2012 Jan 25
For Immediate Release
EMCC women's golf team tees up for competition ~ A new coach, a new team and strong community partners(L-R) Team captain Stevie Booker, Vanessa Clemente, Hannah Manning, Coach Lee, Jasmine Williams, KelseyAyers
Avondale, Arizona – January 25, 2012 – The women's golf team at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) has not let any grass grow under their feet getting ready for competition. With a new coach, Gladys Lee, and five new student athletes on the roster, there is much work to be done, but the spring 2012 season is full of potential and excitement.
The EMCC golf teams, both women and men, were launched into the junior college golf circuit in the spring of 2011, so team building is a critical component for the coaches. "I see the desire and passion for the game in their eyes and I feel honored to be a part of preparing these young women to become skilled, confident golfers," says Coach Lee.
The EMCC women's team consists of captain Stevie Booker, Kelsey Ayers, Vanessa Clemente, Hannah Manning, and Jasmine Williams. Each brings a distinct personality, level of experience and skill to the team, but they all have the same goal of representing EMCC's commitment to success on the course, in the classroom and in the community.
Team captain Stevie Booker's goal is to be on the LPGA tour, but also to get her bachelor's in nursing and play golf at a NCAA Division I university. "It is important to me to complete my degree and have a career in nursing. I want to help people," says Booker. Her compassion for others and for learning is also what makes her a good team captain. "It's such a privilege to be a part of this team. Coach Lee has so much spirit and is committed to making us successful. She inspires me."
Lee knows about inspiring young athletes. She comes to EMCC from neighboring Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear, Arizona, where she coached both the girl's and boy's golf team, and took the boys' team to the 2011 State Championship. She is an LPGA teaching/coaching professional with 27 years of experience in the golf industry. She founded the Roaring Lambs International Junior Golf Academy in Dallas, Texas, which provides a curriculum inclusive of golf training and life skills to multi-ethnic inner city youths ages 5-17.
Coach Lee has built a strong community network as well. Several local golf courses have agreed to host the EMCC women's team practices, including Estrella Mountain, Peoria Pines, Tres Rios and Tuscany Falls. The rotational practice locations will provide a dynamic golf experience to prepare the team for varied courses and conditions.
Additionally, Lee has tapped into the resources of long-time colleague and friend, LPGA co-founder and World Golf Hall of Famer, Marilynn Smith, who now resides in the Pebble Creek community in Goodyear, Arizona. "She is so thrilled to be a part of our team building," says Lee. "Not only is she a champion on the golf course, she is a champion of passing the flame to young people. She will undoubtedly be an inspirational mentor as well as a big fan of our team."
Smith is one of the thirteen founding member of the LPGA which began in 1950, in Wichita, Kansas, and one of the remaining four. As a long-time mentor to Coach Lee, she wants to help the EMCC team to understand the rich history created by the legends of golf, and develop an appreciation of the sport that reaches beyond personal bests. Smith is a strong advocate for learning and education. On the days the team practices at Tuscany Falls, Smith will try to attend. She devotes much of her time working on the Marilynn Smith LPGA Charity Golf Classic which raises funds for a national scholarship fund in her name, awarded to female high school senior golfers and want to pursue college. This year's golf classic will be held on September 24th at Tuscany Falls Golf Club.
EMCC Athletic Director Herschel Jackson is excited about how the teams are developing and building an identity at community/junior college tournaments. "These young men and women have great initiative, not only in sports but in the classroom. We stress 'academics first' and are serious about making sure that our students keep up their studies and grades," says Jackson.
Photo credits: Photo by Michael Bartley © 2011 Estrella Mountain Community College