Swing and a Hit

Bringing the professional sports experience to college women golfers is part of the game.

Swing and a Hit

Now’s the moment many female athletes have been waiting for: Women are grabbing headlines, eyeballs, and dollars for many of the nation’s most popular games. It also the moment Michael Meinhardt ’99, MBA ’05 has been waiting for.

In 2022, as president of Green Hills Country Club in Millbrae, Calif., Meinhardt looked around the golf world and saw that a professional-level experience was missing for women college golfers. At the same time, it was clear something was happening in the world of professional women’s sports. The popularity of the U.S. national women’s team nurtured life into the National Women’s Soccer League, including a team founded by four Broncos. Sports bars focusing on women’s teams popped up around the country. Women’s basketball gained audience.

Here was a chance to grab the spotlight for up-and-coming athletes of the sport Meinhardt holds dear.

“There’s a lot more demand for women’s events,” he says, “but there was nothing for the college women’s game. We want them to have the experience of a professional tournament.”

That includes spending time with sponsors, experiencing the spotlight, high-level competition, and a backing foundation to support the game. “One of the goals is for players to have that interaction so that these young athletes can learn how to interact with sponsors or deal with the crowd,” Meinhardt says.

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The 2023 Silicon Valley Showcase at Green Hills Country Club. Photo courtesy Michael Meinhardt.
Scu Golf Team
Members of the Santa Clara University women’s golf team. Photo courtesy Michael Meinhardt.

So in 2023, Meinhardt launched the Silicon Valley Showcase collegiate golf tournament at Green Hills. The Bronco women, of course, hit the green for individual and team play, as did Stanford and Pepperdine, which tied for the top team. At least two of the women who played in that tournament have since gone pro, including Rose Zhang from Stanford.

The tournament tees off the second time from March 10-12, 2024. This year, Matt McEvoy, who helped organize the PGA tour’s stop at Silverado Resort in Napa, is on board. The event includes speakers, an amateur event, and food from San Francisco’s famed Olympic Club. San Jose State and Washington State will also send golfers to the green.

The pair hope to grow the event and eventually land it on television, shining a light on some of the best up-and-coming athletes in the game.

Silicon Valley Showcase is hosted by Santa Clara University at Green Hills Country Club. Tickets are complimentary and can be reserved here.

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