A gentle ladies’ sport

Published 10:23 am Thursday, June 7, 2012

Annie Olson got hooked on golfing after her husband asked her to try the sport. -- Danielle Boss/Albert Lea Tribune

When Annie Olson was 26 years old, her husband issued a challenge. Doug Olson, now the business development manager at Lou-Rich, was an avid golfer, playing the sport “all the time,” Annie said. Not a golfer herself, the Albert Lean became quite annoyed with how much her husband played.

“He told me if I could beat him, he’d quit playing,” she said.

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Interested in getting him to stop — or at least to cut back — Annie took him up on his dare. Doug knew if she just tried the sport she’d be hooked.

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And hooked she was.

Now 42, Annie said her love of the sport has grown so much that she’s just as interested in it as her husband; in fact, she’s encouraging other women to try their hand on the green.

“I think a lot of women don’t do these types of activities for themselves,” she said.

Annie plays golf probably five days a week when weather allows — it used to be more when she worked to beat her husband’s scores.

“I play as soon as I can until the snow flies,” she said.

She joined the ladies leagues at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club and Green Lea Golf Course, both in Albert Lea, and frequently plays with her husband. She also plays at tournaments in the area.

“It’s a great social sport,” Annie said. “It’s a good outside activity.”

Annie is a member of both local clubs, noting that both courses are completely different.

Without any children, even the couple’s vacations revolve around the sport, as Annie and Doug typically play at three or four courses during a week’s vacation.

And if they weren’t involved in enough golf already, Annie and Doug are adding their own tee box and green in their backyard.

“It’s more a novelty thing,” she said.


Gaining a passion for the sport

When she first started golfing there was a group of women who encouraged her to succeed — including the late Virginia Hanson, a multi-tournament winner at Green Lea Golf Course. They gave her tips on how to play. She hopes to do the same thing now in her life for other women.

In addition to being a group fitness instructor, during the last few years she has taken up teaching golf courses to women through Albert Lea Community Education.

With golf being a male-dominated sport, she said she and fellow instructors Mindy Nelson and Jill Westney are trying to get as many women interested in the sport as possible.

“It’s a gentlemen’s sport, or should I say gentle ladies’ sport,” Annie said with a smile. “Our goal is to get them started, get them comfortable.”

They teach one course of beginner’s golf and another course titled “Improve your game.”

There are almost 50 women in their spring courses.

What advice does she offer women just starting out?:

• Don’t be intimidated by others.

• Listen to the advice people give.

• Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad game.

• Remember your short game.

“It takes a touch,” Annie said. “You hit the ball a little hard, and it’s past the hole.”

To sign up for the courses, call Albert Lea Community Education at 507-379-4835.


Olson’s favorites:
• Favorite course in Albert Lea: She likes both Green Lea Golf Course and Wedgewood Cove Golf Course equally.

• Favorite course outside of Albert Lea: Alexandria Country Club, Minnewaska Golf Club

• Favorite shoes: Asics
• Favorite bag: Ping
• Favorite glove: Footjoy

• Favorite ball: Titleist

• Favorite irons: Ping