(Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) – When you’re a woman developmental level tour professional working your way toward the highest levels and making less than $25,000 a year, and your season only lasts from April to July, you need all the playing and earning opportunities you can get. Such is the logic behind the East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour’s (ECWPGT) decision to reboot as a September to March tour. In referring to it as The Next Season, the ECWPGT is honoring its mission of creating more and better playing opportunities for women aspiring to the highest levels by extending the playing calendar for women to run all year. In addition, the Tour is adding a $5,000 Season Bonus to the Points Winner of The Next Season, which will launch at The Omni Homestead Resort’s Old Course in Hot Springs (VA) from August 29-31.
Said Tour operator and owner Mark Berman, “We surveyed 700 players, and the resounding desire for them is to make a living inside the ropes year ’round. As a ‘players’ tour,’ our only goal is to help them succeed and if this is how we do that we are happy to adjust.” Berman added, “We know this part of the year is important for them. We had seven players qualify for the US Women’s Open Championship, and every one of them told us that having this tour as a runway during the “offseason” made them better prepared to compete in such qualifiers, the big State Opens like Colorado and the Epson Tour, which is really the next step for them.” As proof of concept, the ECWPGT held its Winter Series from January to March of 2022. The Tour ran eight events and hosted more than 180 players, distributing more than $160,000 in earnings, including presenting five first-time professional winners with $10,000 paychecks.
The ECWPGT’s Next Season will launch with a fantastic three-week Mid-Atlantic swing, starting August 29-31 at The Homestead Resort and then playing at the UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill (NC) from September 5-7 and wrapping up at Chateau Elan’s Woodlands Course in Braselton (GA) from September 12-14. “Included very importantly in our model is to host events at exceptional and challenging courses on which our players as high-level athletes deserve to be competing,” said Berman.
Assisting the players with their financial considerations is critical to the Tour’s mission. Grouping tournaments together and allowing players to stay closer to home is also a win for them. Most of the Tour’s events will be held in the southeast for 2023.
Added Berman, “We’re not ruling out our plans for ECWPGT as the necessary East Coast summer tour and running events up north, but as an entrepreneur, I also know when to pivot. We learned a lot in our six short months. If this is what players need, we’ll deliver it.”
The PXG Women’s Match Play Championship is included in the schedule as an official ECWPGT event. The Major of Women’s Developmental Golf will be held at the World Golf Village Slammer & Squire Course from November 1-6. As it did in its inaugural year in 2021, the PXGWMPC will be a women’s initiative in collaboration with Generation W and feature the Generation W Links to Leadership Summit presented by Baptist Health of Jacksonville in between the Stroke- and Match-Play portions.
Berman also commented in his letter to the Tour Membership that the ECWPGT is still hosting its currently scheduled events, including co-branding the Georgia Women’s Open with the Georgia PGA Section from July 22-24 in Athens (GA) and the Florida Women’s Open Warm Up being held July 29-31 at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice (FL).
Also remaining on the schedule is the Tour’s Mizuno California Q School Prep Series in Palm Springs at Mission Hills and Shadow Ridge August 8-12, which provides players an exclusive opportunity to compete on the same courses just days before where Stage One of LPGA Q School will be held.
About the East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour
The ECWPGT is one of only three women’s developmental tours in the US. Based in Florida, fields have players from 26 states and more than a dozen countries. In addition, the ECWPGT prepares players for the Epson Tour, which feeds directly into the LPGA Tour. Having witnessed the limited opportunity for women to chase their professional golf dreams first-hand through his daughter’s eyes, Mark Berman called on his 25 years of golf industry marketing experience and launched the ECWPGT tour in January. Compared to their male peers who have more than 30 “mini tours” leading to the PGA TOUR, the developmental golf tours for women are limited to three and spread across the country. The ECWPGT hopes to provide more playing and earning opportunities for professional female golfers closer to home.
The ECWPGT has a dual mission to create opportunities outside the ropes for women athletes and has aligned with women’s organizations Generation W, a women’s mentorship and coaching organization, and Forehire, which creates connections for women golfers and industry companies looking for employees. The ECWPGT is open to developmental professional players, including those on the Epson Tour and Ladies European Tours and LPGA Tour players ranked outside the Top 150 on its Official Money List. In addition, the tour will accept college and amateur players ages 15 and over on a waitlist basis as space permits. Registration is currently open on the Tour’s website www.ECWPGT.com. Follow at @ecwpgt.
Contact: Mark D. Berman