Chapter News & Announcements
  • LPGA Amateurs Palm Springs – Golf Event Cancellation Policy Update

    LPGA Amateurs Palm Springs – Golf Event Cancellation Policy

    Effective immediately - October 18, 2023

    If you have registered and paid for a golf event, it is your responsibility to keep Tina Fleisler, Carolyn Urban OR the event captain informed immediately if your schedule changes.

     Chapter policy on cancellations:

    • If you cancel from three days in advance up to the day of play, you will not be reimbursed. The Chapter Board encourages members to try to find someone to take your spot if/when you realize that your schedule will cause you to cancel after the Chapter has guaranteed your participation. The person that fills your spot can reimburse you for the greens fee. If this occurs, you must notify the golf events co-chairs OR the event captain ASAP.
    • In the case of a medical emergency that occurs within the above timeframe, the Chapter will reimburse the player half of the golf fee.
    • If you forget about the event and/or don’t show up, your fee will not be reimbursed.

    Explanation: The Chapter experienced cancellations last season – most on the morning of play -- when it was too late for the golf course to waive a player’s greens fee.

    Since COVID, golf course managers have become stricter about tee times and cancellations.  The vast majority ask the Chapter to GUARANTEE the number of players 8 DAYS IN ADVANCE. This means that the Chapter still has to pay for any player who cancels after that guarantee. While some golf course managers used to let the Chapter cancel a player within 48-72 hours, most will no longer do so.

  • LPGA Amateurs Palm Springs had a social event at PF Chang's on Thursday, Oct. 12
     LPGA Amateurs Palm Springs had a social event at PF Chang's on Thursday, Oct. 12. We were a small group that had LOTS of fun. Congratulations to member Shelley West, who won the $25-off coupon for a future Chapter golf event!


    Partiers: Donna Basil, Bonnie Bronson, Sandy Looper, Theresa Miller, Ivy Pascua, Dori Smith, Carolyn Urban, Shelley West, Kim Zakar, Lexi Zanovitch


  • 15% off at PGA tour store in Palm Desert

    The PGA tour store in Palm Desert is giving our members 15% off products through Friday, August 25. Just present your LPGA amateurs membership card!

    If you don’t have a card yet, get it on the national website


  • Remembering Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler
    "This article is from 2000 when I was newly arrived in the valley and worked for golfing publications," I got to interview Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler together one sunny SoCal day to write about the early beginnings of the LPGA."

    Shirley became a real friend to our Chapter and for me and she always supported us -- speaking at many of our annual kickoff events.  Sadly, she died last Spring and Marlene Hagge died last week.  They are our LEGENDS.

    Dori Smith
    President Palm Springs/Desert Cities Chapter


    Shirley Spork


    LPGA Founders Recall Early Days

    Spring 2000 by Dori Smith

    Inland Empire Golf News Editor


    Their eyes sparkled.  They smiled.  They laughed a lot.

    They were like two teenagers reminiscing about last week’s Ricky Martin concert.

    Only their memories are 50 years old.

    In 1950, Marlene Bauer Hagge (now Marlene Vossler) and Shirley Spork were two of 13 pioneer women who got together and launched the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).  Vossler was 16 at the time.  Spork was in her early 20s.

    The two women live in the Palm Springs area–Spork on and off since 1954; Vossler for 20 years.  Vossler played on the tour for 47 years; Spork for around 15.  Spork still teaches–at Monterrey Country Club in Palm Desert–several days a week.  Golf for Women magazine recently selected her as one of the country’s top instructors.

    The two became friends–and competitors–when they helped start the women’s tour in 1950 and remain friends today.  They played together on a recent Friday even though Spork is still undergoing physical therapy for an injury. (Someone ran into her with a golf cart!)

    Vossler’s father was the person instrumental in getting her, and her sister Alice Bauer (also one of the LPGA founders), started with the game. “Before I was born, my dad was introduced to golf in Eureka, South Dakota,” Vossler said. 

    “He loved it so much; he studied it and built a course for the townspeople.  It had sand traps and oil-dirt tees.  It was too late for him on the men’s tour, so he wanted two boys and wanted to make them golfers.  But he had two girls.  I was born in 1934, and he felt women were going to come into their own in athletics.”

