For the Love of the Fans: Natalie Gulbis

Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Natalie Gulbis reacts after her putt on the eighth green during the third round of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic at the Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Magnolia Grove on April 28, 2012 in Mobile, Alabama.

I am going to start off with this statement: "If you love golf, the LPGA provides the greatest place to watch it." They play like us, and the atmosphere is truly golf-related, unlike some PGA Tour events which can get over the top with fans who do not even play for love of the game, but are there for the free booze.

I just took my 5-year-old son to his first tournament round at the Sybase Match Play Championship at Hamilton Farms in NJ. He has been with me to practice rounds for the past two years, and I felt he was ready for a regular round. It was amazing. Every woman (even the ones who did not speak English well) smiled at me and spoke to him as well as every other child around. Morgan Pressel chatted with him down the first fairway. Brittney Lincicome commented on how far he hits the ball after he took a mini 5-minute PGA lesson. The driving range attendants gave him free practice balls with the Hamilton Farms logo on it. Michelle Wie told him that she liked his hat when she was chipping literally 2 feet from us.

Then his day was made after Natalie Gulbis holed a birdie putt to win her match on 18. She walked off the green and started to sign for people. My son went up to her with his new practice ball to have it signed, but a lot of people were moving in to get her signature. He started to walk back to me because of the rush of people. Natalie came forward and said "sweetie come back, it's OK, what do you have for me to sign?" He showed her his ball and she asked how he got it. He told her about hitting the ball so far and she said "you'll be beating me and your dad in no time." Natalie signed the ball, gave him a high five, and went back to signing for everyone. It was an amazing day and quite an interactive experience.

I have been to countless PGA and Nationwide events. I've been to majors and low-level tournaments, but nothing topped the experience these women gave my son yesterday. Fan for life. So thanks to all the LPGA pros who get it right.


Topics: For the Love of the Fans, Gulbis, Natalie

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