Hannah Gregg had minimal experience in golf when she and her younger brother, Daniel, entered a local qualifier for Drive, Chip, and Putt at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento years ago. “I had swung a club a few times before that,” Gregg recalled in a phone interview recently. “But that was my first real-like, playing golf, with some sort of real effort.”
How did it go for Hannah Gregg, who was young and brand new to the game at the time? “It was my first time ever doing something like that,” she said.
Her day at Drive, Chip, and Putt – a free nationwide junior golf development competition aimed at growing the game by focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf, according to www.drivechipandputt.com – began with the driving portion of the program.
She remembers her first shot.
“I hit a good shot, hitting the ball retriever guy in the little cart. I dropped to the ground sobbing because I thought I was disqualified or something,” said Gregg, who is from Cool in El Dorado County. “And my parents (Scott and Annette Gregg) were like, ‘Oh my gosh, get out there and get another shot. It’s not that big of a deal. I thought it was the end of the world. I went from being so sad, and then I was like, Oh, you get another chance. So my first real introduction to golf, was playing in the Drive, Chip, and Putt.”
Gregg has come a long way in golf since that day on the driving range at Haggin Oaks with Drive, Chip, and Putt, which was founded in 2013 as a joint initiative by the U.S. Golf Association, PGA of America, and the Master’s Tournament. She joined First Tee — Greater Sacramento and was with the organization for five years, playing in junior tournaments in the area.
Hannah Gregg Joined Youth On Course.
She played on the high school girls golf team at Placer-Auburn all four years and had a lot of success. She was twice named as the Pioneer Valley League most valuable player. She was selected first-team All-League each year. She was Placer’s team MVP each year. She led Placer to two straight Pioneer Valley League titles, in 2012 and 2013. She posted the most sub-par rounds in a season. She went on to play college golf – first at Sonoma State for two years and then at University of Nevada.
She played all kinds of amateur golf.
“I started playing golf at about 12. I was decent at it. But I kind of was improving quickly. And so, my parents said, why don’t you try out for the girls golf team. I tried out for the team. I made the team. I played high school golf for all of my four years. I broke a few records. I was one of the first athletes ever in women’s golf to get a scholarship offer, to go to Sonoma State for my first two years. I had a big improvement in a short amount of time, that’s for sure,” said Gregg.
“My dad taught me the basics. But my technique was very like homemade. I was super lucky to have two coaches at Placer High School at the time – Carol French, who used to be on the LPGA Tour, and her husband, Greg French. I had two of the best possible people you could have, teaching me to play golf at that time. They would work with me every single day. I think having those two people just showing me not only like a better swing technique, but also giving me course knowledge and tournament knowledge … I had such a huge advantage.”
Today, Hannah Gregg continues to pursue her goal of playing on the LPGA Tour. She turned professional in July of 2019 and has played in Symetra Tour, Epson Tour and Women’s All Pro Tour events over the last few years. According to its website, the Women’s All-Pro Tour (WAPT) is a women’s professional tour and is the Official Qualifying Tour for the LPGA’s Epson Tour. Gregg secured Epson Tour status for 2023 after playing in Stage I and Stage II of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying Tournament.
“I’ll be playing, hopefully, a full season on the Epson next year,” said Gregg, 27. “I’m so excited. One thing that I know about myself is I started late, and I didn’t always have all the resources that you need. One thing about golf is that you have to have so many things in place. Everything has to be there for you, to be playing your best golf. And I definitely started a little bit late. I had a lot of catching up to do.
“But I finally feel like now I’m at this place where I reached the level where I have everything that I need to play well in place.”
Gregg plays out of Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass, a Troon-managed course, in Chandler, Arizona. She is also a Team Troon Ambassador.
“I have the perfect golf course to practice at all the time,” she said. “I’m going to know exactly what my schedule is next year with a little more certainty, so I can plan better and have a better travel schedule. So, things are just really coming together for me in a way that I think is going to make a huge difference. And my game is finally at a place where I don’t feel like I’m playing catch-up. I feel like I finally have the experience to really be ready for a full tournament season. So, I’m super excited.”
Gregg tied for 98th at the 2022 LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying Stage I Tournament. It was held August 18-21 at Mission Hills Country Club, in Rancho Mirage, CA, at the Dinah Shore and Arnold Palmer courses, and at Shadow Ridge Golf Club, in Palm Desert, CA. Gregg shot 70-72-69-79 – 290. Gregg tied for 145th at the 2022 LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying Tournament – Stage II. It was held Nov. 17-20 at the Plantation Golf and Country Club, in Venice, FL, at the Bobcat and Panther courses. She shot 77-81-74-78 – 310.
“This year, I advanced to Stage II. I didn’t play well enough to advance to LPGA Q-school, which is final stage. But I did play well enough to secure my card for next year on Epson,” she said. “I earned much better status this past Q-school. I made it through Stage I,” she said.
According to its mission statement, at www.epsontour.com:
“The Epson Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 39th competitive season in 2019. With the support of its umbrella partner Epson, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Epson’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2022, the Epson Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4 million in prize money awarded over the course of 24 tournaments.” Gregg has also played on the Symetra Tour and Women’s All Pro Tour.
Hannah Gregg’s Start In Golf
Gregg was around the game at an early age, as she joined her dad, Scott Gregg, as he played at Apple Mountain Golf Resort in Camino (El Dorado County). She would watch as her dad played. “I used to go with my dad and watch him play golf all the time, where I got to hang out with him. He would get me chocolate chip bagels – that was like my bribe to get out there. I wasn’t playing golf at all, but I was around golf quite a bit. I have a lot of good memories out there.”
