The Stellar Season
by Joe McLean
Take one look at Diane Dolan’s tournament record for 2013 (see below) and I expect you’ll be exhausted reading it. Just putting the entire tally on paper is one thing but you can’t help to be impressed with not only the record but the time and travel necessary for the Senior-aged golfer to make it even happen.
This was a great golf season for Diane Dolan, but as she says – “Life can’t be just golf.”
That seems like an offhand comment but for Dolan, it’s the truth. Throughout her life golf has been a staple but it has been surrounded by a lot more.
Diane was introduced to the game at Gatineau, Quebec’s Tecumseh Golf Club at the young age of 12 while caddying for her dad Richard.
“After a few holes caddying, I got bored,” said Diane as she thought back on the day out with her dad during a recent interview. “He gave me a ball and a golf club and I finished the round with him.” She can’t remember her score but she does remember the bonding experience with her father. The following year she played regularly with her dad’s set of Spalding Top Flites and she remembers her first full game score of 185.
Those scores came down in a hurry. By the age of 16, Diane had worked hard enough on her game to play to a handicap of 6 and had mastered the ability to stop being upset with the bad shots in her game. “I learned to put the bad shots behind me and to look ahead to the next shot,” she shares.
Diane’s first big win was in 1974 when she was crowned the Junior Provincial Girls Champion in Quebec.
Along with her club championships at Tecumseh, Kingsway Park and Hylands golf clubs Diane’s record has also included wins at the Ottawa Valley Golf Association City & District (1979 & 1990) and Senior (2007 & 2012) as well as Four Ball Championships (2002 & 2012 with Carole Letendre, 2003 with Susan Hayes and 2004 with Diane Mansfield).
But golf has been one of the sporting interest for the trim golfer. Fitness has always been an integral component of her life and whether it was training, fitness classes, canoeing, camping, swimming, running or weight training, Diane has always combined the emotional and spiritual aspects of sports with her body and mind. A self-admitted “tomboy” in her adventurous youth, she also admits that team sports were not her thing as she enjoys challenging herself with individual sports.
Maybe the appeal of golf for Diane is the opportunity to be physically active while challenging her in an environment she loves. It really doesn’t matter to her which golf course she’s playing for as she says, “Each course has challenges and you have to learn about them while enjoying your time outdoors. I’m able to concentrate on my game while taking in everything around me.”
This ability to concentrate on her game has not gone unnoticed by her peers. Fellow competitor and Rideau View golfer Susan Pearl had the following to say about her friend. “I have always admired the way that Diane works so hard on every aspect of her game. Her passion for the game drives her to stay strong physically, technically, mentally and emotionally. She continues to challenge herself in every way, and her perseverance has paid off. Diane shows a genuine interest in her fellow golfers, encouraging everyone to partake in post-game lively discussions. Her kindness and positive spirit make Diane a very popular competitor and she continues to be a great inspiration to all of us.”
But it’s not all about golf for Diane Dolan. Education and teaching have always been a large part of her life. Whatever she could do to make a living is reflected in the various jobs Diane has held. She has worked as a caddie, a swim instructor, substitute teacher, cashier and waitress, English as a 2nd language teacher in Africa and a training specialist in the public service with National Defence for 16 years. In late 2010, she left the public service and now takes on casual and small contracts with a specialty in teaching others how to search out the proper jobs for themselves. She has also continued to take courses on integral coaching certification. Clearly, Diane loves to learn and teach.
She’s also always looking for job opportunities. In her words, “I have to be useful.”
But, back to golf and the great season she has just completed. The impetus for her successful season may have sown with the 6 years of lessons she took at the Ottawa Athletic Club in the early 2000’s. “I dedicated myself to improving my game with practice sessions three times a week,” she reveals.
Diane credits a few people for her development through the years. Her mother Delores and father Richard were always supportive in all of her sporting and life adventures. Her sister Carole also played but found the game a little too frustrating, unlike her brother Yvan who is a golf professional. Her daughter Äida doesn’t play golf but has helped Diane stay grounded in keeping the game in perspective. Diane also speaks highly of Ottawa PGA professionals Colin Orr and Marc Peterson at the Ottawa Athletic Club. She also credits Hylands Head Golf Professional Rob Lindsay who is “generous with his time” and who helped her with her swing when she was having back problems. “I was able to apply what he taught me about my swing,” says Diane.
“Improving my game skills,” was the answer when Diane was asked about her future in golf.
After watching her play and understanding her background and her dedication to improving, this writer believes that Diane Dolan has a number of wins left in her and there’s no reason that they can’t be Provincial or National Championships.
2013 Tournament Record For Diane Dolan
Champion – OVGA Ladies City & District Championship (Prescott & Outaouais)
Champion – OVGA Ladies Senior Championship (Pakenham)
Champion – OVGA Ladies Tournament of Club Champions Senior Championship (Rivermead)
Champion – Hylands Golf Club Senior Ladies Championship (Hylands)
Champion Team Member of Golf Quebec’s 1st Place Senior Ladies Team at Golf Canada’s Ladies’ Senior Championship
Champion Team Member – Irish Open Nation’s Cup Winning Team from Canada
Low Gross – OVGA Mixed Championship with Hylands Club-mate Joe Gamble (Carleton)
2nd – Golf Quebec Provincial Senior Ladies Championship (Carleton)
Tie 2nd – Golf Association of Ontario Provincial Senior Ladies Championship (Stratford CC)
Tie 2nd – OVGA Ladies Four Ball Championship with Algonquin’s Carole Letendre (Canadian)
3rd – Irish Ladies Open Championship (Castlerock GC)
Tie 3rd – Golf Canada’s Senior Ladies Championship (Spallumcheen G & CC, Vernon, BC)
6th – Golf Quebec’s Ladies Mid-Am Championship (Whitlock)
Tie 6th – Golf Quebec’s NIVO Debbie Savoy Morel Cup (Ki-8-Eb)
8th – Golf Quebec’s NIVO Women’s Player’s Cup (Royal Bromont)
32nd – British Ladies Senior Open Championship (Royal Portrush)