LEGENDS OF THE FALL

Written By: Robert Cocuzzo

The greatest senior female golfers tee off on Nantucket.

This September, eighteen of the world’s greatest female golfers will be teeing off at Sankaty Head and Miacomet for the second annual Nantucket Golf Weekend benefitting the Nantucket Cottage Hospital’s Walk-in Clinic. Known as LPGA Legends, these retired LPGA players have hundreds of tour wins among them and are looking at this Pro-Am on Nantucket as a warm-up for the Senior LPGA Championship, in which the winner will take home a $600,000 purse. While sports icons might not be a surprising sight on Nantucket, watching these athletes compete on the island is as rare as sinking a double eagle. Getting to actually play alongside them? Well, that might just be a hole in one.

“What an opportunity to rub shoulders with professional golfers,” says Natalie Jacobson, a longtime Surfside summer resident who helped make this golf weekend possible. “If you’re a golfer, here’s an opportunity to get some tips, improve your game and have a lot more fun playing golf.” After facing off in a shootout on Saturday, September 8th, the eighteen LPGA Legends will be competing in a Pro-Am where locals will be swinging alongside the greats. “Even men will tell you that professional female golfers are easiest to learn from because their swings are slower,” says Jacobson, who competed in the Pro-Am last year and will do so again this September. “You can learn tips from them that you can’t otherwise.”

Last year, Jacobson’s partner in the Pro-Am was Legends Tour hall of famer Jane Blalock. After racking up twenty-seven LPGA Tour wins and breaking the record for never missing a cut in 299 tournaments, Blalock retired from the tour and had a successful career in finance in Boston. But the thrill of competition continued to pull on her. “In golf, when you retire, it’s really voluntary,” she says. “You go from a structure where you wake up striving for something and then all of sudden you’re not – that’s why some players run into a lot of problems.”

Unlike their male counterparts who could join the Senior Tour after the PGA, Blalock and her fellow female competitors didn’t have a venue to compete after they retired. So in the late nineties, Blalock launched the Women’s Senior Golf Tour, what is today the Legends Tour. Since 2000, the Legends Tour has raised over $22 million for charities. With a minimum age requirement of forty-five, the Legends Tour now has more than 120 players who account for a combined 750 tour wins. Of those 120 players, some of the most famous names in women’s golf will be teeing off on Nantucket.

“You could not ask for a better field of players,” Blalock says. “It’s a who’s who in women’s golf.” Joining her this year will be Laura Davies, who collected twenty tour wins, including four major titles, during her LPGA career. Last fall, Davies won the Legends Tour Championship. Giving Davies a run for her money will be Nancy Lopez, a household name among female players, who had forty-eight tour wins, including three majors. There’s also Juli Inkster with thirty-one LPGA tour wins, seven major titles and four Legends Tour wins. One after the next, the eighteen-player roster reads like the program at a hall of fame induction ceremony.

How did Blalock pull together such an impressive field? “Because the players heard by word of mouth just how fantastic this
 event was and how 
cool Nantucket is,”
she says. “It’s that casual links-course feel.
 Miacomet is a hidden 
gem. The condition
 of the golf course is
 phenomenal with a 
really fun layout. It’s
 what I call an ‘old 
school golf course.’”
With buzz around the
 event’s return continuing to grow, to
be sure, this year’s Golf Weekend will be the stuff that legends are made of.

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