Before entering Mesa’s Longbow Golf Club, home of her weekend’s PING Heather Farr Classic, visitors are greeted by what Bob McNichols calls the “Walk of Champions.”

On either side of a short path, numerous pairs of white poles contain the names and photographs of the boys’ and girls’ champions of the Classic since 1999. Short biographies of each winner are attached to another pole alongside the Pictures.

As the “Walk” continues to the green, the path ends a short walk from the Longbow clubhouse. It is marked with a photo of the event’s namesake.

Heather Farr. 1965-1993.

“I tell people I’ve never met her, but I miss her,” said McNichols, chief executive of Longbow. “He was an incredible person and his legacy speaks for itself.”

Farr will be honored as 132 golfers compete in the Classic bearing her name. The three-day tournament which started on Friday and ends on Sunday. It is hosted by Longbow for the 19th time, is operated by the American Junior Golf Association.

According to Gayle Champagne, the former president of the AJGA, the goal of the organization is to provide playing opportunities for young golfers so that they are exposed to college coaching and college scholarships.

In 1985, Farr joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour at age 20 – becoming its youngest player at the time – after winning multiple championship titles at Arizona State. Four years later, the Phoenix native was diagnosed with breast cancer in the midst of her successful professional career which included six top 10 finishes in 1988. She eventually died of the disease in 1993.

“This tournament was very, very important to Heather Farr’s legacy,” said junior Johnnie Clark. “When I learned that she sadly passed away from breast cancer and was on her way to being one of the greatest, I hope AJGA and all of us players give her back. proud.”

Throughout the three-day competition, visitors to Longbow remember Farr’s life.

On the boardwalk leading to the course’s driving range, four signs titled “Heather Farr Facts” explain her success at the amateur, collegiate and professional levels and list posthumous honors, including the LPGA’s first Heather Farr Player Award in 1994.

Additionally, a 19-minute video about Farr will be shown at a barbecue for golfers and their families on Friday night.

“It’s a responsibility to be in this tournament,” said Samantha Olson, a sophomore and one of 19 participants from Arizona in the event. “Just to show our best and be thankful for what she did.”

the "march of champions" at the Longbow Golf Club.  On either side, visitors are greeted with photos of each winner of the PING Heather Farr Classic.

Farr was one of the first players to join the AJGA, and one of its greatest successes. The Xavier College Preparatory graduate won five events associated with the organization, including the 1982 AJGA Tournament of Champions.

“She’s one of the tops of the age with no sort of restriction on what our golfers can look to aim for on the road,” said Madi Hearney, AJGA Southwest Regional Manager. “She played in major leagues as a teenager and competed at the highest level and nothing really stopped her in that regard.

“It’s just a testament to what all juniors of this age (can accomplish) and creating a space where they can show their talent on a national stage like she was able to, but make it a little more accessible to them.

Of the approximately 120 events hosted by the AJGA, the PING Heather Farr Classic is one of its signature tournaments, according to McNichols. This weekend’s entrants include 56 verbally committed golfers in varsity programs and 31 ranked in the top 100 of the Rolex AJGA Rankings.

Raegan Capizzi (left) and Samantha Olson.  The sophomores are both local East Valley golfers.

McNichols added that the Classic is able to attract top talent from across the country as it is one of three events held over the Easter weekend. Players from 19 states participate in the tournament.

Champagne, currently a member of the AJGA board of directors, believes there is another reason for the tournament’s success: a professional setting.

His sighting was confirmed by the presence of college coaches. The event’s website shows that representatives from seven men’s programs traveled to Mesa, including coaches from the University of Southern California and Ohio State University. Further visits by coaches from the men’s and women’s golf teams are expected this weekend.

“This event is huge,” Clark said. “That’s how I’ve met a lot of the golf coaches I’m talking to right now.”