by Allie White

The US Women’s Open is the biggest tournament in women’s golf and perhaps the biggest sporting event in women’s sports. This year, the gates of Lancaster Country Club admitted roughly 25,000 people a day to watch. It’s a big deal!

I’m a pro golfer and every year around May I try to qualify for the Open through one of the USGA’s qualifying sites. Any woman with a handicap under 2.4 can give it a whirl. I play on the Symetra Tour (women’s golf’s  version of Triple A baseball). Most of us Symetra Tour players usually try for the Open.

I made the 2009 Open at Saucon Valley in Pennsylvania. It was awesome. This year the Open was again in Pennsylvania… Lancaster Country Club. I grew up playing golf at Lancaster Country Club in Ohio and I also take lessons from Sally Austin who lives on Lancaster Drive. Coincidence? I think not! Obviously, I thought it would be a triangle of destiny that I return to Pennsylvania to win the Open this year. Right?

The USGA has 25 qualifying sites and I picked Boston, not Korea, England, or China but Boston, because it has the northern grass I grew up playing. After 36 holes in 47 degrees and rain I found myself in the clubhouse with a spot in the Open field and one group still to finish. Of course young Megan Khang came in one stroke better than me and just like that I was on a plane ride home with nothing more than a first alternate spot. Still there was a slim outside chance that enough people would withdraw and I would get a spot.

By Wednesday before the Open I still hadn’t gotten that phone call to come play. So what the heck,  I decided to drive over to PA and wait on the putting green in case somebody had to withdraw suddenly. There were four of us waiting.

After a seven-hour drive on the Turnpike, an overnight in a less-than-four-star Days Inn and waking up at 4 a.m. in a drizzle, I didn’t play in the Open. Thanks triangle of destiny.  However, on the bright side, being a US Open alternate had some sweet perks. Here is an inside look at why it’s the best way to watch an Open ever!

  1. I parked next to the clubhouse? Yeah, that’s right I did. After being told by the USGA, I would need to talk my way in for parking, I boldly drove right past road closed signs, orange cones, a policeman who pulled me over, parking security, until I found myself right in front of the clubhouse. By the afternoon the whole parking lot was solid Lexus’ (official car of the Open) except for my blue Prius (the Batmobile). Proud moment!

    car at usopen
  2. An Empty Practice Facility. Okay, so besides getting to hit on the range while Michelle Wie was whacking away, and putt around with Stacey Lewis on the green, I also had a whoallie white us womens open golfle wedge area to myself between the hours of 6:00am and 7:00am before Suzann Pettersen started firing balls at me.
  3. Volunteers! Just like the grand majority of golf events, the volunteers at the Open were the difference
    makers!
  4. Michelle Wie. It was a blast watching hordes of people following Michelle Wie with her interesting putting stroke.
  5. Hanging out with Fellow Alt Jean Chua. Symetra competitor, Jean Chua (pictured above) helped keep my spirits up as we slowly lost all hope of playing… good time for a putting contest.
  6. Player Dining. Yeah, so I went ahead and used my alternate badge to talk my way into player dining too. I had breakfast with Marina Alex and a few hours later she was leading the tourney? No problem, Marina.
  7. Player Dining. Not only was breakfast awesome, but so was lunch. And being that there were athletes everywhere, the ice cream line was really short….
  8. Laura Davies. I watched Laura the Legend, age 51, knock it on the green on 7 like it was nothing. Take that youngens!
  9. 25,000 People Outside and No Phones. How often in the 21st Century do you see so many people outside enjoying each other’s company not cramped and staring at a cell phone screen? Old school fun!
  10. Allie with Sarah Bejgrowicz Spending the day with a Friend! Luckily for me, my friend Sarah Bejgrowicz grew up playingLancaster Country Club and was in town visiting her family. Not only did she help me bust into parking, player dining, and the practice facilities, she was ready for me if I needed a caddy. Big thanks to Sarah!

Being an alternate was fun, but next year I’ll be shooting for the tee!

