Chattanooga’s Ladies Club Champions
As a six-time ladies club champion, Carolyn Doster knows a thing or two about golf. Her wins have afforded her the opportunity to play at different clubs across the U.S., but to her, scores aren’t nearly as important as having fun and making memories.
CD: I started playing with my dad on Sundays when I was little. He cut off a 7 iron for me, and that’s what I played with. Dad wasn’t a great golfer, but he really enjoyed it. When he passed away, I played with his old hickory stick putter for a while until my kids bought me a new one for Christmas.
CD: I enjoy playing with the Chattanooga Women’s Golf Association when I get the opportunity. I have a couple of girlfriends I play with too. I also play a lot with my husband, Stokely.
CD: I love playing on Lookout. I’m used to playing on a mountain course. The scenery is beautiful, and we don’t need tee times. It’s easy to get on and play.
CD: To shorten my back swing.
CD: I have, at Highlands Country Club. I was
with three of my girlfriends so we celebrated.
CD: The staff is wonderful, and they try to create events that make it easy for people to join. Events where you don’t have to be a good player, they’re just about having fun. We have a Witches Scramble each year for Halloween. One year my team dressed up as Flo from Progressive, and once we went as Spark’s Sharks, in honor of Betty “Spark” Probasco.
CD: The women that play are friendly and active women who really enjoy the camaraderie. You can play for years, and you play with women of all different ages. You meet a lot of people that you would not have otherwise met from all across the city.
I’d like to see even more women playing golf. I try to encourage parents to get their daughters involved in the sport and get them to take lessons to learn the swing while they’re young. It makes it a lot easier to pick up later in life, and there will be all sorts of events they’ll be able to participate in.
At 10, Meg Buchanan’s father would take her for walks around the golf course after work, teaching her the ins and outs of the game. As the youngest of six, she soaked up all the knowledge she could – the first step in making her the player she is today.
MB: I’d have to say my father. He was a lefty, but he played golf and did many things right handed. I’m the same way.
MB: In the warmer months, I usually play once during the week and two or three times on the weekend.
MB: Locally, it would have to be Black Creek. My favorite course I ever played would be Sandhills in Nebraska. About 20 years ago, I saw a story on the CBS Sunday Morning show about the then-new course. I remember seeing the gentleman who was being interviewed walking the course with his yellow lab at his side. That made me really want to play the course someday. Last year I was fortunate enough to play it. It was really a dream come true.
MB: I love playing with the ladies at Black Creek, and with the ladies in the Chattanooga Women’s Golf Association. I always enjoy playing with my husband too – we like to go out and walk 18 holes whenever we can.
MB: Hitting my drives – I don’t hit it very long but I can usually hit it straight with my driver, and I can usually keep the ball in the fairway.
MB: I try to look at the shot from a few different angles, visualize what I need to do, then take a deep breath, exhale, and focus on a nice slow, smooth swing.
MB: It was an endurance thing: In 2016, my husband and I played golf in Scotland – I survived walking 17 rounds in 11 days.
MB: Chattanooga is a rich city for women’s golf – we have such a great community of excellent golfers. When I was growing up, ladies didn’t play on Saturday mornings. One thing I love about Black Creek is we have standing ladies’ tee times early on Saturday mornings.
Golf is a family affair for Barb Monaghan, Windstone’s 2017 ladies champion. After taking up the sport at age 27 on her husband’s recommendation, she developed a passion for the game that she passed along to her son, years later. Today, the three enjoy playing a round together any time they can.
BM: When we were younger, my husband and I would take golfing vacations with family and friends. We would all meet in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and play the local courses there. We did that for probably 10-12 years. Each year more and more people would join. We’d have so many people, we’d just set up our own tournaments with prizes!
BM: I always like playing with my husband, Gary, and my son, Sean. He played junior golf and high school golf and still plays. It gets competitive when we all get together!
BM: Windstone is my favorite course because I play there so much. The members and the staff are really nice and welcoming, and the course is always in great shape.
BM: Definitely my husband. He gets me out there even when it’s 40 degrees, wet, and cart path only.
BM: I’ve shot 70 a couple times and would
really love to break 70 one day.
BM: Raising a son that loves the game of golf, so that we can spend time together doing something we both enjoy. Whenever we get together, we play golf for sure.
BM: This was my third year winning the championship. Each year it gets more competitive because more women are playing, and they’re getting better. So it’s become a lot more fun and challenging! It’s nice to have that competition.
BM: When I retired here, I joined the Chattanooga Women’s Golf Association. We play at a different course every Tuesday morning. It’s always a fun play day, and we have friendly competition. I’ve found that it’s a great way to meet women who enjoy the game, and you get to play at great courses in the area.
After age and injury sidelined her from continuing her competitive softball career, Darlene Werhnyak took up golf at age 36. Today, this former school teacher is spending her retirement hitting the links and serving on the Tennessee Golf Association Women’s Competition Committee.
DW: I average every other day year-round. During the warmer months, I play just about every day.
DW: My best memory, and the thing I’m proudest of, would be winning the 2008 Georgia Senior Women’s Amateur. A close second would be qualifying and playing in four USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championships.
DW: The Sea Island Seaside Course would be one of my all-time favorites. Being down by the water with the nice warm breeze … that whole club is just so classy and elegant. It’s top of the line.
DW: There was an older lady in Atlanta, where I previously lived, that took me under her wing and got me involved in tournaments when I was first getting started. She taught me a lot and was probably one of the biggest influences on my game.
