In the morning hours of July 9, the battle for a major golf championship will take over Saucon Valley Country Club.
The three practice days leading up to the first round of the 2009 U.S. Women's Open will give people a chance to enjoy a variety of events before the competitive golf begins.
Open organizers are hoping those early- week events, including clinics and children's activities, will attract both hardcore golf fans and families to Saucon Valley. Children 17 and under will be admitted to the tournament free each day when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
Adult admission to the early week events are: $10, July 6; $15, July 7; and $25, July 8.
''Credit the USGA honestly,'' said Mimi Griffin, the 2009 Women's Open executive director. ''They're the ones that for the Women's Open always put kids and families first and foremost. Our philosophy from Day 1 was to give everybody value where we can make good money and the public's getting real value.''
Among the early week offerings is a Celebration of Women in Sports clinic at 10 a.m. July 7. Presented by the Women's Sports Foundation, the clinic will feature five former world-class female athletes who aren't golfers by trade but have become attached to the sport.
Former WNBA players Michelle Marciniak a Central Catholic standout and Rebecca Lobo, gymnasts Wendy Hilliard and Shannon Miller, and U.S. Women's Soccer player Julie Foudy will speak during the clinic and take part in a question-and-answer session.
''The reason we selected these athletes in particular was every single one of them plays golf regularly,'' Griffin said. ''We thought there was a wonderful connection there. Even though golf wasn't their chosen sport, they can speak about golf as a life-time sport.''
''Good Morning America'' co-host Robin Roberts and 7-year-old golf phenom Kyle Lograsso, formerly of Souderton, will team up for a golf clinic at 10 a.m. July 8. Roberts and Lograsso are both cancer survivors who will speak about persevering through their illnesses and how golf has played a positive role in their lives. Lograsso may also give a demonstration.
Roberts is scheduled to tape a segment for ''Good Morning America'' during practice July 7. That segment will air July 10.
Children 17 and under who attend any of the practice days will receive a free lunch and also have a chance for hands-on fun. A custom-built putting green similar to the one the pros will practice on will be available at the Kids Club, a tented area near the 15th tee. The Kids Club also will feature Nintendo Wii and other interactive games.
''We hope to truly engage them and not just pay lip service [by saying] that we want them there,'' Griffin said.
Organizers have set up family-friends activities on practice days
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