The Accidental Astrologer

Stardust Memories

Forget the Vegas floor show and look to the skies for a spectacle you’ll never forget

By Astrid Stellanova

If you’re a fan of the fantastic, find a good spot for sky-watching around May 4–6 when the Eta Aquarids put on a show that will rival the Bellagio’s dancing fountains to dazzle us. This is one of the year’s best meteor showers. A waxing moon will mean low illumination, offering a good gander at falling stars galore.

Star Gazers, try not to fall off your fishing stool when shooting stars reflect off the pond and fish jump right outta the water. If ya’ll should miss out, pass out or fall out, you get a second chance for gawking at something be-yoo-teefull next month when the Arietids occur on June 7.

Taurus (April 20–May 20)

There’s you, bullish and charged up, and then there’s everybody else in the room fighting for the leftover oxygen. You have big appetites, needs and dreams. If you weren’t so dadgum full of life force, it would be tempting to just lure your wild self into a padded room, lock the door and keep walking. But who can walk away? Boring you ain’t. Amazing you are, when you harness all that star power for the good. If you don’t find the discipline, you exhaust friends and confound enemies.

Gemini (May 21–June 20)

You can’t motivate some people, even if you gave them a job in a MoonPie factory licking marshmallow crème off spoons. Motivating somebody else in your life just ain’t your job, Sugar, but motivating yourself, is.

Cancer (June 21–July 22)

Third time’s the charm, and, Honey, you can bet your stars and garters you are gonna succeed. If you can tap, yodel or clog, or have a dog who can, get yourself to Nashville. The stars are in your favor.

Leo (July 23–August 22)

The enemy of your enemy ain’t necessarily your friend, Honey Child. You trusted a conniving devil, and you found out you don’t like sharing the same lumpy bed, do you? Kick ’em out and put ’em in your past.

Virgo (August 23–September 22)

Your secret desire may be to play Cher in a tribute band. Whether that happens or not, you will at least be able to find both an open mic and the courage to read that poem you wrote. Sometimes you gotta be you.

Libra (September 23–October 22)

Don’t just use your head as a hat rack. Modesty ain’t working right now. Put your good brain to use, Honey, and notice how opportunity is right smack dab in front of you. It’s your turn to show ’em what you got!

Scorpio (October 23–November 21)

You’ve been so dang disconnected you don’t even know when to shout Bingo. Speak up, Sugar! Everything is pointing to the fact that you need to act. If you do, you avert a big old problem, and if you don’t, you won’t.

Sagittarius (November 22–December 21)

You got an epic surprise. Someone shocked you silly and sucked the sugar right out of your cheeks. In this case, it is plain wonderful to be wrong. You counted this someone out, but found they counted for something.

Capricorn (December 22–January 19)

Your mouth was wide as Texas but nothing came out. Stage fright, Sugar? Looks like it. Practice speaking up to somebody who gets your goat until the words comes naturally. Meantime, get yourself a good calming mantra.

Aquarius (January 20–February 18)

You buttered their butt and tore it up like a stale biscuit. Feel better? Vengeance was yours, and now you can mark that fool off the list. Focus on your better angels, not the avenging ones.

Pisces (February 19–March 20)

Sugar, you love who you love, and you just despise everybody else. Except, you don’t exactly say that. In the interest of world peace, end a grudge you’ve been nursing since fifth grade. Have some gumption.

Aries (March 21–April 19)

Lordamercy, watching Aries Star Children gets my eyebrows raised up so high my hairline has to beg for space. Let up on the ambition, and pick up on downshifting. You ain’t got to be first all the dang time.  PS

For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path.


A Sweet Ride

On the road to the big 6-0

By Bill Fields

During a hectic season of business travel — I’ve been to Florida so much I think convenience stores everywhere stock flip-flops — it hasn’t hit me yet but I’m sure it will.

My birthday will arrive and I’ll feel like one of those fast cars in a 1970s commercial — zero to 60 before you can believe it.

It shouldn’t feel like a surprise, because what they tell you is true: The older you get, the more the calendar seems like it’s on speed.

I remember the friends, balloons and food from 50. I can give you the birdies and bogeys from a round of golf on my 40th birthday. Even the festivities of number 18 are clear, despite a couple too many newly legal beverages.

Veteran tip: Do not accept the offer of late-night Champagne from a well-meaning classmate celebrating a milestone of her own with friends — who came into the world on a May day at St. Joseph’s while I was being born at Moore Memorial — after draining the beer taps in the 28387. Happy Birthday, Beth Huntley, wherever you are. I forgive you.

