May 4, 2011
By Kelly Warren, Special to Together, Anything's Possible
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Tuesday was a great night for a good, brisk walk.
For the third consecutive year, the PGA TOUR Wives Association, in conjunction with the Avon Foundation for Women, held its Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence at the Quail Hollow Club, site of this week’s Wells Fargo Championship.
We estimate that about 1,100 people walked the course where PGA TOUR players will compete later this week. I was amazed at the turnout this year. A few dozen of that 1,100 were PGA TOUR wives. We’ve really come a long way in only three years of supporting this cause.
I was involved with the initial planning of our first walk, and we’ve really grown. Avon has been such a great partner. They are a group who plans and executes very successful walks all over the country so we left it up to them to orchestrate this one. We just get the wives and girlfriends here, we get the guys here—yes, several TOUR players made the walk—and Quail Hollow opens the doors for us. Although the skies were threatening earlier in the day, it was a perfect night. That was great because last year we were rained out.
The walk, and the money raised through pledges, is a good concept. We get a lot of people out here who don’t normally come to the tournament. They walk the course and learn a little about PGA TOUR golf while at the same time bringing light to this important cause and raising a lot of money.
It’s true that domestic violence is one of those topics that isn’t talked about much. Amy Wilson, our president, was kind of thinking outside the box when she had the idea and embraced the subject of supporting a cause that would help those affected by domestic violence. It’s something we haven’t really tackled as an organization. We are involved in a lot of children’s charities, but we hadn’t done anything related to this. It was just a good fit, and the area here and the people have really embraced it.
I was blown away by the turnout and the money we raised in that first year. The fact that all the money goes straight to shelters here in North Carolina is wonderful, and we continue to raise more and more money each year.
I understand that maybe people are ashamed or possibly afraid to talk about the subject of domestic violence, so hopefully we’re shining a little light on a horrible subject. Due to the nature of domestic violence, I’m sure I’ve encountered people in my life who are dealing with this issue but doing it behind closed doors.
So it is really important for me to be able to do this walk each year, and I always get to do it with my younger sister, Kristen, who lives here. And my 18-month-old daughter, Riley, went along, as well. I have a good stroller so there was no problem pushing her around during our walk.
It’s interesting, though. Walking the golf course while watching my husband play golf is exercise, but it’s a stop-start, stop-start, stop-start kind of thing. Tonight was a little different than that, and my sister and I were really keeping a good pace. We enjoyed the weather, had good conversation and knew we were supporting a great cause.
So, yes, I am a little tired. That said, though, I’m glad we can do this sort of thing. I think we as wives get a stigma sometimes that we’re always at the mall or we’re ladies who lunch. I like seeing the surprised looks we sometimes see on people’s faces when we come out to walk a few miles to raise money for a worthwhile charity, we’re working with kids or we’re volunteering at a food bank. It just makes me feel good, and I love being part of an organization that does so much to bring a focus on these important issues.
Kelly Warren has been married to PGA TOUR golfer Charles Warren for nine years, and she has been actively involved in the PGA TOUR Wives Association for seven years. The Warrens are the parents of two children, and they make their home in Greenville, S.C.
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