They call Jan Stephenson the Marilyn Monroe of women’s golf.
She just got inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in early June. And now she’s coming to Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township.
The details for the July 20 event at Forsgate are hardly even relevant, because club officials expect Stephenson’s mere presence to pack the house. But the events should be fun as well.
From noon to 1 p.m., Stephenson will teach a golf clinic. At 1 p.m., the club will serve as a host to a tournament for event attendees. After the tournament, a cocktail reception and wine tasting will begin at 5:30. Then a dinner will immediately follow the reception.
Tickets to the entire day and night cost $145 for members and $160 for non-members.
“I grew up watching her. Off the course she made golf sexy and she had the game to back it up,” said Carolyn Mackenzie Andrews, Forsgate’s director of golf. “It’ll make for a great event.”
“For all the young girls that played golf, she paved the way,” declared Kaitlin Hogan, the executive assistant to the CEO at Metropolitan Golf Group, which owns Forsgate Country Club. “It’s neat that Forsgate will get to have her.”
Stephenson helped popularize the Ladies Professional Golf Association, or LPGA, in the 1970s and ’80s. The Australian’s long drives, bushy blonde hair and athletic body made her the face of the sport and a national beauty symbol. Stephenson won three LPGA major championships, 16 tour events in all and graced the covers of countless magazines and calendars.
She even dated current U.S. President Donald J. Trump in the 1970s. Stephenson broke up with Trump because he wanted her to choose their relationship over golf, according to an April 2016 Daily Mail Australia article.
“She was so cutting edge,” said Andrews.
Chris Schiavone, the founder, president and CEO of Metropolitan Golf Group, knows Stephenson and initially brought her to the club last summer for a similar event. Stephenson owns “Jan Stephenson Wine Spirits” now, a wine and rum company, and the Forsgate dinner helps her promote her products.
“So many times, because of their higher price, ‘celebrity’ wines are only affordable for special occasions,” Stephenson wrote on her business’s website. “My goal was to bring to the market a quality wine that could be affordable for daily consumption.”
“We sold some of her wine last year and sold it out,” Hogan reported. “We’re excited she’s bringing her rum now, too.”
Last year’s event drew a large crowd. The addition of rum should ensure a repeat performance, if not an even larger crowd of both members and non-members.
“We’re hoping for a large number of people,” Andrews said. “We like to give a special day to our members and allow non members to have an experience at Forsgate.”
“We’re always looking to show off our wonderful facilities,” Hogan added.
Part of the proceeds from the event will go to Forsgate so it can cover its operation costs. The rest of the proceeds will go to Stephenson’s Crossroads Foundation, which raises money for U.S. Military veterans.
“It’s not about us making money,” Hogan said. “It’s about the experience of having a hall of famer come and enjoy a day with members and guests.”