I also forgive author Fred Kaplan for omitting my birth in his book, 1959: The Year Everything Changed, published a decade ago. After all, there was a lot going on — the Space Race was on the first lap, and the Cold War was getting hot. Two months before I was born, Texas Instruments introduced the solid integrated circuit, the microchip. When I was four months old, International Business Machines unveiled the modern computer.

As Kaplan writes, lots of wheels in different parts of society began turning rapidly in 1959, setting the stage for dramatic shifts in the 1960s and beyond. My arrival was upheaval aplenty for my family, a big deal even though I weighed in at canned-ham size, a shade over 5 pounds, when Dr. Michael Pishko delivered me into a changing world. The attending nurse was Mrs. Luna Black, mother of sons Clyde and Marcus with whom I went through school.

Mom saved my hospital baby ID bracelet that kept me from going home to Robbins or Raeford. It looks like a crafts project created by a patient someone who likes tiny things, with itty-bitty blue beads and my last name in white beads, on a short string that will just circle my ring finger now.

My sisters were 12 1/2 and 14 1/2 years old at the time, with Johnny Mathis and Bobby Darin 45s to spin and wool skirts to sew. But from the moment my father came into the Southern Pines school cafeteria to give them the big news after my 10:42 a.m. birth on May 25, Sadie and Dianne loved me and cared for me, even when they would have rather been downtown with their pals having a fountain Coke at the drug store on Broad Street.

I might have gotten to 60 without the support of my family and friends, but it would have been a harder ride with less joy, a journey I don’t wish to contemplate. I’m lucky to have my mother still, even though seeing her diminished is hard. Yet I miss my dad, who didn’t quite make it to 60, and wonder what more years would have given him — and us.

Would he have ever talked about the war? What would he have thought about New York City? Would he have liked craft beer? Late in his life, when they were finally empty nesters, Mom told me, Dad talked of an RV in retirement, of seeing more of the country. When I’ve ventured to a new state — 48 now, lacking only North Dakota and Alaska — each trip has been at least a little bit for him, the man who finally got a son.

On this birthday, more than most, he will be a candle that can’t be blown out. PS

Southern Pines native Bill Fields, who writes about golf and other things, moved north in 1986 but hasn’t lost his accent.

Sporting Life

The Home Place

Taking the road to fond memories

By Tom Bryant

It was a perfect spring day. Most of the pine pollen was gone, and a late night rain shower had cleaned the air as fresh as only it can be in the early morning. I was on the way to the little farm I lease for bird shooting, but really more as a place in the woods where I could get away from everyday hustle and bustle. Turkey season had been in for a week, and I had yet to venture into the woods to see if this would be the year I would be successful in my quest of bagging that long bearded, elusive bird.

My route to the farm takes me through the little town of Pinebluff; and on a whim, I turned down the road where my old home place sits up on a little hill. I left the Sandhills right after high school when I went to college. Soon after that, my family moved to Florida where Dad took over management of a large ice plant. The only thing holding me to the village was the home place where I grew up, so I only visited the little town when passing through the area.

After my father passed away in the ‘70s, Mom sold the old house and I rarely visited. The small village held too many memories, and I was afraid that our home for many years wouldn’t look the same.

I was right. As I drove slowly down our street, I realized that only the bare bones of good memories were left. The old place seemed to be listing a little to starboard and badly needed a coat of paint. The yard was overgrown and a ragged pickup truck sat in the front, right next to the porch. I eased by with only a cursory glance then drove on down the road to Pinebluff Lake.

The lake still looked the same, although it has had quite a few improvements including a new pier jutting out over the spring-fed black water. I pulled up close to a picnic table, got out and walked down to the shore. A bright sun in a cloudless sky was high overhead, and the heat on my shoulders felt good. I went back to the table, sat down, looked up to the headwaters, and memories tumbled over in my mind like falling dominoes.

In the late ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, Pinebluff was a great place for a youngster. With only about 300 residences, the little village could have been right out of a classic book like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; and as a kid, I could have played the main character.

The small Village Grocery, where I had my first charge account, was only about two blocks from our house. I could buy a coke for a nickel.

The local phone company was headquartered at Mom and Pop Wallace’s house with the switchboard in their living room. Our phone was on a party line, and the number was 212. Mom Wallace knew the whereabouts of all the kids and many of the adults. If you wanted the latest scoop and you were on her good side, all you had to do was give her a call.

The police force consisted of the town constable, Mr. Deaton, and I have to admit he knew all the local kids and kept most of us under control. It wasn’t a hard job, though, and I honestly can’t remember any major law breaking in Pinebluff, or as far as that goes, in any of our surrounding towns. My parents very seldom locked the house, maybe when we went on vacation, and then only latching the screen door and turning the doorknob lock. Those were different days and a simpler time.