    Spork learned to play golf at the age of 11 when her family moved next door to a course in the Detroit area.

    “I would go to the course with the boys who caddied,” she said.  “Finally, I bought my first club, which was a putter.  They all laughed at me because I had a putter.  I started at the end of the game and am still trying to get to the beginning of the game,” she said with a laugh. 

    “Since I was 12 years old, I admired the fact that there was a Women’s Professional Golf Tour (WPGA) with Patty Berg, Louise Suggs, Betty Jameson and Babe Didrikson.  But it didn’t last long.  I wanted to be a golf professional, but my mom and dad said ‘No, you’re going to college.’”


    Turning Pro with “Babe’s” Blessing

    Spork listened to her parents and started teaching at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, but she heard talk of a new professional ladies’ tour.   A timely meeting with the famous Babe Didrikson Zaharias pushed Spork into a decision about a professional career.

    “I went to play in the Western Open as an amateur,” Spork said, “and at breakfast saw Babe and some other women. Babe said to me: ‘We need numbers out there.  Why don’t you turn pro?’ I said, ‘How do you do that?’  She stood up, tapped me on the head, and said, ‘Kid you are a pro.  Go down there and tell them you’re a pro.’”

    So, when Spork went to the first tee, she told the organizer to announce her as a pro.  The woman promptly asked her whether she’d told her mother. 

    “I said, ‘No but she will know tonight,’” Spork said.  “There were 11 or 12 of us in the tournament.  One person broke 80—Louise Suggs.  I think I shot 90!” 

    Vossler was showing her mettle in amateur tournaments.  She won the Long Beach City tournament at the age of 10.

    “I won the Los Angeles Women’s Championship when I was 13 and the back of the scorecard read ‘No children under 14,’” she said.  “I never got to play in the state championship because you had to be 16 and a member of a private club.  At that time, golf was very closed and snobbish.

    “Another time, I was playing in the Los Angeles City Tournament at a public course. I was very shy and was sitting in a corner changing my shoes. A woman walked in with a friend who asked her who her first match was.  She said, ‘Some little pipsqueak.’  I beat her 5 and 4, and she was the best player in Los Angeles.”


    You’re Starting a What???

    Once the 13 women decided to start the LPGA, snobs and age limits weren’t the only obstacles they encountered. Lack of money was one of the biggest. They took on a variety of chores to find funding and to gain sponsors. The first season saw nine tournaments offering total prizes of $50,000.

    We had to beat the bushes for sponsors,” Vossler said.  “There were so few tournaments for so little money, and we supplemented it by putting on exhibitions.  I wish I had a nickel for every cocktail party we went to.  We even played jai alai in Miami.”

    Spork added: “We’d go to baseball games and stand at home plate hitting tennis balls.” 

    Spork and others even attended a local prize fight.  They sat there watching men punch each other, even getting splattered with blood–just so they could stand in the ring and make their pitch for support. 

    “Each week, we did a golf-clinic exhibition where each one of us hit a different shot,” Spork said.  “Someone would hit a wedge, another a driver, then a 4-iron. And Marlene could hit the club backwards.”

    Vossler jumped in with: “I was young and had to listen to them.  They made me hit the 2-iron.”

    In 1952, Vossler won a tournament in Sarasota, Fla., for which she earned $350.  Spork remembers winning $1,250 for coming second in the LPGA Championship in Las Vegas.

    “Getting people to believe in women’s golf was tough,” Vossler said. “The manufacturers gave us a royalty on equipment, so we were looking to sell a lot of equipment to have a better income. Some companies gave their players a car. Others received salaries. Our backbone sources were what we could do on the side, like exhibitions and endorsements, but endorsements were few and far between.  Alice (Bauer) did a Lucky Strikes commercial, and we were on the Wheaties boxes.”

    Once in the ‘60s, Vossler won $6,000 for a first-place win, and she set an earnings record that year–$20,000.

    “I had eight wins and nine second places,” she said.  “I had to give 10 percent back to the LPGA for operating expenses.  We did whatever it was we had to do to keep it (the tour) going.  We were stubborn old goats.”


    A Competitive “Family” on Tour

    Despite the trials of starting a new professional tour, the women said they felt it was a family in the early days.

    “When we met as a club, we would fight because we were trying to figure out how to do it (organize the LPGA),” Vossler said. “But we stuck together as a group.”

