Michigan Women's Golf Association
Founders

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Dee Klockow

A few years after my sister died in 1975, the day before Hoffa went missing, my dad bought me a set of men’s Wilson steel-shafted irons and woods. He said he wanted to see me in his retirement at White Lake Oaks Golf Course. I resisted chasing a “stupid white ball” around a nicely mowed field. But, as soon as I went from “the Bay City Rollers” (worm burners) to an air-borne Acushnet golf ball ,,,,I was hooked!

I practiced inside and outside, gouged my in-laws spinet piano, got banned from Holly Downs driving range for fielding in practice balls and happened upon a lady named Sara Wold. She had white hair, cut in a squared-off style, and was very friendly. In the late seventies, there wasn‘t much activity in women’s public golf - a few scrambles here and there.

In 1983, I qualified for the Michigan Publinx Team to play in the USGA Women’s Amateur Pubic Links (WAPL)Championship. After two days of play in New Jersey, the Pontiac Press wrote that I “fired a 92 and 95. Yuk! The following year, 1984, Sara and I qualified for the WAPL Championship in Rapid City, SD. As we struggled to post decent scores, she said to me, “Are we the best Michigan has to offer?” This is where and when the MWPGA story begins.

Sara gathered 20 women golfers from all over the area to a meeting to form the Board of Directors for the first Michigan Women’s Publinx Golf Association in 1986. Our goal was to promote golf for women and organize an official handicap system. This beginning and the history that followed can be credited to these few women. On a personal note, I have many memories: 4 WAPL Championships, three holes in one, 1990 Atlas Valley Club Champ, 1988 Low Gross MWPGA Fall Tourney, 2004 GAM Senior Women 1st Flight Low Gross at Mt. Pleasant, 2010 GAM Senior Women’s 1st Flight Low Gross at Crystal Mountain, and Golf Digest Panelist. Lastly, there were many belly laughs, strawberry squirt cakes, over- nighters for scrambles, and so much fun and love – Priceless!

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Pat Meyers

Pat was a Founder of the MWGA and has been a dedicated member since 1986. She served on the Board of Directors for 7 years. She was the tournament Director of the Spring Scramble for 5 years and managed the “Pick-a- Pro” Contest for 14 years. She was a course rater for the GAM for 18 years. She was a member of the Women’s Suburban Golf Association for 14 years serving as President for 4 years. She was a member of the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association for 16 years and served as Board Secretary and GAM Club Representative for 3 years. She is a member of the Birmingham Senior Center Planning Committee for the Annual Golf Classic since 2016. More importantly she has been a generous financial supporter of the MWGA and was the Presenting Sponsor of the 30th Anniversary Celebration. She also supports the Michigan Golf Foundation, Golf Association of Michigan Foundation, the LPGA Foundation, the U of M Women’s Golf Team, the MSU Women’s Golf Team and USGA Junior Golf.

  • MWGA Founder and Member since 1986 – 32 years

  • Women’s Suburban Golf Association Member 1992- 2005, President 1999 – 2002

  • Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association Member 1993- 2008, serving as Secretary and GAM Club Representative        - 1994 - 1996.

  • Birmingham Senior Center Planning Committee for the Annual Golf Classic – 2016 - 2019   

  • MWGA Board Member - 1986 – 1992

  • Administrator for the “Pick-a Pro” Contest for 14 years - 1997 - 2010

  • GAM Course Rater and Captain – 1992 – 2010, 238 rates – 54 rates as Captain

  • GAM Course Rater of the Year – 2003

  • Financial Supporter of the MWGA, (Presenting Sponsor of the 30th Anniversary Celebration), Michigan Golf 

      Foundation, Golf Association of Michigan Foundation, LPGA Foundation, U of M and MSU Women’s Golf Teams,

      and USGA Junior Golf

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Betty Smith

As one of the MWGA founding members, Betty has been a participant and three-time qualifier for the USGA-WAPL. While on the MWGA Board of Directors she served as a member at-large, recording secretary and treasurer.  Betty served as the Michigan representative for the USGA Girls Junior Championship from 1997-1999. While living in Michigan Betty was a middle school math teacher in Plymouth, and was the girls golf coach at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School (5 years). Smith also coached and officiated high school volleyball in Michigan for over 20 years. 

 

After moving to Georgia in 2000, Betty has made the switch to the private club scene where she was employed by Affiniti Golf as Office Manager at the Alpharetta Athletic Club and later became Director of Food Services and Events at Milton Country Club. Smith is currently retired and co-captains the ladies inter-club team play at her home club where she is an active member of the Iron Horse LGA. Smith continues to coach both high school and club volleyball, plays tennis as well as golf, and plays bass in her church praise band. Betty and John have two children (David and Maureen), and three grandchildren.