DW: In golf, we’re all going to miss shots. You just need to forget about it and worry about the next shot.
DW: I’m good at holding my composure and being steady – the mental part. I don’t have a pretty swing, but if you look at MLB and watch the hitters, they all have different stances and swings. You just need to do what works for you and contact the ball squarely.
DW: I like to use the analogy of taking an eraser and wiping all the chalk off the chalkboard. Have nothing in your mind. Let it become automatic and just do what you’ve practiced on the range. Sometimes you can think too much, and that can make you tense, which will really mess you up.
DW: In Atlanta, we traveled to other clubs once a month. Here, I play with the Chattanooga Women’s Golf Association, and we’re playing at a different club every week. Not only are we playing different courses, but we’re also meeting new people and making new friends. It’s awesome!
This high school senior, who picked up the game of golf thanks to her grandfather, plays for her school’s championship-winning team. But her career doesn’t end there – she recently committed to play for Presbyterian College in South Carolina.
TG: My first lesson was in 5th grade. My grandfather took me – he loves golf. He has four grandkids, but none of the others played, so he wanted me to try it out. I was instantly hooked!
TG: School season is usually May to October, so I’m playing a round every day then. After the school season, I still try to stick with it all year-round, so I don’t get too rusty.
TG: I always have good memories playing with my school team. This one specific time my freshman year, I was playing with a few of my teammates. I jokingly said, ‘If I make this putt, we’ll win state this year.’ Well, I made the 25-foot putt that day, and we ended up winning state that year!
TG: I enjoy playing with my school team, and my younger sister, who will be on the team next year. I also enjoy playing with the ladies at the club over the summer. They’ve all been playing a while, so they can give me good advice.
TG: Probably my all-time favorite course is Bear Trace at Harrison Bay. It fits my game well, and it has a mixture of water, bunkers, hills – a little bit of everything.
TG: Not necessarily my best scoring round, but I’m proud of my round at state this year. I tried to stay confident the whole time. A lot of people came out to watch, and I felt super confident with my swing and putt.
TG: I’d say my short game is the strongest part. Usually whenever I have to rely on putting or chipping, I don’t have to worry about it because I’m confident with that part of my game.
TG: Probably winning the state championship my freshman and senior years as a team. I also came in second individually this year!
The list of Maggie Scott’s golf accolades is nearly as long as her drive off the tee. As an inductee into both the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame, and a winner of the Betty Probasco Award, this 35-time club champion has a deep love for the sport.
MS: Any day that ends in “Y”. I probably average five days a week during the summer. We recently bought a cart cover and heater, so perhaps we can play more in the winter months. My husband and I met on the golf course and enjoy playing together as often as possible.
MS: I have a lot of them. It’s the people you meet and the friends you make that you wouldn’t run into any other way except on the course.
MS: I have been honored to play with wonderful people that I have met through TGA and USGA events. I have a regular Saturday foursome at Cleveland Country Club. We compete for quarters and have great fun. My most competitive group would be with my husband and son. We compete for bragging rights.
MS: I have luckily had several great rounds. The most recent would be when I shot my age this summer. Needless to say the 67 card will be kept!
MS: You’ve got to remain positive. You can’t be thinking about the places you don’t want your ball to go. Instead, you need to visualize where you want it to go. If you don’t think you can, you can’t. You’ve got to believe in yourself and have confidence.
MS: Keeping your same routine is the real key. I don’t change anything. I generally take one practice swing. And remember you’re playing for fun!
MS: I have been lucky enough to have six. My last one was last January. I have had a hole-in-one on every par three at Cleveland except one. My husband, his father, my son, my father, and I have all had a hole-in-one on number 9 at Cleveland Country Club.
MS: In Chattanooga, there are so many great players and lots of fun competition. It offers a lot to a lot of women at all different levels.
For Mary Melissa Manuel, golf is more than just a pastime – it’s a way of life. As a member of an NCAA Division III Women’s Golf National Championship team, it’s clear she’s an exceptional talent, but this magnanimous sophomore has never forgotten the influential teachers, coaches, and leaders who have helped her along the way.
MMM: I started when I was in 4th grade – around 9 or 10. I got involved with the Tennessee Golf Association’s junior program and started playing various events around town.
MMM: When the weather is good, I try to play almost every day. It’s time consuming, but I love it.
MMM: Probably the first time I played The Honors Course and had my own caddie. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
MMM: I love to play with my teammates, and also with my older brother, Wil. It’s kind of funny – he’s really the reason I started playing golf. He’s only 11 months older than me, so we’ve always enjoyed some friendly competition. When he started playing, I decided I wanted to try it!
MMM: I’d say Ryan Kopet, my first golf coach at GPS, Rob Riddle, the varsity GPS coach, and Todd McKittrick, who was the head pro at Black Creek when I was younger. I took lessons from him for several years before he accepted a job up North. But there are so many people who have been influential to my game.
MMM: Todd told me that when you’re finishing your follow through, finish like a rockstar. My current coach here at Rhodes, coach Mike Clary, told me that you could only cry at weddings and funerals – not the golf course.
MMM: My drives and bunker shots. I’ve always enjoyed watching the ball go really far, so I just enjoy hitting my driver, and I have pretty good control over it. I’ve also been told ‘if you can learn to love to hit out of a bunker, you’ll be ahead of everyone else,’ so I’ve made myself practice in the sand more than usual over the years. Now when I play in tournaments, I can feel at ease when I’m hitting out of the sand.
MMM: Being a member of an NCAA national championship women’s golf team in 2017.
Photo by Danielle Donze