Shannon Elizabeth Star of New Golf Movie, 'Swing Away'

There's a new golf movie called Swing Away currently filming in Greece, one the LPGA Tour itself has taken a role in supporting and promoting. And the star of it is Shannon Elizabeth. Shannon is probably best-known for the American Pie movies (personally, we loved her as the baby mama of That 70s Show idiot Kelso).

How good of a golfer is Shannon? We know from her social media accounts that she's been working very hard on her game, although we haven't seen any of her swings in a couple months. Back in March she shared this short video clip:

Swing away.....

A video posted by SHANNON ELIZABETH - OFFICIAL (@shannonelizabeth) on

We love that look of delight on Shannon's face after her instructor compliments the progress she is making. That look is one we all know well, at least all golfers who've ever tried to master a new shot or get better at a part of the game - and finally did what they were trying to do.

In that clip, Shannon doesn't look like a low-handicapper, but given how hard she's been working for the movie (not just on her golf swing, but also learning to speak some Greek), we bet she's much-improved by now.

Regardless, the Swing Away movie definitely is not Elizabeth's introduction to golf. The photo at the top of the page was taken at a golf event back in 2005. The following image shows Shannon playing in the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation's Fifth Annual All-American Golf Classic To Benefit The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation that same year:

So what about this movie, Swing Away? A press release posted on LPGA.com call the movie a "sports comedy with heart and romance" and "an engaging, heartwarmingly inspirational coming-of-age movie." The release says:

Swing Away tells the story of Zoe Papadopoulos, (played by Shannon Elizabeth, from American Pie fame) an LPGA golfer who retreats to her homeland in order to escape the media spotlight following an incident of bad behavior during a tournament event, one that results in her temporary suspension from the tour. She reconnects with her Greek roots and discovers a much larger story involving the townspeople, whose unfailing optimism and resilient spirit inspire her to find greatness in the face of insurmountable odds.

Another in the cast is John O'Hurley, along with Greek actors Manos Gavras, Renos Haralambidis, Alexandros Mylonas, Olga Damani, and Christos Sougaris. Plus "young actress Viktoria Miller stars as Stella - a promising young golf prodigy whose game Zoe helps develop, and vice versa."

The movie's golf scenes will be shot during this year's ShopRite LPGA Classic, taking place this week.

If you want to keep up to date with the progress of Swing Away, follow @swingawaymovie; you can also follow Shannon at @ShannonElizab.

Anna Rawson Gets Her MBA

Congratulations to former LPGA Tour golfer Anna Rawson: As of this past Sunday, she is the holder of a Masters degree in Business Administration from a very prestigious school:

Anna is some kind of modern Renaissance woman: golf career, modeling career, and now she can embark on a business career. In 2014, Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper had an article about Rawson's pursuit of her business Masters and wrote: "She sees herself combining her past life with her keen interest in business, and feels Columbia will help her do that."

The article explains that Anna's interest in an MBA was spurred by all the corporate CEOs she met during golf tournament pro-ams, and suggests she might put her MBA to use with a business focused on golf clothing:

Ms. Rawson admits that students who are concentrating in finance have a hard time believing the kinds of people – from portfolio managers to CEOs – with whom she’s played golf. “They’re shocked at the access that I got.”

That access allowed her to pick the brains of some of the most successful people in U.S. business, helping her in and out of the classroom. Ms. Rawson says that she is going to try to embark down an entrepreneurship path in the clothing industry, particularly active wear.

Of course, Anna still models and still plays golf, and sometimes combines the two as in photoshoots for the golf magazines, or video series. Who knows, maybe someday we'll see Anna Rawson running one of the big golf companies.

More Anna Rawson on Golf Babes

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Melissa Reid Returns to the Winner's Circle

A huge "congrats!" goes out today to Melissa Reid, winner of the 2015 Turkish Airlines Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour. And not just from Golf Babes, but from so many of her peers, both on the LET and on women's tours around the world. You only have to check Twitter to find messages of congratulations from so many of her fellow golfers.

Melissa was one of the up-and-comers in European golf when she won on the LET in 2010 and twice in 2011. She played in the Solheim Cup in 2011.

But her last victory - before today - was in 2012. And that win, at the Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters in the Czech Republic, was an incredibly emotional one. It came just one month after the death of Reid's mother in an automobile accident during the Ladies German Open.

That crushing loss was, as you can imagine, difficult to deal with. She also suffered an injury in the last tournament of 2012. The time since then wasn't without glimpses of her former form - she had two Top 10s in both 2013 and 2014 - but her play suffered.

But the signs Reid was close to making it all the way back to her former form were there already in 2015. Her finishes before Turkey were 12th, 21st, 14th and second.

