What a surprise, to turn on the Golf Channel’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship and see a new third analyst… this new broadcaster… an athlete herself… a scholarly one at that… none other than the Amanda Blumenherst. If you are a golf fan… you must remember Amanda Blumenherst… she’s kind of a BIG DEAL.
When I was a freshman in college at the University of North Carolina before the world knew anything about Lydia Ko, or Brooke Henderson, in the awesome year of 2008, there was one golfer that everyone knew. And in contrast to many golfers today who often skip the college road, this Amanda Blumenherst was a college academic stud. And that was cool.
Not only that, she was one of the best female college golfers that ever played. Even, an unattentive freshman like myself, who cheered loudly against the Blue Devils basketball squad, knew that this Duke girl owned college golf.
During her years at the university, from 2006 to 2009, she stacked up 3 National Players of the Year, two NCAA Team Championships, 3 Individual ACC Championships, Two Dinah Shore Trophies for best in academics and athletics, and a top ten at the 2006 US Women’s Open.
Furthermore, according to everyone I’ve ever talked to, Amanda Blumenherst was and is a top notch person as well. One of those people, that kicks butt in the kindness and community service departments.
After she graduated from Duke with her English degree (go English majors!) and her fellow ACC Player of the Year, soon to be husband, Duke baseball player Nate Freiman, in hand; Amanda headed out onto the pro tour.
After four relatively successful years on the LPGA with appearances in all of the majors and four LPGA top tens, Amanda Blumenherst decided to take a break from professional golf. The family life was calling.
But now she’s back with a twist… She has returned to the golf world, to test out her skills as a broadcaster under the guidance of the Golf Channel. If you had a chance to see any of the ultra exciting NCAA’s where the University of Washington took down Stanford in an epic matchplay performance then you know that Amanda Blumenherst was not surprisingly an excellent broadcaster.
On air she noted that “adrenaline was palpable” and she marveled at the “incredible grit and grind” of the college golfers.
So, how did Amanda find her way to a Golf Channel analyst position for the NCAA’s?
Last year, Blumenherst was throwing out some feelers to the Golf Channel looking for work with the golf media giant. “I told them if they ever needed help to put me on their list,” she said.
As fate would have it, a few months ago the Golf Channel started discussing having a third analyst for their presentation of the NCAA Women’s National Championship. And Amanda Blumenherst fitted the bill. The fact that she won the 2008 US Amateur Championship at Eugene Country Club – the course where NCAA’s were taking place- helped make her the perfect fit.
Getting the call from Golf Channel didn’t take long. Blumenherst relayed that, “They asked me if I wanted to do it and I said tell me where to be.”
But how did she like her new role?
“I loved it. It was a lot more work than I had thought. I didn’t realize how much went into it. I wanted to be very prepared. I didn’t want to just show up and be like ‘what should I do now?’. I did a lot of homework on the players and teams. It took up a lot of time. It felt like being back in the classroom a little bit. I studied and took notes and then when it came to the actual broadcasting I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The scholar athlete was right at home studying up on the players and stepping in front of the camera. She admitted that she was a little nervous (I didn’t see it!) during the whole process but she found help from an old friend.
“Paige Mackenzie is one of my best friends so it was great she was doing it with me. I had never done anything like this. That first day was the first time I had ever been on the other side of the interview. Usually, I am getting the questions. So I was very nervous but I enjoyed it.”
For me personally, when I was watching the championship, I was pretty jealous that the girls were getting to play in a televised match play event. When Amanda and I were playing, the NCAA’s were always just stroke play events with no TV coverage.
I asked Amanda if she had felt the same envy?
“I was very jealous of the teams. When I was at Duke we won nationals my freshman and sophomore year under the stroke play format, so I’m not going to complain about the outcome of those two years (Amanda laughs). However, it would have been so amazing had it been televised and match play. It was so exciting to see teams get so excited for each other and see how much camaraderie was created by matchplay.”
Despite, being a tad envious, Amanda enjoyed watching the college golfers.
“I was so impressed with the quality of play and also their poise and composure for the entire week. That is a very long week of golf. It reminded me a lot of the US Amateur with stroke play and match play.”
Blumenherst noted that it was neat to watch the golfers play the same course that she had won her US Am Championship on.
“The course is so tight off the tee when I look back I thought, ‘Oh my gosh I had to play very well to win this- these are really narrow fairways and small greens’. It gave me a little more appreciation for how well that I played because the course is not easy. ‘And I shot that number? That’s real good!’”
You know what else is real good?
Well, Amanda just announced to her family and friends that she is three and half months pregnant with baby number two! OH YEAH!
Between the baby on the way and her 19-month-old, Will, Amanda and her husband Nate Freiman are going to have their hands full! All of us here at womensgolf.com send both Amanda and Nate a big congratulations!
With Nate being a traveling MLB baseball player, who currently plays for the Portland Maine Sea Dogs but spent time in the big leagues with the Oakland A’s, the whole family spends a lot of time on the road. Baby Will has already visited 20 different states! I wonder if baby number two can beat that? Amanda Jr.?
Even though family life has happily taken a center stage for Amanda, she still mixes her love for golf and community service by helping with three or so golf clinics a year at US Air Force bases around the world. In addition to that, Amanda also stays connected with her home state, Indiana’s, charity, the Lifetime Sports Academy.
“It’s for kids who can’t purchase golf clubs or tennis racquets for themselves or afford lessons. So for tennis, swimming, and golf, the three lifetime sports, it gives kids lessons throughout the summer. On the golf side of things the kids that stick with it throughout high school can earn a scholarship to local colleges and can also earn clubs and other sporting equipment and it’s all free.”
So, if you were like me and wondering whatever happened to Duke’s star golfer Amanda Blumenherst…. How is her life now? Is it still full without the grind of professional golf? … Then now you now.
Life for Amanda seems darn good… she continues serving the golf and sports world with her community service and has taken her time away from competitive golf to develop her blossoming family… and that’s pretty neat.
But that leaves one big question still on my mind, will we see Amanda in the TV booth again anytime soon?
“I hope so. I would love to do it four or five times a year. I enjoyed it so much and I had some great positive feedback from family and friends and the Golf Channel.”
Sounds like a great idea to me… how bout y’all? 🙂
Allie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”