Local legend: Ann Swanson

Local legend: Ann Swanson

Amateur

Local legend: Ann Swanson

By

Seattle

AGE: 69

CLUB AFFILIATION: Sand Point Country Club, Seattle

OCCUPATION: Golf coach, Grays Harbor College

HANDICAP INDEX: 5.5


ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Nine-time Washington State Women’s Amateur champion (1973, ’81, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’92, ’93, ’95 and ’96); seven-time Seattle City champion (1975, ’89, ’90, ’94, ’99, 2000 and ’05); six-time Southern Oregon Amateur champion (1973-76, ’78 and ’81); won 2000 Pacific Northwest Senior; won 2005 Senior Amateur Championship of America

‘FULL CIRCLE’

Swanson took interest in golf when one of her two older brothers got a job as a caddie and brought home a few clubs.

“I was 17 years old when I found my true passion,” Swanson said. “My brother made a golf course in our backyard.”

When she enrolled at Grays Harbor College, which did not field a women’s team, she joined the men’s team.

“It was a character-building experience,” she said.

Swanson is in her second year as the men’s and women’s coach at Grays Harbor, a community college in Aberdeen, Wash. She spent the previous three seasons as the men’s and women’s assistant at Seattle.

“I feel like I have gone full circle,” Swanson said. “I am trying to change the culture and model it after a Division I program.”

ON THE FIRST TEE

In 1976, Swanson was one of three amateurs invited to play in the LPGA’s Portland (Ore.) Classic. She saw her name briefly on the leaderboard during an opening-round 73.

“I told my mom to go take a picture because my name won’t be there long,” Swanson said.

The next morning Swanson was having breakfast when she was told that she was paired with JoAnne Carner.

“I was sick,” she said. “I could not even finish my breakfast.”

Swanson had the honor on the first tee, conceding “my hands were shaking so bad.”

“I hit a low shot that maybe went about 170 yards into right rough,” Swanson said, “but she hit it dead right into the trees, and that helped relax me a little bit.”

A LIFE DEFINED BY GOLF

“Every victory means something different,” Swanson said.

Three of her victories stand out:

1973 Southern Oregon Amateur: Swanson defeated reigning U.S. Amateur champion Mary Budke. “I’ve never been so nervous in my life as the final 3-footer,” she said.

1989 Washington State Amateur and ‘89 Seattle City: Swanson wore a walking cast on her broken left leg, making the limb about 2½ inches higher than her right leg. Her coach, Joe Golia, told her to make every swing as if she had an uphill lie.

“I never dreamed that my life was going to be so defined by golf,” Swanson said. “Experiences in golf are a great thing to hand down and hand off to others, and that is what I am trying to do.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home