LAKEWOOD RANCH — Lakewood Ranch resident Wendi Golden has spent more than 25 years perfecting her swing.
Now, the former professional golfer is hoping to use her knowledge of the game to help propel the Lady Mustangs this fall.
Golden was named Lakewood Ranch High’s new girls golf coach after Greg McGrew decided to step down after 11 seasons at the helm. McGrew, a technology teacher at Lakewood, took over the girls golf program when the school opened in 1998.
Since then, McGrew has led the Lady Mustangs to 129-20 record and several district and regional titles. And after finishing eighth in the state, McGrew is ready to turn his attention toward his family and the technology department.
“I think it’s just been a long time, and I’m ready to turn it over to someone else,” McGrew said. “We had a great season, but I have a son at home whom I want to spend a little more time with.”
After announcing his resignation, McGrew asked Athletic Director Shawn Trent and Principal Mike Wilder to assist in selecting his replacement. Looking to hopefully find someone who would be with the Lady Mustangs for a long time, McGrew turned to Golden, who spent three years coaching at Sarasota Christian before moving over to Braden River last year.
“To become a successful program, you really need to have someone working with the kids,” McGrew said. “I think she’s a better golfer than I am, and with her semi-professional background, I think she’ll be able help the kids with their game more than I can.”
A native of Atlanta, Golden began playing golf when she was 5 years old after her grandmother introduced her to the game.
“My grandmother … her favorite way to baby-sit me was to take me to the driving range and buy me a lesson with a pro,” Golden said. “That’s how it started, and then I just grew up around it.”
Golden and her older sister, Christi, spent their summers bouncing around between the pool, the tennis courts and the golf course. While her sister gravitated toward swimming and tennis, Golden pursued golf.
She played at the University of Tennessee for a year before turning pro in 1996 at age 21. Golden toured the professional circuit until 1999 based out of Druid Hills Golf Club in Atlanta before moving to Sarasota in 2001.
Shortly after moving to Sarasota, Golden met her husband, Jason, who coaches the Lady Mustangs tennis team. The couple has been married for nearly eight years and has two girls, Jordan, 6, and Taylor, 5.
After taking a break from competing, Golden regained her amateur status in 2006 and now is ranked No. 1 in Florida and No. 10 in the country for amateur women golfers.
“I enjoy the competition just the intensity of playing and competing against other individuals,” Golden said. “I’m more out of my element as a coach than as a player. I’m just kind of learning as I go along and just trying to put myself in their position.”
Contact Jen Blanco at email@example.com.
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