The most interest you see many kids taking in golf may be at an amusement indoor or outdoor park on the miniature golf field. They take turns putting the ball and have fun with their friends on a condensed course.
The most interest you see many kids taking in golf may be at an amusement indoor or outdoor park on the miniature golf field. They take turns putting the ball and have fun with their friends on a condensed course. Well, not Erica and Myah Jackson – ages 11 and 9, respectively. They are known throughout the United States as the Birdie Sisters. They came up with the name on a whim one Sunday while they were attending church.
The premiere golfers that have played competitively on high-profile golf courses, including Cog Hill in west suburban Lemont, Glenview National in north suburban Glenview, Doral Golf Resort in Miami , Pinehurst in Pinehurst, N.C. and Torrey Pines in San Diego, to name a few. The sisters have also played on the Tiger Woods Foundation Junior Golf Team last year and are part of the Illinois Junior Golf Association. Erica was undefeated in the IJGA this season.
Most recently, the Birdie Sisters played in the Pinehurst 2009 World Championship and Teen World Championship in North Carolina, where they were revered as among the nation’s up-and-coming young female golfers.
At age 4, Erica was introduced to the world of golf by parents Eric Jackson and Marsha Ross-Jackson. It was a “way of life” for the family who had no background in the sport. “The biggest opportunity in sports for Black women is golf. There is a huge need for it. Like any other field, you know what the market demands. We saw the opportunity to position the girls to blaze a trail in the sport,” said Eric Jackson.
For a half-hour three days each week, Erica would take lessons at Glenwood National Golf Course in the south suburbs. When Myah came along and saw big sister golfing, she wanted to follow in her footsteps. Since they started young, the girls thought golf was a sport that everyone played. It was normal for them. They had no idea they were in the “minority” when it came to the sport, the father said.
The lessons at Glenwood weren’t strenuous, the dad said, crediting their coach for continuously coming up with ways to pique their interest in the game at such a young age. The Birdie Sisters caught on quickly and they were “off and running,” he said. “Size doesn’t matter. No matter how big or small you are, you can do it. But, never doubt yourself or it won’t happen,” said Erica, a sixth-grader whose goal is to play in the LPGA.
Erica has already made history in the industry. She was the first female recipient of the Peggy Kirk Bell Award, honoring a young golfer making a difference in a community. Bell is a charter member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
Younger sister Myah, a fourth grader who loves to read, said golf teaches her about life. “When you make a bad shot, you don’t have to be mad about it. You just keep getting better at it,” she said.
Click here to see a video of the Birdie sisters.
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