We were delighted when five-time Women’s South Carolina Amateur Champion Dawn Woodard, who plays out of the Thornblade Club in Greer, South Carolina, offered to help us improve our coverage of top-level women’s amateur golf. Dawn brings to this role her first hand experience and the professional insight she has gained from working with several collegiate teams and USGA Champions in her Judgment Matters consultancy.
As an introduction for our international readers, Dawn, who was on her way to play in the inaugural U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes, was kind enough to take part in a short Q&A session.
Dawn, how did your golf journey start?
I started playing golf when I was 8 years old. I grew up in a very small town in South Carolina that didn’t even have a traffic light, but it did have a golf course. We lived on the 12th fairway, and I spent my summers swimming in the pool and playing golf. I was always the athletic one who played all types of sports, so I gave golf a shot because it was right there in my back yard so why not?
Steve Heher, our head pro, was a huge supporter of junior golf and he took all the juniors under his wing. Steve taught us the entire game from basic skills and etiquette right through to competing. He used to take six or seven of us in his old “Astro” van to little junior golf tournaments and he helped us all improve. Although my parents were very supportive and always watched and helped in any way they could, they were not golfers so Steve was the one who filled that “teaching” role.
Wow…there are so many that I could name as golf courses that are phenomenal courses or great venues, and so many that have special memories for me from tournaments. I think my favorite golf course is tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina in Highlands, NC. Highlands Country Club offers an escape from the normal summer heat and humidity and it’s a great challenging round of golf with lifelong friends while surrounded by mountains and creeks. I always feel like time stands still when I’m there and I always leave wanting to go back.
That’s easy. The highlight that stands out for me is qualifying for the US Women’s Amateur in 2013. I had my 13-year-old daughter, Samantha, on the bag as my caddy, and I shot 73 and earned my spot through a playoff. To be a 39-year-old who had earned my way into the Amateur in my home state, and to have my friends and family come out and watch me play in a USGA event at that level was truly special. Having Samantha there to be part of it really sweetened the whole deal!
Dawn Woodard is a three-time USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Medalist, two-time USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Quarterfinalist, three-time USGA Women’s State Team Participant, two-time Carolina’s Women’s Match Play Champion, recipient of the 2012,2013, and 2014 Tuft’s Award for Player of the Year in the Carolinas, five-time South Carolina Women’s Match Play Champion, and five-time South Carolina Women’s Stroke Play Champion.