Fairway Tales is a PGA of America podcast committed to telling some of the most powerful stories surrounding girls and women in golf. We’re here to highlight the best, brightest and most unique personalities in the game—while showing that golf can be whatever we want it to be. Let these passion-filled and fun-driven narratives guide you, inspire you and entertain you!
Dawn Darter: The Golf Course That Raised Her
It came down to golf or softball.
Head PGA Professional at The Greens at North Hills in Sherwood, Ark. Dawn Darter obviously chose golf. Catcher wasn’t her destiny, but having a golf club in her hands certainly was. The sixth fairway of The Greens at North Hills was her backyard after all. Her brother was a stellar player. And her dad pushed her to give the sport a try.
In more ways than one, golf was meant to me.
There isn’t much that Dawn Darter isn’t involved in at her club today. But if you ask her about her golf club’s junior golf programming, it’s obvious it’s a passion and an area she takes great pride in. There’s a reason behind that.
As a kid, her experiences as a junior golfer changed her for the better.
“I’m passionate about junior golf because I had such a great opportunity growing up on this golf course,” Darter said. “I just want every kid to have a chance at what I have.”
Dawn Darter has been a PGA Professional since 1984, holding various jobs at clubs in Nevada and Arkansas. She also competed in three U.S. Women’s Opens in three different decades as a working golf professional. Life on the road wasn’t for her, and she never secured her LPGA card, but her passion for the sport has never wavered.
Dawn Darter always wanted to be a PGA Professional because of the PGA Professionals she grew up around in Arkansas. By staying grounded, and putting her best foot forward everyday, she hopes to impact others in the same ways she once was.
Stephanie Luttrell: Golf Club Engineering
Stephanie Luttrell, now the Director of Titleist Metalwood Development, knew she always wanted to work in golf. She came from a golf family and played the sport throughout high school and was a walk-on at the University of Michigan.
Gifted in both math and science, Stephanie Luttrell ended up pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. The advice from her dad - to find something you love and do it the rest of your life - was always in the back of her mind when deciding on a career path.
Now Stephanie Luttrell is putting her degree to perfect use and living out her passion every single day. As a golf club guru for Titleist, she plays an integral role in the development of putters, drivers, wedges and other product categories. Depending on the level of golfer and the many other mechanics of an individual's golf swing, Stephanie Luttrell can craft the perfect club.
Her knowledge is deep. Some might even say she has the game of golf down to a science.
Anna Redding: Augusta National Women's Amateur Insider
Anna Redding is locked in on her dreams of competing on the LPGA Tour. Even though she has her Sociology degree from the University of Virginia, her goals are channeled into the golf course for now and the foreseeable future.
Anna Redding’s dad was a casual golfer, so she was somewhat familiar with the game. However, she discovered and fell in love with the sport when her grandparents put her into a golf camp as a kid. It just took that one experience to pick up a club herself that changed the trajectory of Anna Redding’s future.
She went on to play golf at the University of Virginia and led UVA in stroke average for two years. Individually, she was ranked as high as No. 49 in final fall Golfstat standings as a senior and excelled in the classroom, being named to the ACC All-Academic Team multiple times.
Among all her accomplishments, there’s one that stands out more than others: competing in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur. As if the full-blown experience wasn’t special enough, from dining and housing to walking the sacred grounds at Augusta National, Anna Redding had the honor of hitting the very first tee shot with rows of patrons looking on.
It was an experience of a lifetime that she continues to build on today. Between college teammates, a sports psychologist, coach and supportive parents, Anna Redding is certain the best of memories won’t end at Amen Corner.
With a full Symetra Tour season on the horizon, after this year was cut short, she’s optimistic for the future. For Anna Redding, there is nothing more fun than competing. As long as she’s having fun with it, she won’t be done with it.
Joanna Coe: Coaching to Grow the Game
Joanna Coe’s lifelong career in golf has been fruitful in more ways than one.
