Eleven-year-old Parkview School student Gabriella Mercado recently won the ‘Share My Passion’ letter writing contest held by the ANNIKA Foundation in conjunction with LPGA*USGA Girls Golf. This contest encouraged girls ages 6-12 to write an open letter to other girls explaining why they love the game of golf. Out of the hundreds of letters submitted, Gabriella was hand selected as one of just 40 contest finalists.
As a reward for her passionate letter, Gabriella was given the chance to attend the inaugural ‘Share My Passion’ Girls Golf Clinic hosted by Annika Sörenstam, founder of the ANNIKA Foundation and one of the most successful female golfers in history. During the clinic, Gabriella received instruction from Annika’s team of world-renowned instructors covering the fundamentals of driving, putting, shot execution, and the importance of fitness.
Here is Gabriella’s contest-winning letter:
Dear Girls of the World,
Hi. My name is Gabriella. I was born in the rainy state of Washington. Before I played golf, I tried other activities such as gymnastics, tennis, swimming, and Karate. We moved to California when I was 8. My parents enrolled me in the The First Tee of Orange County and Girls Golf. I was very reluctant to try it because I am always afraid and nervous when trying something new. The coaches made me feel welcome and encouraged me a lot. I strongly recommend you give it a try!
I am passionate about golf because you can learn to be a leader. By being a leader, you can help teach others about important life lasting skills. Something else that’s fun in golf is competition. I am passionate about golf because it allows me to compete in a safe and friendly environment.
There are many reasons why golf is great. While on the course, you can get exercise by walking or ride around in a golf cart. I love the nice relaxing scent and view of nature when I play golf. It’s beautiful. Another reason why I love golf is you can make friends and wear cute outfits with them! Wearing matching outfits is always fun. Sometimes when I am having a difficult day (like when I am reminded of my dad’s cancer treatment), I can channel my energy and focus on making my shot better.
Girls should play golf because they can play. There are some professional sports where there are no girl teams, like football. Golf is a sport for all to enjoy. The young, old, fast, slow, tall, short, it doesn’t matter in golf! Together us girls can make a difference. Let’s go show our girl power by playing golf!
Gabriella G. Mercado (age 11)