Paula Creamer Adopted by Future Golfers

Awesome, outside-of-the-box ideas are what golf will be needing in 2009.

Already, the economy has taken a toll on recreational golf, and the myriad businesses that depend on it. Rounds are down, that we know. The National Golf Foundation expects less than 85 courses to open in 2008, the lowest in 20 years. It also expects around 100 golf courses to close. Furthermore, at this point, most economists agree there's little chance for a soft landing or a quick recovery.

Bringing young fans and players to the game is more urgent than ever, and it's something many of us talk about. But then we realize what we're up against. The game is expensive and time consuming, and often associated with out-of-shape senior citizens or exclusionary, elitist millionaires.

Let's face it, golf is not an easy sell, especially when you're trying to reach a young audience who've never been exposed to the joys of the game.

Enter Paula Creamer... and 24 other LPGA Tour pros, and a program called Adopt-a-Player.

It's simply one of the best ideas I've ever heard of for exposing uninitiated youngsters to the game. Adopt-A-Player revolves around the 2009 U.S. Women's Open, It targets 3rd and 4th grade school children in Eastern Pennsylvania (were the Open will take place). The kids build a kind of electronic "pen-pal" relationship with a player who'll compete in the tournament. Paula's participation is featured in this story and it's pretty obvious that both she and the kids who've adopted her are already getting a lot out of it.

I'll be updating this article later today, and I'll be covering the program often as we head into 2009, because I really feel that the idea is stellar.

In the meantime read more about it here. Let me know if you think it's as awesome as I do.