It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Judy Ghilarducci who was a beloved teaching professional at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex for 28 years.
During a time when female instructors were rare, Judy’s smiling face and winning disposition brightened everyone’s day on the golf course. She was highly regarded as one of the first female golf instructors in Northern California and won the the Sacramento City Mixed Scotch Championship, two Sacramento County Women’s Championships and the 1961 Sacramento City Women’s Golf Championships. She was also a quarterfinalist in the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
As an instructor, Judy always tried to demysitify the game of golf and instill confidence and a love for the game among her students. Her students would travel as far as 100 miles to take lessons from her and she taught until her retirement in 2000. During her many years as a golf instructor, she gave over 20,000 golf lessons in Sacramento at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex. When I was sixteen and very new to the world of golf, Judy took me under her wing and offered to give me a few lessons. Although I was not a very talented pupil, I will never forget her generosity, her patience or her infectious smile. She made golf fun and I will always be grateful to her. I found out later that she had also taught my grandfather over the years, offering him more than a few pointers to help improve his game too.
In 2013, Judy Ghilarducci was inducted into the C. K. McClatchy Sports Hall of Fame for her excellent golf skills during an era before Title 9 women’s sports. In 2016, Judy was inducted into the Sacramento Golf Hall of Fame.
Ken Morton, Jr., Vice President of Retail and Marketing for Morton Golf, says, “Judy was the single preeminent female instructor Sacramento has ever had. I’m not sure there is a golf instructor that ever gave more golf lessons and improved more golf games than Judy. She was a legend and will forever be remembered as an important part of our golf course’s history.”
Judy passed away on Saturday, January 20, 2018. As reported on her daughter, Jill’s Instagram page, “Our Mother passed away and now is at peace- She never surrendered to her dementia! She fought like a soldier till the end- Jacy’s post says it perfectly below- She is now set free and had a starting time at 8:30 this morning- Mom I love you so very much! Hit em straight and far!”
I agree that Jacy says it best, “Hit em straight and far!” The Haggin Oaks Golf Complex would not be what it is today without the legacy that Judy Ghilarducci left behind.
This post was written by Jennifer Morton, Director of Marketing for Morton Golf. Click HERE to contact her.