Daycare on the LPGA Tour
The J.M. Smucker Company is well known for its jams, jellies, peanut butter and other foods, and rightfully so. It is less well known that Smucker’s is a major supporter for the mothers who play on the LPGA tour.
I attended a 25th anniversary celebration of the Smucker/LPGA relationship during the recent ShopRite LPGA Classic, held at the Seaview Resort in New Jersey. Sheryl Fish, LPGA senior manager for partnerships, said, “They’ve just been phenomenal to work with.”
The Smucker LPGA Child Development Center began in 1993 as the first traveling childcare center in professional sports. The services are made available to players and LPGA staff. Credentialed supplemental staffers are added to the core group of three employees depending on the number of children needing care during an event. The center will be open for 21 tournaments in North America in 2019.
The Seaview room was filled with kids ranging from infants to what appeared to be 10-year-olds, all in good spirits and surrounded by their mothers and the daycare staffers. The stoic “game faces” for which some players are famous were nowhere to be seen in that space.
I stepped out of the room for a few minutes to escape the joyful noise in order to chat with Bardine May of Bright Horizons. She has been with the LPGA daycare system for 16 years, and is the manager. Bright Horizons provides daycare services for the LPGA as well as professional sports teams and several hundred corporations that offer in-house daycare for employees.
May outlined how a typical week goes for her and her charges. “We ship a truck filled with our stuff from one tour stop to the next, and usually are open beginning on the Tuesday morning before the tournament. When it’s a major, we open up Monday because of the practice schedule.”
May said players typically bring their child to the center about two hours before a scheduled activity, such as a pro-am or competitive round. The golfers are expected to retrieve the child within three hours of finishing the round, although May stressed that they accommodate special needs that go past the normal time frames. “The players might need to do some physio or do interviews. We will always work with them,” she said.
The LPGA and Bright Horizons coordinate with tournament organizers to locate safe and convenient temporary childcare sites. “The tournament also supplies the security,” May said, and that is a major consideration for potentially nervous mothers.
LPGA player and new mom Stacy Lewis is extremely pleased with the daycare option for her daughter Chesnee. “There’s no way I would do this without daycare,” she said. “The order of your life changes, but this makes it possible to keep playing. It’s great. They send me photos of Chesnee while she’s there, and that helps.”
May recognized some players face emotional challenges when balancing the unique way they make a living with the need for childcare. “If I can ease this part of their life, I feel like I have really helped them, which is great,” she said.
The 25th anniversary celebration takes place during a bit of a baby boomlet on the tour. Eight LPGA babies were born in the last two years, and 11 mothers compete regularly on tour. More babies are on the way later this year from Sarah Jane Smith, Jackie Stoelting and Brittany Lincicome.
From this grandfather’s perspective, those new babies will be just fine if and when their mothers choose to return to the LPGA.
One-day golf school at Rookery North July 8
The Rookery will hold a One Day Adult Golf School for men and women from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday, July 8, at the North Course.
The sessions include short game and putting fundamentals, the full swing, and on-course training. Lunch is included in the $125 fee.
For more information, contact Head Pro Kyle Deas at 302-422-7010.
Local club competition results
The Kings Creek Ladies 9-hole group played a team 1-1-2 game June 19. A single best ball score is used for the par 3s and 4s, and two best scores are used for the par 5s.
Rita Musi, Sandy Neverett and Kathy Nave (blind draw) won first place, with second place going to Rose Schmidt, Sue Eisenbrey and Jane Perkins.
The Kings Creek Ladies 18-hole group played their 1-1-2 game June 20. Wendy Maclay, Jeannine Doane and Victoria Martina won first place. Leslie McClintick, Nancy Froome and Sally Chamberlain took second.
The Rehoboth Beach Country Club Ladies Day team game on June 19 used the Stableford quota point format. Gayle Truitt, Bee Ekdahl, Cyndy Simeone and Elise Coar (blind draw) won first-place net.
Suzanne Moore, JoJo Barrows, JoAnne Pearlman and Becki Hertrich (blind draw) won first-place gross.