Aberdeen was three miles away; Southern Pines, six; and Pinehurst, about seven or eight. The major highways were two-lane connectors with very few homes or businesses interrupting the pine forests on either side. Pinehurst was another world, and not many young folks ventured past the city limits. The village actually closed in the summer. Many of the downtown stores put plywood shutters over the windows until they reopened in the early winter when folks from the frosty North would reappear just like migrating birds.

I had the opportunity to work for a brief time for Mr. Carl Moser, owner of The Pine Crest Inn. I was between colleges, having just graduated from Brevard Junior College and right before my adventure in the Marine Corps. This was a real experience for me and opened the door to a world I had no idea existed. It was during the middle of the Pinehurst season, and the hotel was maxed out with guests arriving and departing every day. I was hired as one of two desk clerks, and Moser also helped when the desk was really busy. Several

True South

Only in the South

When layaway simply won’t do

By Susan S. Kelly

Admit it: There are scenes and situations that could only happen in the South. I’m not talking about moonshine, magnolias, accents or tobacco. Collards, however, are involved.

Exhibit A:

One bitter-cold, sleeting January, my mother was hosting her luncheon bridge club gathering at her house (it’s worth noting, and also probably apropos to Only in the South, that my mother had lived in a different town for 18 years, and her bridge club had never replaced her; they’d used substitutes. For 18 years).

Never mind that these were the ’70s, they were still — again, Only in the South — the days of linen tablecloths, sterling silver, crystal goblets, and what I term girl food: lemon bars, asparagus spears, and a chicken casserole concocted with Campbell’s mushroom soup. Somewhere between the shuffling and the cleaning, the disposal backed up, the dishwasher broke down, and water from ice-damming in the gutters began running down the walls. The luncheon was not a success.

The minute the last guest left, my mother drove straight to Montaldo’s and bought herself a mink coat. (Also worth noting: All through my childhood, when I watched game shows on TV, and fur coats were the ultimate prize, my mother was very firm in her belief that no one under 50 should own a fur coat. She’d reached the required age, but only just.) However, she had to put the mink coat on layaway. That night, she told her mother, my grandmother, who lived in the ultra-sophisticated burg of Walnut Cove in Stokes County, what her day had been like.

The next morning, my grandmother drove straight to Montaldo’s, bought the mink coat herself, and delivered it to my mother. Not so much because she felt sorry for my mother — which she no doubt did — but because there was just no way that a daughter of hers was going to have anything on layaway at Montaldo’s.

Exhibit B:

A friend of my mother’s — we’ll call her Joan — was having a meeting at her house, necessitating finery, flowers, decorum, and girl food (see above). Minutes before the meeting, Joan smelled something awful. The maid had elected that particular morning to cook up a mess of collards (not girl food).

Joan panicked. “You can’t cook collards now, Myrna!” she scolded, revolted by the stench, and that a dozen grande dames were about to descend into her stinking living room. (Did I mention the meeting involved debutantes? Also Only in the South.) “You’ve got to get rid of those collards!” So, Myrna did what she was told. She took the big pot of greens off the stove and emptied the whole malodorous mess down the toilet. Which promptly stopped up and overflowed. And no embroidered hand towels in a powder room, or asparagus spears with hollandaise, can overcome a clogged commode, collards, and matrons clad in ultrasuede.

Exhibit C:

My friend Betty grew up with an irascible, alcoholic mother. A real character, who I loved, but was, nevertheless, a drunk. Years later, at a party, Betty was talking to a friend who was married to another adult child of an alcoholic, in a family that might have had even more dysfunction and irregularities than Betty’s. Still, the son — we’ll call him James — had survived and thrived. Thinking she was delivering a compliment, Betty said, “Look at James. He’s successful. Normal. Happy. With all that was going on in his house, how in the world did he turn out so well?”

The friend didn’t miss a beat. “Just like you did, Betty. Good help.”

Debutantes, collards, Montaldo’s, and good help. Only in the South.  PS

Susan S. Kelly is a blithe spirit, author of several novels, and a proud grandmother.

