Meet the Coaches

Ann Swanson

Ann Swanson is a nine-time Washington state golf
champion, a seven-time winner of the Seattle city
championship, a six-time Southern Oregon
champion, a three-time qualifier for the US
Women’s Open, a National Club Champion, and
a Senior Amateur Championship of America
champion. Ann was inducted into the Pacific
Northwest Golf Hall of Fame in 2007 and has won
23 PNWGA and WSGA titles. Ann is currently
the Men’s Golf Head Coach of Grays Harbor College.
Ann knows what it takes to win!

Mike Whims

Mike Whims is the founder of Grow Golf Network
and is passionate about helping beginners learn
golf. He is a head coach for the First Tee of
Greater Seattle since 2011 and works with kids
ages 8 to 18 teaching golf and life skills. Mike is also
a certified Operation36® Coach and is enthusiastic
about using this new and innovative method of
teaching golf to beginners.

Hear Ann’s Story:

“I grew up in Aberdeen Washington and in our neighborhood, there were few kids around to play with so me and my sister did all the things our two older brothers did. Building tree houses, playing football, basketball and baseball by the hours. I loved sports and dreamed of being a champion at something. Amazingly, it wasn’t till age 17 that I found my true passion, golf.

My parents belonged to Grays Harbor Country Club where my older brother caddied. One day he brought home two old persimmon woods. He sunk orange juice cans in our lawn and we had a makeshift golf course. My sister and I began hitting balls as far and as hard as we could.

My mother always supported our efforts and she signed us up for lessons with the local club pro, Dan Strite. We each used our savings, about $50, and bought two Wilson Patty Berg starter sets. With a shag bag of balls from Dan, I practiced every day that first summer. Thinking back, someone might have called me obsessive, but I was in love with the game! I practiced from 5 a.m., going home only to eat dinner before returning to the range till dark. Later, golf pro Joe Golia came to the club and basically taught me how to play the game.

When I entered Grays Harbor College it was the 1960s, they didn’t have a women’s golf team. I took the initiative and asked if I could play on the men’s team. They gave me a chance and I became the first girl in the state of Washington to play on a men’s community college golf team.
Growing up in the 1950s and ‘60s there were no organized sports for girls, but my mother was my major supporter in the beginning and throughout my golfing career. She accompanied me to tournament after tournament. She saw that I had everything I needed for golf. She lived through all of my ups and downs. When I turned 19 she surprised me with a brand-new set of Ben Hogan woods and irons. I believe her support and the values of hard work she taught me played a definite role in my accomplishments.

Excellence at golf isn’t just a matter of physical skill. It takes a great commitment to achieve challenging goals. The mental aspect is also a major ingredient in winning. I remember earlier in my career I played well and often finished second. It wasn’t until I developed the mental side of my game that the wins started coming quickly.

Now that I have reached many of my goals, I realize for me it was largely about an inner passionate desire to be the best. My new quest is to help you realize the goals you have in golf and in life.”

Ann Swanson