated with membership.
“A lot of golf is confidence and feeling comfortable in the environment,” Edwina said. “Our programs give women the confidence they need to go out there and know the etiquette and Q’s and A’s of golf.”
For more information on the EWGA CNY Chapter, visit www.cnyewga.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.