    Spork added: “We traveled in six to eight cars like a circus caravan. We always stayed at the same place. We would try to find a motel that had a kitchen so we could cook. We didn’t have a sports psychologist, a nutritionist or a manager.  We would try to eat correctly and tried to find cafeterias because they served vegetables. The restaurants only served peas and carrots.  I would love never to see another pea and carrot.”

    “A lot of times we had to drive all night to get to a tournament or an exhibition. I could paper a wall with my speeding tickets,” Vossler said with a smile.

    Many of the courses they traveled to in those early days were brand new and untested.

    “We played harder courses,” Spork declared. “They were raw, raw, raw.  And, they put us on the men’s tees.  Most of the courses had never been played, so you could break your ankle walking in the rough.”

    Vossler added: “There were at least three to four holes you couldn’t reach in regulation. The length was usually 6,500 to 6,700 yards. Some of the courses wanted to show that they had the toughest course in the world. The easiest thing in the world is to build a hard golf course.  The toughest thing is to build a fair golf course.”

    And, they didn’t just show up and play either.  Much of the time, the women set the tee and pin placements, marked the courses, made rules decisions, and tallied scores. They even called Western Union on Sunday nights to report the scores to the wire services, such as the Associated Press, and to Golf World.


    Teeing It Up on Television

    Around about 1954, another challenge arrived—television.

     “Our first experience on TV was at the Tam O’Shanter All American where we alternated (foursomes) with men,” Spork said. “They were going to televise the 18th green. We talked about what we were going to wear, forgetting that the whole thing was in black and white.  We finally get there. I hit a good drive and second shot onto the green.  I’m just so excited that I can walk across the bridge and be on TV. I walk all around the green. I go over and mark my ball then press it down with my putter. When I looked, the ball marker was stuck to my putter! I went back and put the ball down where I thought it should be.” 

    Even near disasters took a back seat to television.  At a tournament in Michigan, a swinging bridge collapsed, dumping players and the whole gallery into the water. Luckily, the water wasn’t deep.

    Spork said: “Someone said to me, ‘Keep playing, we’re on TV. The ambulance is coming.’”

     The two women said they couldn’t be prouder about how far the tour has come from those 1950 beginnings. With 38 events on four continents this year, and 78 players earning more than $100,000 in 1999, their dream is a reality.

    “I think the success is great,” Vossler said.  “I never look back and think ‘Oh, gee.’  I think it’s wonderful.”

    Spork added: “I think it’s harder today because there are more competitors that are equal in ability. We only had a few. Every tournament back then, you had only three to four that were going to win.  Now there are 20 to 30.”


    Opportunities of a Lifetime

    It’s clear they wouldn’t exchange that pioneering time for anything. “Golf gave me the opportunity to travel the world,” Spork said. “I was invited to go to Europe, and played in England, Scotland, Wales and France. And, in 1951, I was the first lady professional invited into the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse (at St. Andrews).  

    “At that time, I was using the wedge, and the ball was going high, and they (Europeans) kept it low because of the wind. I had to get up on a table and demonstrate it for them. The main part of the clubhouse is a smoking room where the men watch the first tee. The captain took me into that room and this old codger was in there. He jumped this high out of his chair to see a woman there!”

    Vossler also played golf in the Far East and Australia.  “We played in Manila and met Ferdinand Marcos. He had a crush on one of the girls because she reminded him of a nurse that saved his life. In 1953, Alice and I played four weeks of exhibitions in Australia. They hadn’t seen women golfers there, and barely allowed the local pro in the clubhouse.”

    Spork, who collects antique clubs, suggested that Vossler should design a course sometime.  But Vossler was noncommittal.  After 47 years on the tour, golf may be her first love, but it isn’t her first priority.

    “I do a lot of gardening now,” said Vossler. “I tell my friends that I’m planting the grass I pulled up over 50 years.”


    Editor’s Note (2000):  The original 13 LPGA founders were Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks Harb, Opan Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.  Dettweiler, Harb, Hill, Sessions and Zaharias are deceased.


