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Debbie Shares her Knowledge with Golf Course Raters



(Far left) WIGI Member/Event Guest Speaker Debbie Waitkus with Golf for Cause is joined by several course raters at the 2015 Golfweek Raters Event in the Dominican Republic.

WIGI Member Deborah Waitkus, CEO of Golf for Cause and Co-founder of the National Women's Golf Alliance (NWGA) provided a highly informative presentation to a group of Golfweek Course Raters at Puntacana Resort, Dominican Republic.

According to long-time golfer and seasoned Golfweek course rater Dr. Glen Rapoport D.M.D., Waitkus provided a dynamic talk. "Listening to Debbie's presentation brought to mind that her focus on assessing tee placements and/or tee additions is an idea that is applicable not only to women but to men as well," said Dr. Glen Rapoport, D.M.D. "She raised the question whether we need to be wedded to an elitist and sexist perception and that Golf needs to continually examine the strength and skill of its participants using a scratch or better player as a reference point. The fact that three sets of tees exist already attests that no one expects all golfers to play from the same teeing ground."

Waitkus suggested that one could encourage more play and retain more players if courses added or redesigned teeing ground areas, one's that fit an individuals skill and strength. Doing so, this would elevate the enjoyment factor with increased opportunities for making shots and improving one's score, especially for the new and/or returning golfer. Rapoport believes those who criticize the idea of adding tee boxes as "dumbing down" the golf course need to ask themselves why playing from the traditional tee boxes associated with a particular gender or level of expertise is the only measure of real golf. Waitkus makes the case that by adding scoring tees the course is more welcoming and the golf experience is more rewarding which leads to players developing the skills that encourages them to move back to longer tees.

6 Easy Ways to Keep Up With Pace of Play

“Pace of play” is a hot topic for new and professional golfers alike. Professionals playing slowly can be penalized and may even lose money. As a new golfer, you might fear that being a straggler could cost you another invite to play. If you’re playing with clients or coworkers, you might even worry that it will indirectly cost you money, too. 

By Debbie Waitkus for PGA.com

Have no fear. While there aren’t any speed limits posted on the golf course, keeping up with the flow of play will ease your mind and create a more enjoyable golf experience for you! Here are six stress-free tips to help you keep up when you feel like you’re slowing down:

1. Don’t worry about the group behind you; rather, focus on keeping up with the group ahead.

2. On the green, stand by your ball so you’re ready to play when it’s your turn. Line up your putt while the others are putting, being careful to not distract them.

3. Mark the scorecard when you reach the next hole. Two reasons: you don’t want to get hit by incoming balls and you have time at the next hole while your playing partners are selecting clubs and teeing off.

4. If using a cart, don’t put your club away after hitting. Hang on to it while you drive or ride to the next shot. When you step out of the cart again, put your club(s) back in the bag.

5. When you have to leave your cart to walk a distance to the ball, bring an extra club or two. If you think you need a 7-iron, take your 6 and 8-iron as well. This is called “bracketing.” If you’re close to the green, grab your putter. Your playing partner can drive the cart to the green.

6. If you’re really worried about falling behind, just “pick up to keep up.” As a recreational golfer, it’s always ok to pick up your ball and drop it closer to the green or another playing partner’s ball. Finish the hole by putting with everyone else.

By using just one or even all the above tips for keeping up when you’re slowing down, you’ll enjoy your round of golf more and be able to play with anyone!

The Gift of Golf


Meet the sorority sisters - Lois and Sally. They’re enjoying a much welcomed (and needed) Sunday morning at the golf course. 

They don’t carry visions of spectacular rounds of golf. Don’t get me wrong, they DO want to play well.  What they do carry is the burden of being caretakers. Lois’ husband is in assisted living and Sally’s husband should be.  Golf is their amazing gift, providing them a break as caretakers and a fabulous way to enjoy their friendship.

Ask Lois why she loves golf and she’d tell you that she loves to be outdoors with friends.

What about you?  Why do you love golf? How many of these would you agree with?

  • Tony enjoys that it’s socially acceptable to drink beer Lois-Sally-at-Gainey-Ranch-on-the-tee
  • Jill loves golf because it’s how she met her husband
  • Taba, similar to Jill, met her life partner through golf and now summers in Ireland
  • Silver, who has many friends that play golf, is inspired by Jill and Taba and looks forward to meeting her life partner on the golf course
  • Joyce loves the friends she’s met through golf 
  • Mary loves golf because she's so darn competitive and can beat the boys 
  • Dan declares his love for golf, the second best stress reliever he knows
  • Susan enjoys league play – she has something to look forward to every Thursday
  • Gerry loves golf but wishes that golf loved him
  • Danny  loves the views…she lives on a golf course
  • Caroline loves golf because she can spend time with her mom
  • Dwight loves golf because you can't play it inside his office
  • Ann likes the shoes… and the shopping
  • Tim loves that every time he goes out to play, he can beat the crap out of something 105 times!
  • Larry loves golf because it's turned him into a travel writer and the perks are fabulous!
  • Ron loves golf because he gets to be with his friends and meet some new and “interesting” people
  • Chris enjoys having an activity to do with his lovely wife in addition to hiking
  • Gary loves that golf is unique – both men and women can play, even when our bodies are falling apart; it's a sport that we can still feel young again
  • Larry loves that playing golf is like taking a vacation with three other friends, male and female, without interruptions
  • Helen (Larry’s wife) loves golf because she can have a sweet time with her husband and still continue to talk

Tell us - why do you love golf?  How is it a gift in your life? 

