A Beer With Shirley

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Marilynn Smith, one of the four surviving founders, hosts an annual golf tournament in Arizona to raise money for girls’ golf scholarships. After some phone calls and handwritten letters, I booked a trip west to meet her and Shirley Spork, another founder. Two crewmembers joined me to capture preliminary interviews and B roll. I just wanted to meet the women, hear their stories and get started on the film.

Shirley invited me to her hotel the night before the tournament. I expected to find an 80-year-old woman sitting in an armchair, prattling on with 60-year-old anecdotes. She’d be knitting or doing some other peaceful thing.

Instead, I stumbled upon a full-fledged party. Immediately, Shirley came to the door, shook my hand and welcomed me in.

“You want a beer?”

Women of all ages filled the room, smiling, laughing and fighting for airtime as they told stories about Shirley. Current pros, past pros, novices just starting — they all shared a love for their friend and teacher.

In this moment, it hit me. This wasn’t just a story about women starting a pro sports league. This was about these women — Shirley and Marilynn — who can’t help but spread joy and make friends. From that night on, they wrapped their arms around me and welcomed me in to their ever-expanding circle. These connections carried me through difficult seasons when things felt impossible. Thus, I’m even more humbled to complete this film and share their hearts with the world.

-Charlene Fisk, Director/Editor