  • Brush up your game! New members benefit


    PGA professional Dave Curtis offers Chapter members a nice discount on private golf lessons:  $80 for 50 minutes. He holds lessons at the Westin Mission Hills, Rancho Mirage, and the Classic Club, Palm Desert. “Dave is an excellent, respected teaching professional in the Valley, and has taught numerous clinics for the Chapter,” said Dori Smith, interim president. You can reach him at:

  • LPGA and/or Epson Tour is coming to our area!

    We are excited that there is an upcoming Epson Tour event coming to our area and your LPGA Amateurs ID will grant you complimentary access for you and a guest!  If your schedule allows, please plan to come support the best women golfers in the world!

    IOA Championship Presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Beaumont CA

    March 24-26
    Check out the details on the Tournament Website
    Click here for the complete LPGA Tour schedule.  Click here for the complete Epson Tour schedule.

  • Winners at the S, Feb. 19
    Reports are that it was a blustery day on Monday and that the course was in great shape. Hope you all enjoyed the day.
    FOUND CLUB - if anyone lost a Cleveland wedge please contact Val Robbins - she has it and will return to PVCC if no-one claims it.
    Here are the results from the O-N-E-S game of the day and closest to the pin:
    Flight A:
    Closest to the Pin:
    CTP #7 JoAnn McCormack
    CTP #12 Linda Earnest
    ONES Game:
    1st Martha Peterson
    2nd Lynn DeKock
    T3rd Diane Brocco
    T3rd Terrie Marshall
    T3rd Valerie Robbins
    T3rd Brianne King
    Flight B:
    No closest to the Pin winners
    (the wind must have won)
    ONES Game:
    1st Cathy Funk
    T2nd Barbara Briguglio
    T2nd Verna Rutledge
    T4th Patricia Byrd
    T4th Kathy Malmfeldt
    6th Vickie Camper
    Will catch up with all winners soon at a future event!
    Thank you again for joining us at this event.

  • New Officers on Chapter Board

    The Chapter has seen some recent changes to the Board: Ivy Pascua resigned as treasurer/financial director, effective December 31, 2022; and Gena Mezo, chapter president who was serving her fourth term in that position, resigned effective Feb. 15. She is moving to Northern California.

    Succeeding Gena as interim president is Dori Smith, who is founding president of the Chapter and had most recently served as Membership Director. Succeeding Ivy as interim treasurer is Carolyn Urban, who joined the chapter in 2022. Board elections will be held this summer. Succeeding Dori as Membership Director is Tina Fleisler.

    “We will miss Ivy and Gena, who were dedicated Board members and helped ensure the Chapter remained successful in offering organized golf in the Valley,” Dori said.  “Please contact me with any questions or suggestions.”

    Here are email addresses for Board members:
    President – Dori Smith,
    Treasurer/Financial Director  – Carolyn Urban,
    Golf Events Co-Directors – Donna Basil & Bonnie Bronson,
    Membership Director – Tina Fleisler,
    Communications Director – Madalina Garza,
    Marketing Director – Pat Bolton,

  • Donation to First Tee & Marketing at a Golf Demo

    Dori Smith recently presented Teal Guion, executive director of First Tee of the Coachella Valley, with $275 in donations from the Chapter and members. While coaching 100+ children every day, Monday through Friday, about golf, they also help the children build core values, strength, self-confidence and resilience.


    Barbara Nuismer, Membership Committee member, arranged for the Chapter to have a table at Pete Carlson’s Golf Demo in February. Hundreds of people attended each day at the COD driving range in Palm Desert. Verna Rutledge is pictured at the Chapter’s table; she also is on the Membership Committee. Other volunteers who staffed the table on Feb. 3 and 4: Donna Basil, Pat Bolton, Bonnie Bronson and Dori Smith.

    “Our goal was to recruit new members and raise awareness of the Chapter. Numerous women were added to our email list and some may join,” Dori said. “If you know of an event we can attend in a similar fashion, please let me know.”

  • Welcome to the LPGA Amateur Golf Association Palm Springs/Desert Cities Chapter
    We are women who enjoy playing golf in the greater Palm Springs area, having fun, improving our game, and expanding our circle of friends and contacts.  Some of our diverse and energetic members live in the paradise of the Palm Springs area year around while others are seasonal who spend the fall and winter months in our wonderful desert. Come and be a part of this great organization!

    We play at a variety of public and private golf courses throughout the desert.