Golftown Journal

The Amateur Spirit

An enduring legacy of Pinehurst

By Lee Pace

An amateur is one who competes in a sport for the joy of playing, for the companionship it affords, for health-giving exercise, and for relaxation from more serious matters. As a part of this light-hearted approach to the game, he accepts cheerfully all adverse breaks, is considerate of his opponent, plays the game fairly and squarely in accordance with its rules, maintains self-control, and strives to do his best, not in order to win, but rather as a test of his own skill and ability. These are his only interests, and, in them, material considerations have no part. The returns which amateur sport will bring to those who play it in this spirit are greater than those any money can possibly buy.        Richard S. Tufts

Imagine a golf club every year having the very best players visit to compete for a title considered at the time among the elite competitions in the game. Imagine Walter Hagen and Horton Smith winning, envision the smile on Ben Hogan’s face when he finally, after years of incessant practice and yearning, wins his first professional event and the proverbial dam breaks on a Hall of Fame career. And listen for the words flowing from the mouths of the pro tour’s luminaries, of Tommy Armour saying, “The man who doesn’t feel emotionally stirred when he golfs at Pinehurst beneath those clear blue skies and with the pine fragrance in his nostrils is one who should be ruled out of golf for life.”

And then process it all with a decision that Richard Tufts made in 1951: No more professional golf. Our focus is the amateur game. Out goes the North and South Open with its half-century of history, in comes the North and South Senior Amateur for men and women.

“Amateur golf is in our DNA,” says Tom Pashley, president of Pinehurst Resort & Country Club. “Amateur golf is where the game began at Pinehurst, and it’s such a privilege to host a championship like the U.S. Amateur. We love having the U.S. Open every 10 years or so, but playing the game at the amateur level and having fun are at the core of everything we do.”

The occasion of the 2019 United States Amateur Golf Championship in August provides an opportunity to pause for a moment and consider the essential soul and character of golf, pay tribute to the values espoused by Tufts, the grandson of Pinehurst founder James W. Tufts, and remember that the pure golf experience is not from the professional tour but from the munis and clubs where the devotees go 36 holes with two-down presses and junk for a quarter and a cold beer.

“Those words from Mr. Tufts are near and dear to how the resort operates,” says Robbie Zalzneck, the USGA’s director of the U.S. Amateur Championship who’s headquartered in Pinehurst. “Some will say that most of the guys in the Amateur will go on to professional careers, but the fact is they haven’t yet and are looking forward to competing in a national championship at Pinehurst truly for the sheer opportunity to raise a trophy and see their name inscribed with so many great golfers. We’ll have 312 of the world’s best amateurs, and a huge portion of our field will look at playing in the Amateur as the biggest thing they’ve ever done in golf, and they’ll be proud of it.”

For half a century, Tufts stood guard over the game’s values as he espoused them in what he called the “Creed of the Amateur,” a passage delivered during a 1968 speech in which he accepted his induction into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. The words have been inscribed in bronze and sit on a plaque beside the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2 and statues of Tufts and golf architect Donald Ross.

“Richard Tufts did a great job of capturing what is so special about the game of golf,” says Robert Dedman Jr., whose family has owned the resort and club since 1984. “He really reflected the values that make golf so different and unique and why it resonates with so many people — having fun, overcoming adversity, the importance of courtesy, the integrity and self-control aspects of the game. They have been a part of our traditions at Pinehurst since 1901.”

Tufts served the amateur spirit in a variety of capacities — from shepherding the Carolinas Golf Association into one of the nation’s most vibrant regional golf associations to reigning as USGA president from 1956-57 to running Pinehurst from 1935-62 with an eye toward preserving the sanctity of the game. He didn’t like artificial measuring devices, golf carts and slow play. He rued the discontinuation of 36-hole Saturdays in concluding championship events, believing the double round was an excellent test of physical and mental endurance. And he reluctantly ended what in 1951 was essentially a “major” pro competition, the North and South Open, when the players hinted they needed a larger purse to continue coming to Pinehurst.

The “Creed” was his most lucid and direct assault on creeping commercialism in golf, but over the decades Tufts spoke and wrote with force and passion in trying to keep the amateur spirit intact.

In 1934 he encouraged golfers across the Carolinas to compete in the Carolinas Amateur at Linville Golf Club:

“There will be a reunion meeting with the emphasis placed on good times and good fellowship rather than good golf,” Tufts wrote in a letter of invitation. “If you can think of any argument for not being among those present, the entertainment committee is prepared to refute it.”

In 1960 he told the annual meeting of the Southern Golf Association at Myrtle Beach that the game is getting “soft.” He said the game was getting too expensive, that excessive demands were being put on green superintendents and that use of motorized carts by those who do not need them was “almost degenerate.”

“The game’s standards are being lowered and subtly, bit by bit, golf is losing its character,” Tufts said. “Those unable to meet the challenge of the game seem to find a vicarious pleasure in destroying it.”

