Promoting Girls' Golf Keeps DiSantis Smiling
This is the first in a series of articles on women in golf in the Sandhills.
Vicki DiSantis is an elegant lady, always ready with a smile and a kind word.
Unless you follow junior girls’ golf in the Carolinas, you may not even realize she’s a major benefactor of the sport. She keeps a low profile and simply goes about her role quietly.
Without DiSantis, there would still be girls’ golf, of course. But she’s done more than most will ever know in building the game, much to the appreciation of the hardworking staff at the Carolinas Golf Association.
She talks about her involvement in the following interview:
Q: You’ve been involved in youth golf for many years. How did you become interested?
A: Well, as you know, we adopted our daughters when they were teenagers. After Jennifer came to live with us in 1995, she started playing golf. Barbara Kuhn talked me into entering her in the Twin States and Carolinas Junior Girls’ Championship the summer after her junior year in high school.
I loved those tournaments! So, after Jennifer graduated, I helped Barbara with them for a couple of years. When Barbara was ready to move on, I took over for her as the director of junior girls’ golf for the Women’s Carolinas Golf Association and ran the Twin States and Carolinas Junior Girls’ from 2000-2006.
It was a very exciting time to be involved with junior girls’ golf … lots of growth. In 2000 the Twin States had 17 girls. By 2006, we had more than 100 entries!
I knew I could no longer do justice to the stroke play and match play for girls in the Carolinas just running them out of my study at home. That was when the WCGA turned those events over to the CGA.
Q: You’re a good golfer in your own right. What has been your lowest handicap, and what are you now?
A: Not! I used to play fairly well … my lowest index was 4.5. Now I’m a 12.8.
Q: What do you view as your biggest accomplishment as a player?
A: Nothing big. I shot 74 in the club championship at National Golf Club one year (and that was before they had the forward tees they have now!). I won the Pinehurst club championship one year — beat Mira Reynolds. Paul (husband) and I won the Pinehurst couples club championship a few years — even beat Patty Moore and Jake one year (although we did get rained out on the last day)! I qualified for the championship flight in the N.C. State and the Women’s Carolinas a few times, which used to always be my goal when I played in them.
Q: What does it mean to you to have a Carolinas Golf Association tournament named in your honor?
A: I guess it’s flattering because people think I actually did something. Like someone said to me the other day, “I know you used to play professional golf.” Ha! But really, the CGA wanted to start a new tournament for girls, and they used my name because all the girls knew me because of the Twin States and the Carolinas Junior Girls’. Jason Cox does such a good job with the “Vicki.” I’m proud to be associated with it.
Q: How active do you remain in junior golf? Do you attend the tournaments or functions?
A: In addition to being in charge of the WCGA Junior Girls’ Championship, I still go to the Twin States and Carolinas Junior Girls’ Championships to do registration and work as an official. I also go to the Vicki. I’ve worked the last couple of years as a referee at the junior girls’ team matches (the Mid Atlantic Challenge). And, as a USGA Girls’ Junior committee member, I conduct a qualifier every other year, and I go to the national championship to work as an official.
Q: What is the most satisfying moment you’ve received from your work with junior girls?
A: I don’t know about one moment. Probably the most satisfying thing was the fact that I helped build up participation in junior girls’ golf in the Carolinas when I was running the Twin States and the Carolinas Junior Girls’.
Q: Is there one incident or one individual you can name that makes all your work worth the time and effort?
A: Certainly no one incident or person, but many. How great it is to see all the girls who have come through the Carolinas junior program, who are such wonderful people! They don’t all play competitively anymore, but they are all productive members of society. I have met the most wonderful people anyone could imagine … girls and their families. I still get to see a lot of them at women’s events now, and it is always great fun to talk with them and see what they are doing.
Q: If you could just wave a magic wand and have anything change in the junior program, what would it be?
A: Wow! A magic wand! I wish junior golf were not so much of a big business. I wish juniors and their parents would realize that it is not the most expensive events that are the best. And I wish people would remember that golf is a game.
Q: Obviously, the Carolinas Golf Association is appreciative of your work. Can you describe what you appreciate most about the CGA?
A: The CGA has been so helpful to me in so many ways over the years. I have never asked anyone there for help with anything that they have refused. Tiffany Priest has been very supportive, and Jason Cox is the best as director of junior golf.
Q: Is there anything happening now or in the near future that you’d like to make people aware of?
A: The sixth WCGA Junior Girls’ Golf Championship will be held July 8-10 at the Country Club of Whispering Pines. This is a tournament the WCGA started for girls who are rising sophomores in high school and younger. We have lots of ladies who help as officials, and we have social times also. I believe that girls want to be social, as well as play good golf!
Q: Anything we haven’t touched on that you’d like to comment on?
A: Paul taught me to play golf after we were married. What a patient man! And, what a great gift he gave me! All I have ever done with the junior girl golfers is to enjoy being around them and their families and try to be sure that they respect the game, its etiquette and its rules (like Paul taught me); and to be sure they realize what an opportunity they have to make lifetime friends and memories.
More like this story