Ramona resident Hannah Anderson shows she has the moxie to become a pro golfer

Ramona resident Hannah Anderson is the youngest golfer to win the San Vicente Women’s Golf Association Club Championship.Now the 19-year-old has her sights set on traveling throughout the state to compete against other club champions and eventually become a professional golfer.Anderson won the title on April 18. She received a medal and has her name engraved on a trophy displayed in the San Vicente Golf Resort’s clubhouse.“It was a joy to win and it was really cool to see the women support me through my journey,” Anderson said.

The Ramona High grad of 2020 plays softball and practices mixed martial arts in addition to playing golf competitively.(Julie Gallant)

Beyond continuing to improve her game, Anderson said she plans to combine her interest in sports and fashion by starting a women’s sports clothing brand. She seeks to fill a gap in clothing and accessories for women who play sports and want affordable attire that fits various body types, she said.For now, Anderson said she is studying business administration at San Diego Mesa College with the intention of transferring to a four-year university at the end of 2022. Although she plays softball for Mesa, Anderson said she’s unable to play golf for the college because the school canceled its golf program. Anderson said she suspects it was dropped due to a decline in popularity, but oddly, as COVID advanced golfing came into vogue again.“It’s the safest sport to play at this time because you don’t have to have contact with anyone and you can ride the carts separately,” said the 2020 graduate of Ramona High School.Anderson is staying in shape by playing softball, she’s recently returned to practicing mixed martial arts, and she’ll stay on top of her golf game by entering the Southern California Golf Association next month. With a 5.1 handicap, Anderson expects she will be competing in SCGA tournaments throughout Southern California that attract golfers who want to play professionally.Once she completes her bachelor’s degree, Anderson aspires to enter the Ladies Professional Golf Association. The organization for female golfers runs the LPGA Tour, a series of weekly golf tournaments for elite female professional golfers from around the world.“Once I transfer to a university I’ll be playing on courses the pros are playing on and the people I’ll be playing against in college will likely go professional,” said Anderson, although she’s undecided on which university she’ll attend in California. “I’ll be meeting people and getting experience.”Since Anderson won the “gross” San Vicente Women’s Golf Association Club Championship, she will be able to play against women champions from other golf clubs in California starting later this year or early next year. She said it will be an opportunity for her to travel, enjoy a great experience and improve her game.

Golfer Hannah Anderson accepts her 2021 San Vicente Women’s Golf Association Club Championship trophy.(Courtesy)

The teenager has been preparing for the next level of golfing practically her entire life, saying she held her first club when she was 6 years old. Anderson said her dad, Jim Anderson, tried to get her older sister, Ashley Anderson, 26, involved in the sport, but Ashley didn’t catch the bug the way she did.Starting in her freshman year, Anderson played in the Valley League for the Ramona Girls Golf Team. She said she was mystified and a little disappointed that some of her teammates didn’t show up for Valley League matches after her first year in the league, but that didn’t stop her from excelling in the sport.As an individual player, Anderson said she placed fourth twice and came in third once in the Valley League golf tournament. She wore her competitive spirit on her sleeve and was named “Most Competitive Student” at Ramona High in 2020.“I’m a very competitive person and I always want to win,” she said. “It definitely motivates me to go out and practice. If I’m not practicing, I’m not winning.”

Hannah Anderson is described as a “focused and driven” player on the golf course.(Courtesy)

She was coached for about two-and-a-half years starting at the end of her sophomore year by Lori Broc, a former Ladies Professional Golf Association player and a former University of Tennessee coach for more than a decade.Anderson’s other coach was Michael Gainey at Ramona High.The former golf instructor, who is now involved in consumer testing for Titleist golf equipment company, coached Anderson from her freshman year in fall 2016 until fall 2020. Over the years Gainey observed that she was a talented athlete with above average skills. He said she was one of the better players in the Valley League and proved herself in her senior year to be one of the better players in the North County Conference. She also qualified for the countywide CIF championship matches twice, he said.Gainey said Anderson was at a disadvantage because she hadn’t played as much golf as some of the other accomplished student golfers, but she made up for it with experience in other sports and athletic abilities. Overall, she was a team leader and adapted really well to golf, he said.If Anderson continues to work hard at the sport, Gainey said he’s confident she has the patience and dedication to become a professional golfer.“For someone so focused and driven as an athlete, she’s always personable and has a great attitude,” Gainey said. “She’s a pleasure to be around and have on a team. What I saw when she was competing and on the course was her ability to focus. She had a swagger when she started off the first match and walked up to the tee. You could see she was ready to do the job.”One of Anderson’s companion golfers in the San Vicente Women’s Golf Association, Cathy Knowles, echoes Gainey’s confidence in the rising star.Knowles said the fact that Anderson won the women’s club championship her first time playing in the largest tournament at San Vicente Golf Course is impressive. Knowles said Anderson handled the pressure with poise and was quick to recover from mis-shots.Knowles is no stranger to pressure as a retired Navy captain lawyer, and she encouraged the talented Anderson to play in the Southern California Golf Association so she could test her abilities playing against equivalent or superior golfers.“That will be a very good gauge on whether she can be in competition with the pros,” said Knowles, a Ramona resident who connected with Anderson because they both play softball. “I think she’s an extremely talented athlete. If she puts her mind to it she can do anything. She would go into it with gusto and put effort into her practices.”Additionally, Knowles said she believes Anderson has the athletic abilities and stamina to play several consecutive days at a high level. Knowles added that even if Anderson doesn’t become a professional golfer she’s learning a skill that will serve her well in business, too. Knowles said when she was a senior officer in the Navy she saw that golf was a great way to socialize with her bosses and peers, and just hang out with the guys in a beautiful and relaxed setting.“Hannah is a fighter,” Knowles said. “She wants to win and there’s nothing wrong with that. She’s fired up and her dad is completely supportive of her.”Anderson has already acquired some fame in Ramona as the star of the “Country Lifestyle” mural at 325 10th St. Anderson’s likeness is shown swinging a golf club in the bottom right corner of the Ramona H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project mural.The mural by artist Bob Teague shows sweeping views of San Diego Country Estates, highlighting landmarks in the community and scenic images of the mountainous terrain, residential areas, hiking and horseback riding trails, and of course, golfing opportunities.“It’s so detailed,” Anderson said. “It shows all the houses right on the golf course. They wanted someone local to pose for the mural and someone mentioned my name, then everyone agreed it would be me.”

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