• Keeping Friends

Friendship on the fairway: Keeping it evergreen

Published: January 11, 2008 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | Reply Continue Reading

If you ask two friends to describe how they became Besties, they usually say “we just clicked.”

That certainly is the case for Sal Henley Kibler and Mari Maseng Will, now both 53 years old, who first met at freshman orientation at the University of South Carolina. They pledged the same sorority and roomed together from their sophomore year on. “Maybe we were drawn to each other because we were the tallest women we had ever met,” jokes Mari. (At 6 feet she is just two inches taller than Sal.)

Turning an instant friendship into a lasting one requires time and effort but Sal and Mari have been able to maintain their relationship over the years by playing the game: golf. “We are God parents for each other’s children and seem to go through life’s twists and turns pretty much at the same time,” says Sal. Despite living states apart, their shared love of golf has helped them stay connected and remain close to one another.

“Our playing ebbs and flows with the time available since we are both trying to work, raise children and spend time with our husbands,” says Mari, who lives in Washington, D.C.

“We started playing golf about five years ago, once our kids got to be tweens and our careers were a little more established,” says Sal. Now the women try to play together at least once every six weeks, although it doesn’t always work out that way.

Like most women, they find it hard to justify time away for themselves. “We are getting better at that, though,” says Mari. “Our common interest erases the miles, and the years,” she says. “We laugh all the way across the course and it feels good. Women need their
community of women friends to lean on. Golf provides opportunities to be together and hours of time to talk and laugh – in the outdoors and at beautiful settings. The game is all about the golfer and the course— at that moment. There’s no room in your head for work pressures, science projects and what you’re going to do about dinner.”

Both women place a high priority on their friendship. They realize that no matter how hard they try—their work, children and families are never going to be perfect—so they might as well have fun. “Our colleagues, our children and our husbands seem to be happier when we are,” says Mari.

Sal Henley Kibler is publisher of momseasychair.com, an online magazine and community for women who also happen to be moms. She has held executive positions at several leading advertising agencies in Atlanta, and ran her own marketing consulting firm. Mari Maseng Will was a speech writer for President Reagan and served as his last communications director. She ran corporate relations for a worldwide consumer products company, and served as press secretary and then communications director in Bob Dole’s Presidential campaigns. Today she runs her own business consulting with major corporations, industry groups and non-profit organizations.

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