The Joys of the World's Biggest Pro-Am from a Player Perspective
By Brynn Walker
There is something captivating about the camaraderie that flourishes within the confines of a golf course. The environment of competitive golf sets it apart from any other sport. While players compete against each other, the true adversary lies within the golf course and the conversations echoing in their minds. Golf's uniqueness lies in the fact that players of all skill levels can compete alongside one another. This is made possible through the handicap system, as well as Pro-Ams.
This week, the Pro-Am format takes center stage at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, the tournament hosts the largest pro-am event in the world across three local golf courses: Seaview Golf Club Pines & Bay Course and Galloway National. Fortunately, I have had the privilege of participating in the Pro-Am as a professional over the years. Each week, I walk away not only with competitive highlights but also with cherished memories and lasting relationships that extend far beyond the final fairway.
As professionals, these events allow us to step back and truly appreciate the beauty of the game of golf. Friends, coworkers, and family come together to share a day filled with laughter, cheers, and a bit of friendly banter. For me, the group I played with this year ranks among the best. Although we didn't finish at the top of the leaderboard, we believe we surpassed everyone else in terms of the amount of fun and the sheer joy radiating from each of our hearts.
The day was brimming with friendly heckling, clutch chip-ins, remarkable hole-outs, and high hopes of finishing strong and emerging as victors. It all began with a long birdie putt on the first hole, propelling us onto the leaderboard. On the second hole, we witnessed a wedge hole-out for an eagle—a moment that left us in awe. One of my teammates executed what his friend dubbed as "the best shot he's seen him hit in 3 ½ years." But just when we thought that shot stole the show, another teammate surprised us with a hole-out from 170 yards on the 12th hole, securing an effortless eagle.
Our group exuded happiness and excitement throughout this special day of golf. As a player, I hold wonderful memories of the joy this game has brought me, but there is something exceptionally rewarding about witnessing others experience it firsthand. As players, our hope is for our teams to have a memorable day, thoroughly enjoying the game that we are fortunate to call our work. At the end of the day, we consider ourselves lucky to experience the pure joy of golf beyond a competitive environment—to zoom out and witness all the goodness the game has to offer, and to forge relationships simply because we share a love for hitting a little white ball around a vast and beautiful field.
That's what sets the ShopRite LPGA Classic Pro-Am apart from any other event in the world and why both professionals and amateurs continue to return year after year.