Industry News

Georgia PGA and East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour pair up to create stronger Georgia Women’s Open presented by ECWPGT and Mizuno Golf

(Atlanta, GA) – One of the longest-running State Women’s Opens, the Georgia Women’s Open, is hoping to get even stronger by partnering with the East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour and Mizuno Golf for this year’s Championship.  Running July 22-24, the Georgia Women’s Open presented by ECWPGT and Mizuno Golf will be an official event on the ECWPGT’s schedule, the points for which go toward the Tour’s end of season $5,000 bonus.

Joining to elevate the tournament to an even higher level is Mizuno Golf in its first sponsorship of the event.  Mizuno, with its U.S. headquarters in Georgia, continues its support of women’s golf at the professional and collegiate levels, especially in its home market. 

Said Scott Geary, Executive Director of the Georgia PGA Section, “Our goal is to always elevate the experience for the players in our events.  With the women’s professional game growing at an astounding rate, we want to make sure these players know we support them, and they are welcome here in our State Open Championship.”  Geary added, “By teaming up with the ECWPGT and Mizuno Golf, we remain consistent with our goals of running exceptional tournaments while attracting the highest level of competition possible. The Georgia Women’s Open presented by ECWPGT and Mizuno Golf will now feature a fantastic mix of highly skilled PGA/LPGA Professionals, amateurs, and those on the track to the LPGA Tour.” 

Said Mark D. Berman, ECWPGT operator, “Our mission is to create more and better playing opportunities for women aspiring to the LPGA Tour.  Working with the Georgia PGA Section is an honor for our new Tour.”  He added, “This partnership also sheds light on our dual mission to connect our players with opportunities outside the ropes.  The PGA of America presents an array of opportunities for them when their competitive playing careers are over.”

Part of the tournament’s itinerary includes a Career Opportunities Reception being hosted by the PGA of America at which the players will learn about employment opportunities in golf. Featured speakers will include Kelly Gilley, Regional Director, Member & Section Operations – South Central; Courtney Trimble, former University of Louisville Women’s Golf Head Coach and founder of Fore Hire, which connects former female college golfers with companies looking for employees; and Destany Hall, current Paul Millsap PGA Works Fellow with the Georgia PGA and former collegiate player out of Texas Southern University. Lauren Smith of Mizuno Golf will also be on the dais.

Said Smith, who played college golf at Gardner Webb and was a Graduate Assistant at Mercer, just outside of Atlanta, “I was one of these players not long ago and I made the decision to pursue a career outside the ropes with Mizuno.  Of course, I want all these players to keep playing competitively for as long they want to chase their LPGA Tour dream.  When they’re ready to move on, there are places for them in this industry and they need to know that.” 

The Georgia Women’s Open presented by ECWPGT and Mizuno Golf began in 1995 and has former & current LPGA Tour players as past champions such as Caroline (Peek) Blaylock and Mariah Stackhouse, as well as past USGA Mid-Amateur Champion Margaret Shirley-Starosto.  This is the tournament’s second consecutive year at the University of Georgia Golf Course which is home to the Bulldogs men’s and women’s programs.  The tournament runs July 22-24, 2022 and will feature an Open Division for professionals and amateurs as well as a Senior Division for women over 50.  The event guarantees a minimum purse of $15,000 to be shared by both Divisions.  The Open Division will play 54-holes beginning on the 22nd, with no cut, and players finishing on the 24th. The Senior Division will tee up their 36-hole championship on the 23rd, with no cut, and wrap up on the 24th.

The ECWPGT is one of only three developmental tours in the U.S.  Berman bought and rebranded the Florida-based National Women’s Golf Association in January with the goal of expanding the tour’s footprint and bringing professional golf to the player instead of the player always having to travel.  Seven ECWPGT players qualified for this year’s US Women’s Open Championship.  Two ECWPGT players have wins on the Epson Tour, which is the next step for players on their journey to the LPGA Tour.  Past players include Paula Creamer, Cheyenne Woods and Brooke Henderson.  Said Berman, “State Opens are an important part of the developmental landscape for players working their way toward the LPGA as well as for LPGA Tour players.  To combine a developmental tour like the ECWPGT with a State Open is indicative of the rising tide mentality that will grow and support women’s golf. We’re grateful to Scott and the Section for reaching out to us and inviting us to their event.”  Georgia star and Epson Tour veteran, Jessica Welch, long a fixture of the Georgia Women’s Open is a member of the Tour’s Advisory Board.

For more information on participating, watching, volunteering and hosting out of town players visit the tournament website at Spectators are welcome to watch the Georgia Women’s Open presented by ECWPGT and Mizuno Golf and admission is free.  Play will begin each morning at 8:00 AM. 

Scott Geary, Georgia PGA Section
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