Take it from Jean Taylor. It’s never too late to take up golf.
“You can play it later in life. But it does take work,” said Taylor. “I took it up late in life, and that’s why I appreciate golf.”
Taylor turned to golf after playing a lot of tennis – a combination of Sacramento Area Tennis Association and U.S. Tennis Association league events as a long-time member of the Willow Creek Racquet Club – earlier in her life. She began playing golf when she was in her late 50s and joined the Sacramento Women’s Golf Club, based at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex, in 2012.
“I was a tennis player. When I got older, my girlfriends were all going to golf. So I just started taking lessons, group lessons, and regular lessons,” said Taylor. “I was really bad – I mean, really bad. Everybody said, ‘Oh you’re a tennis player. You’ll get it.’ Didn’t happen. “I took lots and lots of lessons, at Haggin and Woodcreek (Golf Club in Roseville), and all over the place. It helped build my game.”
The Sacramento Women’s Golf Club, which was founded in 1932, was there to welcome Taylor when she joined the group.
“It’s just a wonderful, wonderful sport for women,” said Taylor. “You don’t have to be a scratch golfer to play golf with other players. The biggest point that I make is that it’s meaningful for everybody who plays the game.”
Taylor is a member of the club’s board of directors, serving as tournament director and chairperson since 2013 and also setting the tee times each week. The Sacramento Women’s Golf Club plays on Wednesdays on the Alister MacKenzie Golf Course. It’s a par-72, 4,549-yard layout from the 1-Oak tees. It’s a par-72, 5,372-yard layout from the 2-Oak tees.
“We have been fortunate enough to be in an era where they have added more forward tees that are more women-friendly,” said Taylor, who retired as a medical assistant at a doctor’s office. “On Mackenzie, we now have a forward ladies tee, so it makes it more accessible for women that don’t hit very far. As we’re getting older, we can’t hit it so far, but we can get up there and make a par once in a while, which really adds to the quality of your golf game if you can do that.”
The club, which has 36 members, begins to play in the summer months at 8:03 a.m. Starting in October, they go off at 8:57 a.m. It’s an 18-hole club.
“I was very happy to become part of this organization when I first joined it,” said Taylor, a resident of Sacramento for the last 50 years. “I’ve been fortunate enough to help our club come into the future, keep going forward, and keep growing. And that’s what I feel is important for women and women’s golf.
“I mean, it’s just a blessing to have a sport where I can play and participate with other gals. I’m just like an average golfer – nothing fancy. But I do enjoy it. It’s a fun, fun game. You don’t have to be a star to enjoy the game.” According to the Haggin Oaks website, www.hagginoaks.com:
“The Sacramento Women’s Golf Club has been an integral part of the history of the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex since it was formed in 1932, the opening year of the Alister MacKenzie Golf Course. For several decades the SWGC was known as ‘The Ladies Golf Club of Sacramento’ because it always had the best players in the region with the lowest average handicaps of any club in Northern California. Its rich history includes members who have participated in local, regional, and national Golf Associations for the betterment of women’s golf. Today, the very friendly SWGC has evolved as an important part of the social lifestyle of ladies golf. This women’s group represents a broad range of playing abilities along with a common goal of having fun with old and new friends.”
There is a tournament play each week with the Sacramento Women’s Golf Club. Hole by hole, the Alister MacKenzie Golf Course presents a very tough test for the players in the group. It’s also one of the most beautiful layouts in the area.
“It’s in very, very good shape. The greens are beautiful. She staff at Haggin has been wonderful. We’ve had people come from private courses and rave about how nice our course is, so that really means a lot to us as well,” Taylor said.
Taylor, the club’s co-captain, is joined on the board of directors by:
- Elizabeth Hill, Captain.
- Nancy Jamison, Secretary.
- Sandy Phares, Treasurer.
- Madeleine Fish, Handicapper.
The club championship, handicap championship, eclectic tournament, and pairs tournament are among the official tournaments that the Sacramento Women’s Golf Club puts on each year.
“We try to make it fair for all levels of golfers so that it’s not just for the top golfers. And that’s why I feel like our handicap tournament is significant for women,” said Taylor.
Nancy King, the winner of the handicap championship, is a player who works hard at her game and has taken lessons, said Taylor.
In taking the title, King was overcome with emotion.
“She’s a grinder. She said, ‘I didn’t ever think I would win something like this,’ ”said Taylor. “It’s a big deal.
“Our handicap winners have worked very hard to earn that trophy.”
The reigning club champion is Sharon Crawford, who won the title in 2020.
“She is a great representative for golf. She’s a wonderful player and a wonderful individual,” said Taylor. “She’s a credit to our club.”
Joyce Berg won club championships in 2016 and 2018.
Susan Wengel won club championships in 2017 and 2019.
“They’re both excellent golfers and wonderful ladies and assets to our club as well,” said Taylor.
“We’re lucky enough to have some really exceptional women.”
Social aspect to club
There is a social component to the club, as it also offers meetings, awards days and luncheons.
“There’s a social atmosphere that we do have,” said Taylor. “We will stay after golf and socialize.
“A lot of our players have been members of this club a lot longer than I have. They have lasting friendships.
“I’m proud to be part of it.”
For more information
According to the Haggin Oaks website, www.hagginoaks.com:
“The Sacramento Women’s Golf Club welcomes new members who love golf and want to play regularly on Wednesdays year-round.”
The $76 annual club dues include Pacific Women’s Golf Association membership and handicap service and Northern California Golf Association membership.
“We are actively seeking members,” said Taylor. “The more women you have, the more competitive your club becomes. Unless you grow, you kind of get stagnant. Our mission statement is we include all golfers. All golfers are welcome.
“With the growth of golf, we are getting more younger women who are interested. Women’s golf is growing.”
To join the club, or for more information, call Haggin Oaks at 916-808-2531.
* 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.