Wishing you a very happy and prosperous 2015!  Like Lois and Sally, may you make time to tee it up with friends (old and new), family and colleagues. And encourage someone new to the game to start swinging.  Keep loving golf and let it love you!  Turn Golf into Gold®!

Ron Artest, Meet Charlie Sifford

By Debbie Waitkus, Golf for Cause

Charlie Sifford was the first African American to compete as a professional on the PGA Tour.  He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 24, 2014 by President Obama.  In recognition and appreciation of Charlie’s contributions to golf and to humanity, please enjoy this story that first appeared after his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame on November 16, 2004.

There’s been a lot of talk over the past several days on the airwaves and around the water coolers about the mêlée at the Indiana Pacers-Detroit Pistons basketball game.  We’ve seen replay after replay on television of the foul on the court and the ensuing altercation on the court and the fight in the stands with the fans.

As many of you know, David Stern, the NBA Commissioner, administered some hefty fines and suspensions to the players.  I’m reminded of those times my parents wanted to make an example out of me, dishing out a punishment that put the fear of death into my younger siblings’ minds. 

Now, I’m not suggesting that the penalties the NBA handed down to the players are unreasonable.  What I do find troubling is that the players chose to cross the line – the boundary separating them from the fans.  But the fans struck first, you say.   A fan tossed beer onto Ron Artest.

The issue is professionalism.  As an athlete, you can get caught up in the moment.  The adrenaline is flowing; you become invincible. Yet, professional athletes, along with a paycheck, accept a level of responsibility, a code of ethics and a rulebook.  These ethics and rules apply to all professionals, athlete or not.  Even a comedian being heckled doesn’t run out into the crowd and beat up the heckler(s). Unfortunately, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Ben Wallace, Anthony Johnson, Reggie Miller, Chauncey Billups, Elden Campbell and Derrick Coleman all violated the rules of professional basketball.

On November 16th, Charlie Sifford was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame along with Isao Aoki, Tom Kite, and Marlene Stewart Streit.  Charlie did not attain his Hall of Fame status by winning a designated number of PGA tour events, but rather for his lifetime achievement in the sport. 

In 1961 Charlie became the first African American to play full time on the PGA tour.  Charlie was 41 at the time.  1961.  Not the best of times for African Americans in the United States.  The PGA tour wasn’t much better in its treatment toward African Americans – its rules delineated that participation was for Caucasians only. 

Charlie endured plenty of things that would cause our blood to boil.  Heckling, insults, and the “n” word are all obvious.  On top of that, Charlie had to deal with things like:

  • A caddie who would move his ball without his knowledge, such that he’d incur a penalty stroke;
  • A caddie who would intentionally mis-club him or provide incorrect advice;
  • An official mis-explaining a ruling such that he would incur a penalty stroke or two;
  • A spectator who would pick up his ball causing Charlie to declare his ball lost;
  • Fans spitting on him and making noise in his backswing.

Is your blood boiling yet? 

Gary Player, who delivered Charlie’s introduction at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction, identified with some of Charlie’s journey.  Gary, from South Africa, endured a dumping of ice water by spectators who disagreed with his country’s apartheid politics. 

Charlie, like Gary, was always a professional.  With his internal temperature rising, he never crossed the line, going beyond the ropes to fight it out with a fan.  Nor did he quit.  He maintained his composure and played on.  For those of you who entertain a thousand swing thoughts flying around in your head while you stand over your ball, Charlie’s experiences evoke new meaning to the word “focus.”

Charlie is an outstanding inductee and representative of the World Golf Hall of Fame.  His poise and dignity are symbolic of the traditions and ethics embodied by the game.  With his adrenaline flowing (or not), Charlie consistently conducted himself as a professional.  He paved the way for other African Americans to play golf professionally (Charlie refers to Tiger Woods as his grandson) and serves as a role model to all of us.

Ron Artest, suspended for the entire NBA season, now has time to work on his rap career as well as his golf game.  Seems like he and his cohorts could use a walk in Charlie’s golf shoes and a little rub of the green.  Golf is a game with rules based on safety of others, care of the course, and fairness.  The Rules apply to professionals, amateurs, hackers, and beginners alike.  Golf might help Ron and company gain some insight about being professional athletes and the relevant etiquette, on and off the court. Turn Golf into Gold®

Debbie Waitkus is President and Founder of Golf for Cause® and Co-Founder and Partner of the National Women's Golf Alliance, an organization that evaluates and certifies golf facilities for how well they "Roll Out the Green Carpet™" for women. Waitkus is Past-President of Women in the Golf Industry (WIGI) and author of the popular book GET YOUR GOLF ON!−YOUR GUIDE TO GETTING IN THE GAME. Golf for Cause teaches organizations how to leverage the business power of golf through events, business-golf education, motivational speaking and consultation. Debbie can be reached at 602/840-0607 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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