on November 6, 1986, Jenny Lee started
tagging along to her older brother's golf
lessons in 1994 when she was 8. Her mother
had grown tired of taking her to skating
lessons, so she began dropping both children
off at the local driving range at Meadowlark
Golf Course in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Lee carried a tiny golf bag with a few children's clubs that she had inherited from her brother Daniel and would hit balls all afternoon. Born in Korea, Lee was a shy, skinny little girl who barely spoke English and liked to play golf in a dress.
Today, Lee, 19, is one of the best junior amateur golfers in the world. She has won or placed in the top tier in dozens of junior tournaments nationwide, earning her a spot on the Rolex Junior All-American team the past four years. Now at Duke University, Lee plays on the No. 1 women's college golf team in the country.
University Blue Devils golf team was formed
in 1973-1974. Located in Durham, North
Carolina, sports teams at prestigious Duke
University have performed well, and
especially the golf team. Durham City itself
has 7 golf courses open to the public, not
to mention many others in nearby areas,
including the world-class course in Southern
Pines, which hosted the U.S. Open in 1999.
Among them, Duke's own course is ranked one
of the top revenue generating courses.
It wasn't popular for girls to play golf, Lee said, speaking of the time when she first started playing. She was relieved when she went to high school and joined the girls golf team.
there are approximately double the number of
golfers, 775,000 girls age 12 to 17 playing
compared with 328,000 in 1998, according to
the National Golf Foundation. Of these,
approximately 165,000 are considered "core"
golfers who play more than eight rounds of
golf a year. While girls make up only 17
percent of all core junior golfers, the
numbers rises each year.
There has also been a notable increase in the number of girls playing at the elite level. According to the American Junior Golf Association, 966 girls age 12 to 18 qualified to play in its national tournaments in 2005, compared with 691 girls in 1996. Nearly every year, the number of girls participating in the tournaments has increased, and at a faster pace than for boys.
The proliferation of programs aimed at getting girls to play golf in recent years has helped draw them to the sport.