And now she's a winner again. Great to see her back where she belongs.

Checking In With Tisha Alyn Abrea

It's the time of year when college seniors everywhere are taking their final college photos and contemplating the future. That's true for college golfers, too, especially those with options both inside and outside of golf.

So when Tisha Alyn Abrea - a college golfer with options - posted the photo above, I decided to check in with her. As we told you when we wrote about Tisha previously, she's a broadcast journalism major at Cal State Fullerton who already has some significant on-the-job training: she's been getting airtime on a regional network in Southern California that programs for the Filipino-American community.

She's also an NCAA winner: Tisha had a terrific Fall season late in 2014, including victory at the Rose City Collegiate. So what are her plans? Will she focus on golf or on broadcasting as she leaves the college life?

"I plan on going professional," Abrea told Golf Babes. "I plan on going to Q-School this summer if I feel like I'm ready. I'll do the broadcasting thing after my golf career unless a golf broadcasting opportunity comes my way."

Unfortunately, Tisha's Spring season didn't build on the success of her Fall season after she suffered an injury.

"I ended really rough due to an injury at my conference championship. So it's been rough even thinking about going professional. But because of my success in the fall I don't want to give up trying. I haven't touched a club since conference, but I intend to hit it hard and get back into it in a week."

Best of luck to Tisha - and all the other graduating college golfers - as she chases the pro dream starting this summer.

If you want to keep up with Tisha's journey, follow her on Twitter: @Tisha_All_in

Minjee Lee Grabs First LPGA Win

Minjee Lee was the cover girl on the April 2015 Issue of Golf Digest Australia - almost perfect timing. Of course, as talented as Minjee is, it was only a matter of time until she grabbed her first win on the LPGA Tour.

Today, the almost-19-year-old Lee did just that, closing out the victory in a Monday finish at the Kingsmill Championship. Lee held a 4-shot lead when darkness forced an end to play on Sunday. She and the other contenders returned Monday morning to finish, Lee having three holes left. She stumbled just a bit on the 16th hole, but ended with two pars and a 2-shot win over So Yeon Ryu.

Minjee is about nine days shy of turning 19. This wins makes her one of the handful of golfers in LPGA history to win before turning 19.

LET Experimenting with Wednesday Finish in Turkey

L-R: Kelsey MacDonald, Stephanie Na, Amy Boulden, Henni Zuel, Melissa Eaton

The Ladies European Tour is conducting a couple experiments this week in Turkey at the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open that could, down the road, have a big impact on how the LET (and perhaps other tours) schedules its events.

One thing to know about the LET is that it's a tour with a large supply of young, attractive, hip golfers - players who are social media savvy (some of the best tweeters and Instagrammers are LET golfers) and brimming with personality. A few of them are pictured on this page. If you don't yet know the LET but love women's golf, you should definitely get to know it.

But that's the problem: there is so much golf on TV that even with channels dedicated to nothing but golf there are tournaments and tours that get squeezed out. The LPGA runs into this issue, too: When every tournament across all the pro tours around the world are played on the same days, and end on Sunday, it's often women's golf that gets overlooked by the networks.

I assume the LET's broadcast situation in Europe and other places the tour plays is much better than it is here in the USA, where LET broadcasts are difficult to find. But it's still a situation that suffers from what the LET calls "Sunday clutter."

How can the LET improve its slots on the TV schedule, raise its ratings, boost its profile with fans? Start by thinking outside the box. Outside the Thursday-through-Sunday box, for starters.

And that's what the LET is doing this week in Turkey. The Turkish Airlines Ladies Open begins on Sunday (May 17) and concludes on Wednesday. The Turkish Airlines Ladies Open thus becomes the first tournament on any major pro tour to finish on a Wednesday. The LET explains:

The pioneering move is one of a tranche of innovations aimed at boosting the profile of the sport both on television and at the event and has been met with enthusiasm from broadcasters and commercial partners.

The growing tournament will be broadcast on live television in 60 countries and 243 million homes, and there is record prize money of 500,000 euros, an increase of 100 per cent on 2014.

An example of the improved TV times made possible by this move: On the US Golf Channel, the LET is getting live, 3-hour blocks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings this week.

The scheduling isn't the only innnovation that was tried this week in Turkey. Four LET members played a night golf exhibition under floodlights at The Carya Golf Club, which is the only lighted golf course in Europe. The tour says such exhibitions "may prepare the ground for a potential floodlit tournament in the future." Wouldn't that be something.

So take this opportunity to get to know the Ladies European Tour. You can bet the LPGA and other pro tours will be paying close attention to the LET's experiment, too.

L-R: Maria Balikoeva, Carly Booth, Sharmila Nicollet, Maha Haddioui)