PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – To celebrate the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and consistent with its own mission of creating more playing opportunities for women aspiring to golf’s highest levels, the East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour will offer a full season of paid exemptions to the highest finisher at the ANWA turning professional.
That one player will receive waived entry fees for all the ECWPGT Official Tour events in the 2022 season.
The Full Season ECWPGT Exemption was announced recently by ECWPGT Tour Operator Mark Berman.
“This will take a $6,000 weight off this player’s shoulders coming right out of the box as she begins her professional career,” Berman said. “At the developmental level of women’s golf where it is literally impossible right now to make a living for those working their way up, this is a big number. We discussed the idea late last night with our Advisory Board and they unanimously approved it because it is exactly consistent with our inside the ropes mission of creating more and better playing opportunities for these amazing women.”
The ECWPGT also hopes to inspire the younger girls playing in the Drive Chip and Putt to continue pursuing their professional golf dreams. Berman said he was really reminiscing about his own daughter’s days competing at the Drive Chip and Putt and how she is now playing golf professionally when the idea hit him.
“We had zero clue how one turns professional nor how few pro events there are for women,” Berman said. “By the time these young players decide to play golf for a living, we want them to know there will be a place for them. The conversations we’re starting today and the Tour we are building will lead to more opportunities for them when they’re ready.
“If we are the pipeline for the big leagues like the LPGA, then college golf, the ANWA and other high level amateur events is our pipeline. I was watching the ANWA yesterday and was thinking, ‘how cool: these girls will be playing our tour one day.’ Then I thought, ‘wow, for some of them that’s in just a few months. How do we make it easier for them to find us and what else can we do to help?’ It hit me like a bolt of lightning to reward a player coming out of the ANWA a season pass to this new professional tour that we developed exactly for these developing players.”
Women’s golf is currently experiencing significant growth with the National Golf Foundation citing women now make up more than 25% of those playing. While the NGF credits COVID for much of that growth, Berman says it is fueled for women more by the industry’s focus 10-15 years ago on juniors.
Berman added, “Now these girls are women, and these women are coming out of college. They have hope, dreams, and the game to get there. They just need the time and the place to play.” He finished by saying, “The road to the LPGA Tour is pretty narrow right now and the goal of the ECWPGT is create a wider pathway. Not every player is ready for the bright lights immediately out of college. We’re bridging the gap between college and their LPGA dreams.”
Since only the player knows if she’s ready to turn professional, Berman is leaving it to her to reach out to the TOUR to secure her spot when she is ready. “With huge congratulations to Anna Davis, she’s only 16 and we know it won’t be her – yet. But there are plenty of college seniors in the field and other amateurs for whom the ECWPGT is the next logical step. We’re here for her, whoever she is.”
About the East Coast Professional Women’s Golf Tour
The ECWPGT was launched in 2022 with the dual mission of creating more and better playing opportunities for women aspiring to the LPGA Tour, and to create connections outside the ropes for when their playing days are behind them. A highly competitive professional women’s golf tour, the ECWPGT is open primarily to the developmental professional players aspiring to the LPGA Tour or working their way back.
The tour will accept amateur players ages 15 and over on a waitlist basis as space permits. Current card-holding members of the LPGA Tour are not admitted to ECWPGT events unless returning from maternity leave or injury and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Registration for tournaments is currently open on the Tour’s website www.ECWPGT.com.