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Cynthia (Tia) Watson

Tia’s interest in golf started in her early grade school years when she would sneak a 9-iron (shortest club in the bag) out the basement and hit a couple of golf balls around in the park in Pleasant Ridge.  Thanks to Title IX, she joined the first women’s high school golf team at Wylie E. Groves High School in Birmingham, eventually lettering (by default).  Organized golf for women, even in the metropolitan Detroit area, was sparse and pretty much word of mouth to find opportunities to play.  Tia worked her way onto sub lists on men’s golf leagues after work but was still not allowed to “join” as a full-time player because of her gender.  Sometime in the early 1980s, Tia played in her very first women’s individual stroke-play golf tournament, the Ann Arbor Women’s City Tournament held at the University of Michigan Golf Course.  This more than likely was her first encounter with the legendary Sara Wold. 

 

Tia then discovered the existence of the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association in 1985, applied, interviewed, sponsored by Donna Fegley, and remembers crying in the phone when she was told she had been accepted.  Now all she had to do was figure out how she could take every Wednesday off from her accounting position at Michigan National Bank … perhaps a new twist on “bankers’ hours” ???  Once clearing the employment hurdle, she high-tailed it south (it was late February/early March) until she found some public golf courses open in Tennessee to get five certified 18-hole rounds in to begin to establish a handicap.  1985 was the 50th anniversary of the Women’s Metropolitan Golf Association so it seemed like something special had been planned for every weekly tournament.  What a great year to join!  Tia remembers that snowy winter day back in February of 1986, first of many meetings at Sara Wold’s apartment where the Michigan Women’s Publinks Golf Association was hatched. 

 

Tia chaired a few tournaments including the first Can-Am tournament outside Sarnia, Ontario, as well as a State Tournament at Forest Akers in East Lansing.  Tia went on to qualify 5 times for the USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships.  Tia also has played in two LPGA Pro-Am tournaments.  In 1987, Tia was transferred to Lansing, the final stop in her 14-year career at Michigan Irrational Bank and the beginning of a second act.  Tia finally had the opportunity to go to college … at 30 years old.  In 1992, Tia assisted in the creation of the Capital Area Women’ s Golf Association, Golf For Women Magazine’s 1996 Best Women’s Public Golf Association, holding numerous positions on the board, running tournaments, newsletter, by-laws, etc.  Longer story shortened, Tia retired from the State of Michigan, Department of Natural Resources in July 2018 and enjoys fishing, non-competitive golf, and travelling with her life partner/spouse Denise Gruben.

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Sara Wold

Sara Wold played a major role in structuring golf for Women in Michigan. Her earliest organizational experiences were as President of the Park-Davis Women’s Golf League (1971-75). She continued developing her skills as chairman of the Women’s Athletic Advisory Committee for Detroit’s Department of Recreation for nine years (1973-82). Here she chaired the Women’s Super Sports, a two-day event, and an annual women’s city golf tournament. Her early interest in women’s sports was in softball and she is a member of the Illinois Softball Hall of Fame. 

Sara applied her leadership skills to several of the top golf organizations in the state. The USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links (WAPL) Committee has benefited from Sara’s skills from 1984 until the Championship was retired in 2014. During this time, she initiated three Sectional Qualifying Sites in Michigan, annually conducted the Detroit Metro US WAPL Sectional Qualifier, and assisted with numerous other USGA Sectional Qualifiers annually. She also attended the US WAPL Championship every year since 1984 as a rules official. She was a member of the USGA Regional Affairs Committee from 2014 – 2019.

Sara was a founding member in 1986 of the Michigan Women’s Publinx Golf Association (MWPGA, now MWGA). During Sara’s term as president, 1994 - 96, the MWGA won the Golf for Women’s Magazine Award for Best Women’s Public Golf Association. Since its inception, the MWGA has been a model association and assisted in the organization of other women’s golf associations. As an active Board member, she served as editor of the MWGA Newsletter for eight years and the Rules Chairman until 2019. She started the MWGA Girl’s Golf Program in Detroit in 2007.

Sara served the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) since 1994 as a Rules Official, She became a Governor in 1998 and has been a member of several committees: Membership, Championships and Rules, Club Relations, Site Selection, and Honor Roll. She played a leading role annually chairing various GAM Championships and the Long Range Planning Committee. She was the second female President of the GAM in 2019 and is a member of the Executive Committee. During her term, she started the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Committee. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the GAM Foundation.

 

Sara promoted golf through a variety of tournaments and publications. As a founding member of the Women’s Interstate Mid-Amateur Golf Championship involving Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, she spent fourteen years (1985-1999) on the executive committee and as the Michigan representative. She has officiated the U.S. Women’s Open, the U. S. Junior Boys, and the U. S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship and the World Amateur Team Championships in Puerto Rico, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Turkey, and Japan. She co-chaired the Michigan Women’s Golf Summits I, II and III - a program of seminars on women’s golf related issues with guest speakers such as Carol Mann, Kathy Whitworth and Judy Bell. Sara has acted as a Golf Digest Panelist since 1986 and has played golf in 30 countries. She has been on the Michigan Golf Foundation Board of Directors since 1999.  She served on the Women’s Golf Alliance Board of Directors from 2014 – 2018.

Sara was given the Ike Grainger Award by the United States Golf Association in 2010 for 25 years of service and in 2011 she received the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association's Matthews Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2003 and to the MWGA Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.