The 2019 winner of the Peggy Kirk Bell Award is an exuberant 11-year old golfer from Denham Springs, Louisiana, who enjoys talking about her parents, her brother and her dog, Daisy. And she already has a foundation that encourages other young girls to play the game of golf.
Sophia Macias is the 11th recipient of the award given by U.S. Kids Golf to honor the true legend, local icon and golf pioneer who resided in Pinehurst. In tribute to the late Mrs. Bell, the winner is chosen based on their demonstration of outstanding philanthropy and inspiration through their efforts on and off the golf course. Sophia, at her young age, knows the meaning of both philanthropy and inspiration.
“Sophia certainly exemplifies the spirit that Mrs. Bell would understand and appreciate,” said U.S. Kids Golf President and CEO Dan Van Horn. “She recognizes that inspiring other young girls to take up the game of golf, develop deep friendships and participate in the community spirit is what ‘giving back’ is all about. We are very proud of our 2019 winner.”
With the help of her mom and dad, Laura and James, Sophia has started No Worries, Just Birdies, the foundation which is a launching pad for young and beginner golfers who want to make a difference for others, just as she does. Says her father: “Sophia and I bounce ideas off of each other until we find somethings that works. Sophia has gone to businesses or candidates to explain our cause and get the word out.”
In addition to golf tournaments encouraging the involvement for young girls, one of the ideas that made the short list was the need for improving playground equipment at a local elementary school. A golf tournament at her home club, Greystone Golf and Country Club, raised enough money to improve the playground and install equipment for special needs students.
In February, seven adult basketball teams came together for a fundraising event called Glory Days that covered expenses to put air conditioning in the gym at the school attended by many of her friends.
“They are really excited about it,” explained Sophia. “The fact that they have AC in there is amazing, and it is a lot cooler.”
Her father added: “It’s a family affair, and we work well as a team. Most of the ‘advertising’ is done on social media. As for the air conditioning, members of our community wanted to help with the install, and few local businesses donated materials, labor and time.”
The family team includes her 10-year old brother Trace, also a golfer and the one that she calls one of the “most amazing people” she knows.
“He is always making someone laugh, always making someone feel good,” she added. “The whole golf thing started with him because he was the one who wanted to get out there and swing a golf club. And yes, he absolutely does play in U.S. Kids Golf events, too.”
Both parents describe their daughter as determined and driven.
“She is determined in everything she pursues and when she makes up her mind that she is going to do something, it gets done,” said mom Laura.
Then she laughed as she offered this assessment also: “She can be a little sassy, too.”
Both parents agreed that she has a kind heart and is especially kind to her peers.
Sophia has been playing golf for five years and plays about three hours of golf each day to keep her game going well. She says while her putting needs works, the best part of her game is her long irons because she has been playing in adult tournaments and recently won the Baton Rouge Ladies Amateur. She is also on the cross-country team at her school, Episcopal School in Baton Rouge and also likes drawing, hand lettering, and working in the garden.
The Peggy Kirk Bell Award winner learned of the award last year when Tommy Morrissey won and is quite excited to be the recipient this year.
“Tommy had such amazing accomplishments and my incentive to enter was to show people that little things can make a huge difference,” Sophia said. “I was speechless and very excited to know that I had been picked out of entries from around the whole world. It inspires me to do even greater things.”
Her plans for the future?
“I would like to find a college that I have a passion for, feel at home, that offers a good education, and that has a ‘sort of good’ golf team,” she offered. “Like Stanford University. I want to play on the LPGA and be a part-time botanist.”