The Truth Staff
“Twenty-six years ago, four friends took a trip,” says Deborah Barnett of the women who decided they wanted to play golf in a different resort area. The number of ladies on that annual trip grew over the years.
“Now it’s a full-fledged tournament with over 150 women participating from all around the country,” adds Barnett of the Brown Mills Women’s Golf Association’s annual gathering in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
In 1996, those four friends – Oneda Castillo, Bernice Mitchell, Mattie Peterson and Mary Allen – sought the help of William Lewis, course manager and head pro at the Browns Mill Golf Course, who helped get the women off to a great start.
Browns Mill remains the home course for the Association.
Barnett herself has been playing in the tournament since 2015, along with various other Toledoans. This year the group gathered from July 7-10 at the Legends Golf Resort in Myrtle Beach for the annual Women’s Only Golf Tournament.
As the tournament has grown, so has the organizational effort to make sure everything works smoothly. A webinar is held in February for prospective golfers to walk them through the process – the costs and the expectations – then they can register online.
The goal this year was to have 150 women playing on the links but the demand was so huge – especially since the event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
The tournament is the signature event hosted by the BMWGA but is among a number of year-round events held at Browns Mill and other venues – such as the 9-Hole League, in April; the Play Days in various months; the Founder’s Day Cup Competition starting in June; the BMWGA Anniversary Invitational in August; the Polar Bear Tournament in December, among others.
This year four Toledoans played in the tournament – Barnett, Pathy Davis, Terri Sutton and Phyllis Wadley. Barnett’s hope is to increase that participation to 10 golfers in upcoming years.
More information on BMWGA and the tournament can be found on the Association’s website.