Golf, traditionally, has been a man’s sport. But in 1944, Hope Seignious, Betty Hicks and Ellen Griffin founded the Women’s Professional Golf Association. Six years later, the LPGA Tour was founded. Women’s golf found its way onto television in 1963, when the final round of the U. S. Women’s Open Championship was given national coverage. But it wasn’t until 1982 when all four rounds of a women’s golf tournament were broadcast nationally. The Nabisco Dinah Shore exposed millions to women’s golf and names such as Beth Daniel, Betsy King and Patty Sheehan became role models of thousands of women golfers.
Making the turn were the men, who were slow to accept women into "their" sport. Some private country clubs, to this day, still do not allow female membership unless they are married to a member. Furthermore, women are viewed by a number of male golfers as frivolous and non-serious players.
But like many other social changes that have occurred in our country, women are finding acceptability more often than not. In fact, many golf clubs actively recruit female players from women’s groups such as business and professional leagues, associations and other women-only organizations. It is not uncommon to see company outings where half of the players are women.
It is estimated that in the U. S., there are 38 million single adults and 19 million people who play golf at least twice a year. It is further estimated that there are 8 million single golfers in our country.
Is it possible that the golf course is the most perfect environment to get to know someone else? What other sport allows you five hours on the same day to see each other when you’re at your best and not so best? What other sport (almost) fully accepts women as equal participants? What other sport gives both sexes, playing along side of each other, real equality at playing that sport? With the notion that men and women could enjoy each other’s company while playing a fun sport on a level playing field, the American Singles Golf Association (ASGA) was born.
Necessity - the Mother of Invention
Ever since the dawn of mankind, we have had a need to gather . . . people sharing similar backgrounds and experiences. In September, 1992, Tom Alsop and David Dalton were visiting a number of church-related singles clubs. In fact, they would try to "squeeze in" as many singles gatherings they could on any given Sunday, maybe two or three in the morning and one in the evening. And they also enjoyed their golf game together.
One day, in September of 1992, the two were out playing golf, when Alsop was attracted to a female foursome on the opposite fairway. And then the idea struck him: why not start a singles club for people who play golf?
They talked with a number of courses and put some time into developing some ideas about the club. A number of signs were placed around town advertising an organizational meeting. A few weeks later, Tom and David, and four other golfers, gathered in a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina and officially formed the Charlotte Singles Golf Association. Within two years, the membership had grown to 175 members. Tom Alsop served for two years as its first president and David Dalton found Ms. Right and headed off into the sunset.
Drawing from this success, Alsop formed ASGA in 1996 and began a national publicity campaign to let people know that there were alternatives to bars and nightclubs.
In a matter of 24 months, 4000+ people had called in to inquire about forming or joining a local chapter. By April, 1998, the organization’s two-year anniversary, nineteen chapters had been set-up throughout the United States. By the year 2010, over 25,000 had joined in over 70 chapters.
People who join comment "why didn’t someone think of this earlier!" or "this is exactly the type of club I’m looking for . . . nice people in an unintimidating environment."
The interesting benefit members realize after spending some time with their local chapter is the enjoyment they realize from all members of their local club, not only those of the opposite sex. Many people join just to play more golf, many join to gain more friends. For those seeking a "permanent" golf partner, the best advice we can give is - - - be patient. Good things come to those who wait!
Each chapter operates with its own Board of Directors but with guidance from ASGA, as needed. Chapters have a lot of flexibility as to the amount of socials and golf they offer to their members. Good chapter leaders constantly monitor their member's needs, either formally, by means of a written survey, or in a more casual way, such as getting a show of hands at a membership meeting.
Members are encouraged to join a local committee (such as the membership committee, socials committee, golf committee or communications committee) not only as a necessary means of running the chapter, but also as a means to get to know other singles off the golf course.
ASGA requires that each chapter meet on a weeknight during the second or third week of each month and holds at least one golf function each month (weather permitting). Many chapters hold 3-4 golf events each month during the on-season, followed by some type of a social (cookout, dinner at a local restaurant, etc.) following the golf event.