Most recently, it has brought her to the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship not far from home at Aronimink Country Club in Philadelphia, PA. Joanna Coe will be one of eight PGA and LPGA Professionals competing on one of golf’s most prized stages for the third straight year.
Growing up, it wasn’t just golf that competed for her attention. But after a season-ending knee injury that sidelined Joanna Coe for her senior year of high school soccer, she took it as a blessing in disguise. Golf it was. And golf it still is today.
Joanna Coe is currently the Assistant Director of Instruction at Baltimore Country Club. She’s responsible for coaching members and guests, oversees the junior golf program and represents the club in PGA section and national events. Joanna Coe fell in love with hitting balls on the range with her dad at an early age—and you’ll still find that competitive fire in her today.
Settling on Rollins College to play women’s golf on a full-ride scholarship, Joanna Coe took a crack at going professional afterwards and experienced some early success; she made it to the final stage and the final round of LPGA Qualifying Series her first go-around.
Joanna Coe is proud she gave that dream a shot. She ultimately decided it was time for some stability, which is what led her to earning her PGA Membership.
Through all of that, and between still playing competitively and fully embracing her role at Baltimore Country Club, Joanna Coe has been able to find her niche in coaching.
“I love inspiring people to play the game,” Coe said.
Alison Curdt: Golf Mind Over Matter
Between her role as a Director of Instruction at Wood Ranch Golf Club, being a licensed Psychotherapist in the state of California and continuing to compete in golf events, Alison Curdt’s pursuit of excellence never stops.
Her journey in golf began out of mere jealousy. When she wasn’t quite old enough to play golf with her older brother and dad, she knew in that moment that she wanted to be a part of those experiences. Even at seven-years-old, Alison Curdt was bound and determined to not only play golf, but excel in it.
By high school, the hard work and determination was paying off; she was getting noticed by college coaches across the country. Eventually Alison Curdt settled at Florida State University on a golf scholarship. It wasn’t just the golf that made her standout. It was her curiosity outside the ropes that opened doors, too.
Alison discovered her passion, in understanding the “why” behind life and our behavior, and now has a standout resume to show for it. In just two years of undergraduate, she completed her degree in Psychology. With extra time, she joined the PGA Golf Management program for her final two years of college.
With a Doctorate of Psychology degree and PGA and LPGA Master Professional status all in hand today, Alison Curdt has found a home in golf. What started out as a game she simply didn’t want to miss out on has grown into something much bigger than that.
Combining her love for understanding individuals from the inside out, and passion for golf, Alison Curdt continues to shape minds, improve swings and shatter a lot of barriers along the way.
Nisha Sadekar: PGD Global
Golf was a somewhat foreign sport for Nisha Sadekar as a kid. She recalls her mom, a sports fanatic, watching golf on television. And it was her dad who encouraged her and her sister, Seema Sadekar, to give the game a try. Before long, Nisha Sadekar realized that, contrary to her own belief, golf wasn’t only for “old people.”
Although her experiences as an Indian woman weren’t always easy or glamorous, Nisha Sadekar still forged an impactful path in the golf industry. Attending IMG Academy as a teenager and later playing golf at the University of Missouri, she began to grasp her true identity.
It wasn’t until a conversation with her dad that really caused her to look at herself in the mirror and ask what her true identity, and purpose, in golf was. After taking a crack at going professional, competing in LPGA qualifiers Canadian Tour events, it was time to figure out what was next.
That’s when PGD Global was born. Today Nisha and Seema Sadekar’s company is changing the way the game is seen, heard and played by activating event platforms for people, brands and organizations. She has helped run events for the likes of former NBA player Jalen Rose, Julius Erving and the Los Angeles clippers, and is inviting more women into the game through PGD Global’s Project Fairway and Bigger than Golf programs.
It’s safe to say Nisha Sadekar found her calling—and golf is better because of it.