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Empowering girls on the golf course

As many of the world’s best professional golfers teed off at this year’s Women’s U.S. Open, 40 girls held their breath in anticipation. They watched the golf pros take on the challenging course in Pinehurst, N.C. — and learned about the game from the very best.

The girls, ages 11–15, attended the tournament with support from Wells Fargo as part of Healthy Girls Save the World, a North Carolina nonprofit that aims to empower girls to make healthy choices. The organization, run by current and former University of North Carolina students, provides opportunities for girls in North Carolina to learn about physical and mental wellbeing, in part by introducing them to female athletes.

“Many of the girls in our program have had little exposure to golf,” says Claire Veazey, development director for Healthy Girls Save the World. “It’s pretty cool that their first experience on a golf course is at the Women’s U.S. Open.”

One pro golfer stopped to talk with the girls about her love of sports and the importance of healthy bodies, minds, and relationships. The girls were abuzz with excitement, so much so that they had to be quieted to avoid disturbing golfers on the 18th green.

“It was really fun,” says Lee Jeffries, an 11-year-old girl from Durham, N.C. “Aside from miniature golf, this was my first time on a golf course, and golf is a lot cooler than I expected!”

Exposure to the sport and access to such accomplished women pay huge dividends in inspiring young girls to try something new and aim big, says Claire. Many great golfers began playing when they were in middle school, and this trip served as a reminder to the girls that they can do anything they set their minds to, she says.

Several team members from Wells Fargo organized the day for the girls after learning about the organization. Through Wells Fargo’s hospitality suite at the event, the company provided admission to the girls and also coordinated transportation, distributed sunscreen, and ensured that each girl got a golf goody bag to take home.

Janet Sharp, strategy consultant in Community Banking, spent the day with the girls and provided them with an overview of women in golf. “Golf can offer women so many opportunities and helps impart important life lessons. As a golfer, it was encouraging to see the girls take such an interest in the sport,” says Janet.