Allie WhiteAllie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks. 

“I grew up on an 88-acre farm in Southeast Ohio and currently live in the same area with my dog Finley where I cheer like crazy for all of my favorite Ohio sports teams. I love to play my guitar, listen to music, watch movies, and read good stuff! 
My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”

Follow Allie online on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

20 COMMENTS

  1. Great article I know for sure next year your fortunes will change and you will be in the OPEN. Good luck.

  2. This was a fun read. I felt like I was there in Lancaster, PA. I liked reading the “insider’s” perspective from the voice of a young woman golfer who is striving to someday play in the LPGA.
    Good for Allie White. Let’s hear more from her.
    Jackie Barton
    Sacramento, CA

  3. I have to say I am honored to be able to say I know Allie White! Hands down the best athlete I have ever seen and have had the privilege of competing with. Even though our competition lies on the tennis court it is still so great to see you performing well at something you love! Great article Allie I look forward to reading more from you.

  4. Great article! Can’t wait to read about how you got yourself inside the PGA Open now!
    Determine like you are, you’ll be in the LPGA Open has a player next year for sure!

  5. What an awesome experience!! Next year you’ll be in the field!! Thanks for the insight into life inside the ropes!

  6. Awesome read! Great writing, Allie– always fun to hear about your experiences and look forward to reading more!

  7. Well done Allie! Our original intention was to be at the Open this year, but we had to changs plans at the last minute. Reading your article was the next best thing to being there. We always enjoy your blogs for the Symetra tour and we believe you should continue to develop this ” inside the ropes” approach to golf reporting. Your golf knowledge coupled with your natural up-beat personality make you a natural!
    Good luck for the rest of the season,
    Wally and Eileen Stevenson

  8. Loved the article – Allie has a great outlook on her golf career and does a unique job sharing those experiences with fans! Great read and looking forward to others

  9. BATMAN!!!! This was a great peak behind the curtain of the tournament. Lots of interesting details, with humor, and positivity. With that perspective you’ll be hoisting the trophy in no time…and with your own entourage following you around the practice green. Keep writing, I’ll keep reading!

  10. I have enjoyed reading Allie’s blogs about being “Outside the Ropes” then “Inside the Ropes” during her career on the Symetra Tour. Only Allie could write about the positive and humorous side of being an alternate at the U.S. Open in such an entertaining way. Looking forward to reading more articles and hopefully getting Allie’s insights into playing on the LPGA tour soon.

  11. Wow! That was a great article Allie. Keep up the good work. Look forward to seeing the next one.

  12. Good things happen to those who hustle and you are definitely hustling, Allie. We are all so proud of you and your passion for the sport.

  13. We fully expect that future Women’s U.S. Opens will have EV/Hybrid-Only parking waiting for you. You just pull in there and make yourself and your infectiously positive attitude right at home. So glad Elaine’s home state made you feel welcome. Being from Wisconsin, Ken was delighted to hear about the ice cream line.

  14. Allie-

    Great article and a perfect “Top Ten”! Go easy on the parking next time! Someday, you may find yourself driving a Lexus; without a place to park it!

  15. Nice article from an insider’s perspective. Would love to see more articles from Allie.

  16. Thank you all for the nice notes! So the Bat Mobile and I are off to Sioux Falls South Dakota for the Symetra Tour’s second major of the season this weekend. It’s only a 16 hour 960 mile drive from Ohio to Sioux Falls so no worries 🙂 Good luck to the ladies competing in the LPGA’s Yokohama Classic down in Alabama this weekend! It oughtta be a fun weekend of golf! Cheers! Allie

  17. Love hearing about the sisters supporting each other on their adventures on the tour! No doubt they are able to compete better each week, just knowing the built-in support is right next to them to vent or just sit with after every round!
    So impressive to see siblings at such a high level – I like that they got a shout out for their accomplishments.
    Love to my sister!! Keep rocking it Symetra Ladies!

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