Thursday, June 26th, 2008
The winner of nine LPGA Tour events, including a major when she was 20, has been a one-woman self-motivator, not that she believes she’s done it without help.
Some of the people who encouraged her even while playing against her were on hand yesterday when Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame honoured Post on the occasion of her birthday and the 40th anniversary of her LPGA Championship win in Sutton, Mass. Judy Rankin, Renee Powell and Susie McAllister surprised Post when they showed up at her home in Caledon, Ont., on Monday night and joined her yesterday at the Copper Creek Golf Club in Kleinburg, Ont., for a round of golf in the Hall’s annual tournament. The Spalding Elite irons that Post used to win the 1968 LPGA championship, minus the 7 iron, were on display at the event.
Post had returned only recently from British Columbia and Alberta, where she had been doing some work on behalf of the Winnipeg-based Jazz Golf equipment company. She represents the company and has her own line of clubs. Jazz provided clubs for Rankin, Powell and McAllister yesterday, former LPGA players who paid their own way to be with Post. Powell was the third African-American woman to join the LPGA Tour and has worked tirelessly in the game on many fronts since retiring in 1980.
Post’s friends saw her play some terrific golf in her day. Post and her sister, Suzanne, were raised in Oakville, Ont., on their parents’ 25-acre fruit farm. Her parents, in their 90s, still live in Oakville. She became the youngest player to win the LPGA Championship, having left Oakville as a teenager to live in Boynton Beach, Fla. She defeated Kathy Whitworth in a playoff. Whitworth would go on to win 81 LPGA tournaments. Nobody has won more.
But Post prefers not to look back. That’s not her nature, and anyway, she’s too busy to spend much time reminiscing unless pressed to do so.
“I have so much to look forward too,” Post said in an interview, “even if I’m into the back nine, well into the back nine. There’s so much to do, and I don’t do anything unless I have a passion for it and really enjoy it.”
Post enjoyed her golf, but it also took a lot out of her because she did it with such gusto. She retired from competitive golf in 1984, when she was in her mid-30s. Annika Sorenstam, 37, said recently she’ll leave competition at the end of this season and used the words “stepping away from the game” because she’ll continue to be involved in it. That’s been true for Post.
There’s her golf school at the Glen Eagle Golf Club in Bolton, Ont. There’s her work with Jazz and her television work, which will continue in August for Rogers Sportsnet at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club during the CN Canadian Women’s Open.
Post brings a player’s clarity to tournament coverage, as does Rankin, a long-time analyst for ABC and ESPN. Rankin won 26 LPGA tournaments.
Post enjoys teaching and works with golfers from 8 to 80. She did a nice job of explaining her views of instruction in the 1998 book Sandra Post and Me. The premise was that Post would take her co-author, Loral Dean, from beginner to competition.
For Post, the most effective teaching often occurs on the course in the evening. She used to practise with her father, Cliff, at the Oakville Golf Club, where she played as a child. They liked to chip and putt in the evenings, when it was quiet.
“That’s the key word, quiet,” Post said. “I love going out with a student to the course in the evening. Sometimes a golfer doesn’t look the same on the course as on the range, so it’s important. I love that peacefulness. I like long shadows at night and seeing the red foxes.”
Clearly, Post, who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame the same year, remains a golfer through and through. Still, she’s allowing herself some breaks these days.
“I have to be easier on myself now,” Post said. “I’m taking a few days off this week, kind of like a splurge. I’m being kinder to myself.”