Steamboat Golf Club earns first SWIGL title

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On Monday, the women of the Steamboat Springs Golf Club took their place in the history of the Steamboat Women's Interclub Golf League by winning the inaugural title.

The eight-person team of Beth Taylor, Ruth McClelland, Ruth Golden, Pat Anthony, Anita Hawkins, Kari Nelson, Maggie Subr and Fran Pettruci collected 86 points this season to earn the title in the match-play league.

Catamount finished second at 79.5 points, Haymaker was third with 65 points, and The Sheraton Steamboat Resort & Golf Club finished fourth with 57 points.

"I'm surprised by how competitive it was," organizer Shannon Hanley said. "In mid-July, all four teams were within 1 1/2 points of each other."

But in the past two weeks of the season, which came to a close Monday, the women of the Steamboat Golf Club pulled ahead and claimed the title. Hanley, an LPGA Pro at the Catamount Golf Course, said that this year's league turned out to be a huge success for all of the women who took part in the event.

Each of the four teams in the league represented one of the area golf courses. Teams were required to have eight or more players. Each week, the clubs would select a team consisting of an "A" player, with a handicap from 0 to 18, two "B" players, with handicaps between 19 and 26, and a "C" player with a handicap of 27 to 33.

The players competed in a match-play format against players from other clubs. One point was awarded for winning the front nine, one point for the back nine and one point for the player with the lowest total score.

The league met every Monday afternoon for three months during the summer. The league was scheduled to end in August, but weather and other tournaments pushed the final round to Monday. The league rotated among all four area golf courses.

Hanley said the idea of SWIGL was to help female golfers from the different clubs meet one another and to strengthen the women's golf community in Steamboat Springs.

"Catamount has a very transient membership, so we wanted to form a vehicle so that our members could meet other women in the Steamboat golfing community," Hanley said.

Although building camaraderie and friendship among Steamboat women was the main goal of the program, Hanley said the program also was developed to introduce women in the area to all the different courses and provide them with a comfort level so they may return to those golf courses and bring their friends, family and out-of-town guests to play. The program also is intended to foster a competitive spirit among the players and to increase participation and growth of the game.

It worked.

At the start of the summer, almost 50 women had signed up to take part in the interclub league -- including 18 from Catamount.

Although Hanley said the league was surprisingly competitive, she said it also appealed to golfers who might have been intimidated by the competitive women's golf scene at the start.

"A lot of women told me they hesitated to join at the beginning because they thought it would be too competitive," Hanley said. "But at the end, they came back and told me they were pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was."

Hanley hopes to carry on the league next summer and is looking at ways to expand it in the future. Women interested in participating should contact their golf association.

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