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Rules of the Game

Golf is a sport in which players use a club to hit a ball lying on the ground.  The object of the game is to hit the ball starting from a teeing area into a hole with as few shots as possible. A round of golf consists of 18 holes, and most matches or tournaments are comprised of four rounds.  Two different scoring systems are most common: match play, which is based on the lowest score per hole for each player regardless of the number of shots, and medal (stroke) play, which is based on the total number of strokes each player needs to complete the round.  NCAA matches are scored using medal play.  Collegiate golf is a two season sport, with some tournaments held in the fall, followed by an NCAA championship season in the spring. 

Penn State Women’s Golf History

Penn State fielded its first women’s golf team in 1965, under coach Mimi Ryan.  Her successor, Barbara Sanford, coached the Nittany Lions to their first Eastern Intercollegiate Association of Women’s Athletics (EIAWA) Championship in 1971.  Annette Thompson took over as head coach in the fall of 1971, and through 1980 PennState won five EIAWA titles.

Mary Kennedy-Zierke coached the women golfers from 1980 to 1992 (she also coached the men from 1983-1992).  During her tenure, Penn State participated in its only NCAA Tournament when they finished 18th in 1985, and won the 1991 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) championship.  She guided the Nittany Lions in their inaugural 1991/1992 season in the Big 10.  In recognition of her great service to Penn State golf, her name graces the award given each year to the women’s and men’s teams’ most valuable players.

Current head coach Denise St. Pierre, who was Kennedy-Zierke’s assistant coach for seven years, became head coach in the fall of 1992.  Penn State won ECAC championships in 1998 and 2000, and enjoyed their best Big 10 Tournament with a 3rd place finish in 1997.  St. Pierre was named NCAA Mid-Atlantic/East Region Coach of the Year in 1992.    

 In 2019, Penn State finished in 11th place at the Big Ten Championships.


Penn State plays its home matches at the Blue and the White University Courses.

Team Accomplishments

EIAWA Champions
1971, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979   

ECAC Champions
1991, 1998, 2000

NCAA Tournament
1985 (18th

18-Hole Best Team Score
290 (1998 Mid-West Classic)

72-Hole Best Team Score
1,220 (2000 Big 10 Championships)

NCAA Award for High Academic Progress


Annette Thompson (1971-1980)

5 EIAWA Championships

Mary Kennedy-Zierke (1980-1992)

PSU’s only NCAA Tournament (1985)
1991 ECAC Championship
Penn State’s men’s golf coach (1983-1992)

Denise St. Pierre (1992-present)

1998, 2000 ECAC Championship   
1992 NCAA Mid-Atlantic/East Region coach of the year


Notable Players

Renie Kelleher (1976-1979)

1977, 1978 EIAWA Champion

Emily Marron (1995-1998)

1995, 1996 ECAC Champion
1998 Academic All-Big 10

Laura Hammond (1995-1999)

1998, 1999 All-American
1996, 199 All-Big 10
1996, 1998, 1999 Academic All-Big 10

Katie Futcher (2000-2003)

2002, 2003 All-American
2002, 2003 All-Big 10
2002, 2003 Academic All-American
2001, 2002, 2003 Academic All-Big 10
PSU lowest 18-hole score (67, twice)
PSU lowest 72-hole score (291)
PSU lowest season average (74.03)

Player Recognition

EIAWA Champions – Andrea Dutcher (1971); Renie Kelleher (19977, 1978).

ECAC Champions – Emily Marron (1995, 1996).

All-Americans – Laura Hammond (1998, 1999); Kate Futcher (2002, 2003).

All-Big 10 – Sherri McDonald (1994); Laura Hammond (1996, 1999); Katie Futcher (2002, 2003). Maggie Lester (2006); Ellen Ceresko (2014),Cara Basso (2018).

 Academic All-Americans – Holly Turton (1996, 1997, 1998); Meghan Mull (2001, 2002, 2003); Katie Futcher (2002, 2003); Keri Dugan (2002, 2003); Amber Weinerth (2003); Katrin Wolfe (2003).


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