On Aug. 29, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona, beauty pageant winners from around the United States will meet to compete for the title of Mrs. America. Not Miss America, but Mrs. - this is the pageant for contestants who are married.
What does this have to do with golf? One of those competing is a teaching professional in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Meredith Kirk holds the title of Mrs. South Carolina, a crown she won in November 2013. MyrtleBeachOnline.com wrote about the pageant at the time, including this:
Before this year, Kirk hadn’t ventured into pageants, she said, “so I had to learn how to walk on stage with a swimsuit, to do that little model walk.”
Asked if she had seen “Miss Congeniality,” a hit movie from 2000, Kirk said she “totally related” to Sandra Bullock’s character.
“She was a cop, and I’m a golf pro,” said Kirk, a member of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association, “so I have that boyish thing in me. I’m really more of a tomboy at heart.”
On her contestant page on MrsAmerica.com, Kirk says that "the desire to change the face of junior golf in America and internationally through my organization, Junior Golf Exchange (JGE), has driven me to reach for great heights!"
The Junior Golf Exchange is a non-profit founded by Kirk and endorsed by Hall of Famer Larry Nelson. The JGE's mission is to fit junior golfers ages 14 and under with golf clubs at no cost. The JGE website explains:
When a child registers into the exchange, they will receive a complete golf set including a bag, fitted for their gender, height, and skill level. As a child out grows their golf clubs, they can then make an exchange at a participating golf course and upgrade to their next fitted set...at no cost, once a year... up until their 14th Birthday.
Visit JuniorGolfExchange.org for more details and to find participating golf courses in your area.
Kirk, who has been a golf professional for 16 years, explains more about the JGE in this video produced by Golfing World:
Sounds like a great cause. Best of luck to Meredith at the Mrs. America pageant, and especially in growing the Junior Golf Exchange.