Meet the woman who helps make LPGA working-mom life possible

Mondays on the LPGA Tour tend to be a little slow. Players, caddies and coaches are usually just arriving, often straight from the previous week’s venue. There generally aren’t any press conferences on the schedule, media presence is sparse and many players use the day as an offsite rest day.

Bu that’s not the case for Bardine May, who has served as the LPGA’s Child Development Center director for more than two decades. The LPGA’s daycare offering is unique in the world of professional women’s sports, as the tour is the only organization that provides childcare for its players and staff. The program is limited to tournaments in the U.S. and Canada, though it has traveled overseas for international Solheim Cups.

While Monday is the only day of the week that the center isn’t open to players, it’s still a work day for May — and a busy one at that. It involves setting up whatever space the tour has designated as that week’s childcare center to make it soothing, welcoming and engaging for the players’ children who will be in her care. Those kids range from newborns to school-age, and the week I visited, at the Ford Championship in Gilbert, Ariz., May was expecting to welcome two new babies whose mothers were fresh off of maternity leave.

“We have a lot of babies starting this year, which is nice,” May said. “We’re like a family. Our little ones really enjoy the older kids, and watching and learning from them. The olders kind of get annoyed with the youngers, but yet they like to help out and teach the young kids how to do things.”

May started her childcare career in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she managed a Bright Horizons branch at Citibank. In 2003, the LPGA became a Bright Horizons client, and May felt ready to try something new. At the time, she hadn’t traveled much — the flight to Chicago for her interview was her first time on a plane. But she got the job and embarked on what has become a 21-year tenure. It was good timing for May. A mom of three herself, her youngest was a senior in high school when she started with the LPGA. Now, May has six grandkids.

When May started in 2003, there were 27 kids in LPGA daycare and four staffers to care for them. Attendance ebbs and flows. By 2015, enrollment was down to two, and there was a question of whether or not the daycare would continue. But thanks to support from players like Cristie Kerr, the program endured. Today, enrollment is back up to 21 children.

This week, May and her two staffers were expecting nine children, all of whom come and go at various times, depending on mom’s competitive schedule. Each age group has a curriculum that May adheres to.

“We try to make it fun, yet learning activities,” she said. “So they’re ready to go to kindergarten.”

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