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Newell golf athlete hits line drive with beef

F.Ganje - September 17, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, SD – Ask Newell High School senior Abbie Nelson which she likes better – beef or golf – and it’s probably be a toss-up.  But there’s no doubt that her golf game and growing up On a four generation farm and ranch family landed her a plum role at the Sanford International PGA Tour of Champions coming up in Sioux Falls.

“I’m excited to be able to participate in a PGA event and excited that I get to represent the South Dakota beef industry,” says Nelson.

As the premiere protein sponsor for the professional tournament that will play to up to 100,000 spectators, the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) likes to pair young people with innovative opportunities to keep them excited about beef and spreading the good news about the gate to plate connection.  The Council’s Beef Caddy program  fits that to a tee (pun intended) says SDBIC Executive Director, Suzy Geppert.

“One of the things we’re always trying to do is figure out ways for our ag youth to be involved in our industry,” says Geppart.  “We know they are the leaders of tomorrow. If we can get them involved when they’re young, we’re hoping they will continue that involvement as they get older.”

She continues, “Last year we worked with the PGA organizers to allow for one beef caddy.  This year we’re able to put four caddies out there – all of who will be sharing their stories and experiences – from pasture to plate.”

Nelson, along with three other young people from around the state, will get a first-hand chance to share their stories during the Pro-Am competition set for September 18-19. The PGA Tour of Champions will be held September 20-22.  Both are set on the Minnehaha Country Club in Sioux Falls, SD.  

“It’s important for people to know where their food comes from.  I hope in sharing my experiences, others learn more about the important role beef plays in the economy and in food production and consumption and will also view agriculture in a more positive light,” she notes.

As an eighth grader, Abbie started playing at the Newell Golf Club just north of town.  She’s been playing ever since, qualifying for state tournament play the past four years. “I’ve been playing since I was young and I love it more every year.”

It’s the first PGA tournament she will be attending and she doesn’t plan to let the opportunity to get one-on-one with professional golfers pass her by – for a couple of reasons.

“We get paired with a professional for both days,” shares Nelson.  ‘I’ll get the opportunity to tell that person about the experiences I’ve had on my farm and ranch. We can exchange experiences about beef, golf, and making a career in a sport that I really have a passion for.”

South Dakota’s beef industry will be visible throughout the event, says Geppert. “They brought the tournament to South Dakota last year. We sat down with Pro Sports, Inc., and developed a partnership with what we thought we could do to enhance the event as a destination location,” shares Geppert.  

“This year we’re expanding it with viewing stations and an expo tent that will include a lot of beef education and marketing and promotion of our product.  The ‘signature burger’ that was developed just for the event, will be served as well. 

Abbie, the daughter of Gary and Lisa Nelson, is currently looking at colleges and hopes to find a golf program that’s a good fit for her.  She is also considering PGA management as a possible option.

“There are colleges with PGA management programs that I’ve taken an interest in.  With a degree, you could manage a course or manage PGA events. I think I would enjoy that.”

See more about the beef industry’s role in the Sanford International PGA Tour of Champions by going on line at www.sdbeef.org.

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