Michigan Women's Golf Association
Founders

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Nancy Abbeg

In 1986, myself and seven other ladies met at Sara Wold’s home to establish a women’s golf association for public link players and to run the qualifying tournaments in Michigan for the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship (WAPL). We also conducted various tournaments around the state of Michigan. The association was named the Michigan Women’s Publinx Golf Association (MWPGA). Later it had to be changed to the Michigan Women’s Golf Association (MWGA) due to the objection of the Michigan PGA.

In the beginning, many of the courses we were able to book were not the greatest because many of the better courses were not willing to have a lot of women take over their course for a day. Faulkwood Shores was the exception as it hosted the 1985 and ‘86 WAPL Qualifiers. Since then, our reputation and membership has grown (500 members strong for several years) and our selection of courses has improved.

Many things had to be done and the original women took on many duties. My first duty was the newsletter, which was cut and pasted together. How times have changed. Our newsletter and communications are much improved and online.  I then took over the gift certificates that were given to tournament winners. I designed the first gift certificates and determined where they could be redeemed.

I was on the Board for nine years and played many tournaments with my daughter and friends. Unfortunately, after playing for so many years, I had to reduce my golfing due to my arthritis getting worse and breaking my back. I had to wear a full body cast for eight weeks during the summer. After my back healed, I was able to play nine holes or scrambles where I don’t have to hit every shot. My golfing days of playing 18 holes are over.

I really enjoyed the years I was able to be part of the Michigan Women’s Golf Association and running several tournaments including the state tournament. I made many life-long friends in the game of golf and cherish the fun I had for so many years. My greatest thrill was to hold the Ryder Cup Trophy at Oakland Hills where we were allowed to play on the North Course with our media partners before the Ryder Cup was played there.

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Shirley Estabrooks

Shortly after I married, I got the “golf bug”. My husband Jim, both of my parents, and his parents played golf. His Mother gave me a set of her old clubs, old shoes, and a few lessons. I soon became hooked. I quickly talked my best friend into playing and we started golfing on our days off. I played in different leagues but I joined WMGA in 1982. Soon my Father in-law and I talked my husband into buying a golf course. We purchased Faulkwood Shores in 1983 and golf became my life. My Son, Rob, was only 4 at the time; so I was quite busy. I joined the MWGA because of their weekend schedule and the courses they played. I was surprised at the first event that many were members of both organizations. It made me feel more comfortable.

 

In 1984 and ’85, we hosted the qualifying rounds for the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship with 80 players in the field both years. We also hosted many MWGA events as well. We hosted the Buick Open for three consecutive years and the scores at Faulkwood were higher than those at Oakland Hills! It was a challenging tract. A few years after buying the golf course, we purchased a home for the elderly. My time was divided between the golf course, the new business, my Son, and our home. We were kept hopping for many years. I was actively involved at “the home” as I did the bookkeeping, the payroll, and the shopping. I also worked in the pro shop on weekends and was the “gofer” – “go for this & go for that” as there was always something to purchase in Detroit or

Flint, etc. Between the two businesses , my Son and my golf, my life was pretty full.

 

I was a Board member of WMGA for over 25 years in a variety of positions from Rules to the President. I attended Rules workshops and volunteered to officiate at numerous tournaments for the PGA, LPGA, and any other events or tournaments that came to MI. I became a GAM Course Rater and traveled throughout the State rating courses for years until I became seriously ill in 1999. After four years of lung problems, which culminated in a Stroke and a Pulmonary Embolism, I had to have Brain Surgery for an AVM. After the surgery, I felt like I wasn’t as quick with the numbers, nor was my memory what it had been. Consequently, I stepped down from Course Rating for the GAM. I am still involved in golf though. Since my husband Jim died, I have sold both businesses. I now belong to Edgewood CC in MI and Gateway CC in Ft. Myers, FL. I have helped with the Jr. clinic at Edgewood. Currently I am a Rater for Golf Week Magazine and have traveled throughout the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia rating courses for Golf Week. I have a great life, a wonderful family and I am very grateful.

 

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Kathy Heriford

One of the founding members of the MWGA, Kathy has qualified for the WAPL five times — 1986–1989 and 1991. She was MWGA President in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1993. In 1993 the MWGA joined the Golf Association of Michigan and was the first women’s golf association to do so. Kathy became one of the first two women GAM Governors in 1991 and was instrumental in starting the Atlas Cup. She was appointed to the USGA Women’s Regional Affairs Committee in 1989 and served on that committee until 1999. In 1995 she was appointed to the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Committee and remained as the representative from Georgia until the Championship was retired. She then was appointed to the US Senior Women’s Amateur Committee and retired from the USGA in 2018 after 30 years of service. She is a Director Emeritus of the Golf Association of Georgia and continues to work as a Rules official of the GSGA. She left Michigan in 1993 and was made an Honorary Member of the MWGA that year.

Kathy is a retired Field Sales Engineer for Teleco and a past Golf Digest Panelist.

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Tanya Hurley

Tanya is one of the founding members of the Michigan Women’s Publinx Golf Association (MWPGA) in 1986. She served on the board for several years as handicap chair and helped run some of the tournaments. Tanya learned to play golf as a junior golfer at a small country club in Miami, Oklahoma. Moved to Michigan at the age of 12 but played little golf until joining the women’s golf league at Michigan Bell. There she met some wonderful players, Pat Meyers, Judy Figa, Betty Waterstone, and Jane Kersjes, and got back into the game. Playing at one of the local scrambles is where she was approached by Sara Wold to participate on a committee, also recruiting Pat, that founded the Michigan Women’s Publinx Golf Association.

Tanya left Michigan in the early 90’s to go sailing in Florida and the Bahamas with her husband and then 8-month-old daughter. After 3 years, relocated to New Jersey to continue a career in telecommunications.

Tanya was also an accomplished swimmer having been coached by her father, John Reese, an All-American swimmer at Yale in the mid-40's.  In college, she took up fencing and was ranked nationally while at UM-Dearborn in the late '70's.  She continued to fence  competitively after moving to New Jersey.  In October 2017, she represented the USA in Women’s Epee at the Veteran World Fencing Championships in Maribor, Slovenia where the team brought home the gold medal by defeating Great Britain, Germany and finally France.