Hannah Gregg and her brother, Daniel Gregg, got their start in the game through First Tee — Greater Sacramento. She was 12 years old at the time.
“I can pretty confidently say that without all of the things that the First Tee offers. I would not be playing golf right now,” said Gregg. “It was huge.”
She was with First Tee — Greater Sacramento for five years, from age 12 to 17. The first tournament she ever played in was through First Tee, which offers an array of programs for juniors ages 3 to 18 in the area.
“I played in as many (tournaments) as my parents could get me into,” she said.
According to its website, firstteesacramento.org:
“We enable kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. By seamlessly integrating the game of golf with life skills curriculum, we create learning experiences that build inner strength, self-confidence, and resilience that kids carry to everything they do.
At First Tee, kids and teens are learning to play golf along with life lessons and leadership skills. And it’s making a difference. Our programs are having a positive impact on participants, their families and their communities.”
First Tee — Greater Sacramento has positively impacted the young people in our area since 1983 with youth development programs running throughout the year, reaching over 58,000 young people annually. Today, First Tee — Greater Sacramento is one of First Tee’s largest chapters. We are a leader in the field of programs for young people and the disabled.”
Her years in First Tee – Greater Sacramento, Youth on Course and all the time she spent at Haggin Oaks, working at summer camps and also working on her game, benefitted Gregg.
“My parents found about First Tee tournaments and about Youth on Course. We found out that there were all of these different ways that we could play golf in a way that wasn’t super expensive,” she said.
“So now there was something that my little brother and I could go do together, get better at, and that it wasn’t going to like break the bank or something. We found out there were all of these things in place that made it way more accessible for us.”
It was all the time she spent at Haggin Oaks, a 36-hole facility, and the work she put into her game that enabled Gregg to improve and advance in golf. She also spent time playing at The Ridge Golf Course in Auburn.
“There were so many connections at Haggin Oaks that helped me just move forward in golf. It was something that helped me get and maintain a college scholarship,” she said. “Basically, everyone in my life I’ve met in some way or another through golf. So, golf has been a very powerful networking tool for me. And at the time, when I was working at Haggin Oaks, I didn’t really have ambitions to turn pro. But being able to stay in this game and have the resources that I needed to play and continue to get better, is basically the reason for turning pro in the first place.” Gregg graduated from Placer High in 2013.
Hannah Gregg’s College Golf Career
- Gregg began her collegiate career playing her first two years for Sonoma State, from 2013-15. She played in eight events for the Seawolves.
- She finished ninth in a field of 79 players at the Cal State Monterey Bay Invitational.
- Gregg had an overall stroke average of 78.93 at Sonoma State.
- During her sophomore season, when she had a 77.69 stroke average, Gregg had two top-5 finishes and five top-10 finishes as Sonoma State reached the NCAA Super Regionals. She also shot a 69 at Hiddenbrooke Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer-designed course, in Vallejo.
- Gregg then transferred to Nevada.
- She played in six events in her first season, as a junior, for Nevada, placing 36th at the Mountain West Conference Championship, in 2015-16. She tied for 28th at the Sacramento State Invitational. She had a 78.18 scoring average.
- She said playing college golf provided her with positive experiences.
“When I went to Sonoma State, I really wanted to improve. Between my freshman and sophomore year, I actually improved my scoring average, almost eight shots. So, I improved really quickly,” Gregg said.
“But I knew if I wanted to turn pro, that I needed to be around people who are much better than me, and I wanted to be in a program that was going to help me improve really quickly. I decided to see if I could transfer and go to a Division I and get the full experience of going to a big school.”
Gregg and her brother, Daniel, enrolled at Nevada at the same time, in 2015, with Daniel playing on the men’s golf team as a freshman. Daniel was named All-Pioneer Valley League all four years at Placer High and was the league MVP as a sophomore. Daniel helped lead Placer to four straight league titles.
“It really got me ready for professional golf,” said Hannah. She graduated in 2018 from Nevada with a degree in communications. She had a minor in journalism. Gregg continued to play amateur golf.
Hannah Gregg Start In Professional Golf
Hannah Gregg turned pro in 2019. She secured Symetra Tour status for 2020 after going through Q-school.
Before it became the Epson Tour, it was known as the Symetra Tour.
“I would say probably 2021 was my first real year as a professional. I got to play in quite a few events. I got into some Symetra events,” she said. “It was 2021, I put together a full year of mini-tour golf. I played in a lot of LPGA Monday qualifiers. I played quite a bit on the Women’s All Pro Tour, which has been a huge help for me. They put together these really great, well-run tournaments.”
She played in Women’s All Pro Tour events and LPGA Monday qualifiers this year. According to its website, wapt.golf, the Women’s All Pro Tour conducts 72-hole championships, in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. Gregg said her goal is to play on the LPGA Tour one day.
“My benchmark goal, when I decided to turn pro, was I wanted to have status on the LPGA Tour by the time I’m 30,” she said.
Earlier this year, Gregg played in three events on the Ladies European Tour Access Series. She made the cut in all three events.
“My Epson Tour status allowed me to play in those events,” she said. “It was really nice to see that my game traveled to Europe and I could still do what I needed to do. That was a huge confidence booster for me. I literally got back about four days before Stage I at Q-school, so I think that was a big part of me having the confidence to go out and play well at Stage I.”
- Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, 2019, after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016.