Lauren's Vison Lauren's Blog
A couple months after the death of my parents, my college coach and I proposed an idea for a tournament in their honor. This tournament was to be considered the “Masters” of women’s collegiate golf. As the Judson Collegiate has developed, it has come to encompass many values of my parents. Not only does it include friendly competition among the most elite of college players, but it also benefits the Judson Women's Leadership Conference. Three core values my parents held dear were faith, family, and friends. I am truly honored to share these values of raising money for charity, spending time with friends, and the legacy of sharing my parents with all involved in this tournament.
Jim and Beth Judson, well-known in the Atlanta Catholic and philanthropic communities, were killed on October 26, 2010 when the small private plane Jim was piloting crashed in stormy weather over Mississippi. The Judsons had flown to Mississippi to watch their daughter, Lauren, as she competed in a golf tournament for The University of Southern Mississippi in nearby Memphis, Tennessee.
They were wonderful giving people who were devoted to their children and were often quoted as saying that what they enjoyed most in life was spending time with their children, Dean and Lauren.
After their deaths, Lauren Judson wanted to honor her parents in some way. Since she and her dad shared the passion of golf and her parents were all about supporting and working with various community and educational groups, it seemed that a charity collegiate golf event might be a perfect fit.
Lauren originally wanted to host a collegiate event in Atlanta and invite teams to play. She talked with the children’s guardian, Kirk Knous, about her prospects. He, in turn, asked PGA Professional, Jackie Cannizzo from the family’s home course at Country Club of Roswell to look into the idea. Having known the Judson family for many years and having seen Lauren and Dean grow up in the CCR Junior Golf Program, Jackie wanted to help Lauren realize her vision of honoring her parents.
When looking at the “major amateur events”, it became clear to Jackie that many had limited fields, required qualifiers, special restrictions, and a large number were match play competitions. After talking and brainstorming with Lisa Chirichetti and several other coaches, Jackie recommended Lauren host an individual stroke play event to fill the apparent gap in competition for top collegiate players in the U.S. This recommendation was supported by Lauren Judson and thus The Judson Collegiate was born.
Rosie Jones, LPGA great and Legends Tour player, had wanted to bring the Legends Tour to Atlanta and when presented with this opportunity, she thought it would be special to combine the two events into one great event. From 2012 to 2015 The Judson Collegiate & Legends Pro-Am Challenge was hosted by Lauren Judson and Rosie Jones. Even though the Legends are no longer participating, it was inspirational to have the best women players to play the game of golf paired with the future of the game. The JCI Foundation is grateful for the relationship it developed with The Legends Tour through Rosie Jones' leadership and the impact the Legends players had on the collegians who got the chance to play along side them.
The plans for The Judson Collegiate in 2016 include an expansion of the collegiate field for the 3-day stroke play competition and a greater focus on mentoring between the college players and business leaders/experts participating in the college-am experience.