Annie Vanzant has been golfing her entire life and admits to a great love of the sport.

With such passion for the game, it only made sense that Vanzant was elected president of the Pennsylvania Golf Association at the group’s fall meeting at Pittsburgh Field Club. She is the first female president in the club’s 113-year history.

“Obviously, it’s a very huge honor,” Vanzant said. “It’s a wonderful organization and its soul function is to host championship golf, to determine the best players in the state. It’s all about championship golf and it’s always stayed true to its mission. It’s exciting to be involved in that.”

Vanzant, a member of the Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray, said she started playing golf as “a little kid.”

“My dad taught me to play, and I fell in love with it,” she said. “I literally can’t wait to get to my ball to hit it. That’s how much I love it.”

The resident of Presto has stayed around the sport, working at the Oakmont Country Club golf shop’s director of merchandise for the last 23 years.

Prior to her election as president of the Pennsylvania Golf Association (PAGA), Vanzant served as president of Pennsylvania State Women’s Golf Association (PSWGA). She also served on various committees for the Women’s Golf Association of Western Pennsylvania.

Vanzant joined the PSWGA about 12 years ago and was a driving force behind the merger of that group and the Pennsylvania Golf Association (PAGA) in 2019.

“The women’s golf association was strictly volunteers, and we weren’t sure that we could continue in that capacity,” she said. “We needed some full-time help, some staffing to help us run our events and procure great venues to run our championships. So, we just thought it was time and requested to merge with the men and they gladly accepted us. It’s provided the women players with great access to places we probably couldn’t have played at before.”

Vanzant’s duties as president will include working in conjunction with the PAGA Executive Committee and continuing to promote and strengthen the game of golf for both men and women.

She said her main goal is to keep women playing competitive golf for as long as they can as she works to grow the game. It has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. The girls’ junior championship has increased from an initial field of 30 golfers to more than 80 in just five years.

Her plan includes continuing to develop the Pennsylvania Women’s Amateur and the relatively new Mid-Amateur championships. The mid-amateur is for the women older than 25 who may have other things in her life such as a job and a family.

“Competitive golf is not high on her radar,” Vanzant said. “We’re trying to create an event where she can keep playing the game that she loves at a competitive level.”

Vanzant just enjoys seeing others discover the love of golf that she has over the years.

“I just have a real affinity toward junior girls golfing and falling in love with the game and hoping they continue to play their whole life, which is what I did,” she said. “It’s a sport that allows you to compete and play your whole life if you want to, and that’s what’s special about the sport to me.”

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