In 1963, as captain of the United States Walker Cup team, Tufts told his players that their two goals were to retain the cup in the competition against Great Britain and Ireland and to cement friendly relations with “our friends” from across the water.

“Failure in the first undertaking is acceptable if we succeed in the second,” Tufts said at a team meeting in New York, prior to departure for Scotland. “But the trip will be a complete loss if we win the match but lose the good will of our friends. We can stand criticism of ourselves as golfers but not as sportsmen and gentlemen.”

In 1979 he wrote to an official of the company that bought the resort and club from his family nearly a decade earlier to decry the creeping commercialism in the game:

“Amateur golf can be a most valuable antidote to the high pressure, artificial life we lead today,” Tufts wrote. “But only if the game’s ancient traditions and standards are maintained and golf is enjoyed for itself in friendly competition amid such natural surroundings as we find on the old links courses of Scotland. Golf should be a medium for relaxation and not commercialization.”

Quite simply, he said in one speech, “Those days when we tried to build a center for true amateur golf here in Pinehurst will always be my happiest memories.”

Tufts welcomed good people into the game of golf, applauding the decision of Pete and Alice Dye to enter the golf architecture business back in the 1960s, when Dye was an Indiana insurance salesman.

“Mr. Tufts was the spirit of everything good in golf,” said Alice, who died at the age of 91 in February 2019. “He really was. He was the spirit of good sportsmanship. His portrait hung on the far wall in the clubhouse. Every time you walked in you stopped and looked at it. It was like a picture of Lincoln or something. You looked at it with a sense of awe.”  PS

Chapel Hill-based writer Lee Pace has written extensively about the Tufts family over three decades chronicling the history and evolution of golf at Pinehurst and across the Sandhills.

Champions Galore

Donna Andrews, the Sandhills’ only resident winner of a professional major championship, tees it up in the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

By Bill Case   •   Photographs by John Koob Gessner

A quarter century has gone by since Laura Davies and Donna Andrews battled head-to-head for a major championship title in the final round of the Nabisco Dinah Shore in Rancho Mirage, California. As the two came to the 18th tee that day, Davies, who was on the cusp of a juggernaut ’94 season in which she would win eight times on five different tours, appeared fully in command. She’d taken a one-stroke lead on the 17th and with only Mission Hills Country Club’s par-5 18th remaining, the Englishwoman — one of the most powerful drivers in the history of women’s golf — seemed in control.

Davies elected to play it safe, but the strategy began backfiring when her blocked 4-iron off the tee found the right rough. Her recovery stayed in the thick grass and her third failed to clear the crest of the green, leaving her 60 feet from the hole. Meanwhile, Andrews was on offense. She hit two perfect 3-woods followed by a 6-iron third that covered the pin the whole way, settling 12 feet behind the cup. Davies three-putted, opening the door for a two-shot swing.

“I told my caddie that there was no way I was going to leave a putt for my first major short,” recalls Andrews. She didn’t, drilling it in the heart. Andrews celebrated with a leap into Poppie’s Pond, becoming the first champion not named Amy Alcott (who took the dive in ’88 and again in ’91) to take the plunge. It has been an annual tradition followed by the championship’s winner ever since.

Twenty-five years later, Dame Laura Davies, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and owner of 85 worldwide victories, including four major championships, still plays competitively. She comes into the U.S. Women’s Senior Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club May 16-19 as the defending champion, having won the inaugural championship last year at Chicago Golf Club by a stunning 10 shots. Depending on how you want to score Harvie Ward’s U.S. Amateur titles and Peggy Kirk Bell’s Titleholders crown, Andrews stands alongside Julius Boros as one of the few major champions to call the Sandhills home. She, however, comes into the Senior Open championship with a slightly different schedule.

Andrews rises at 5:30 a.m. for her half-hour workout; feeds the horses at 6 a.m.; makes lunch for her two children, seventh grader Connor and third grader Sarah, and drives them to school at 7:15 a.m.; gives golf lessons at Pine Needles, where she is the lead teaching instructor, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., sometimes later; picks up the kids and heads home for farm chores and dinner with husband, James Tepatti. Oh, let’s not forget coaching the kids’ sports teams and selling houses for MLV Properties, a real estate agency where Tepatti is also an agent. Everyone needs to be somewhere. Some people seem to be everywhere.

Players like Davies and last year’s Senior Open runner-up Julie Inkster — who, at age 53, challenged the leaders in the U.S. Women’s Open on Pinehurst’s No. 2 course in 2014 — still regularly play tournament golf and are likely to have an upper hand over those, like Andrews, who don’t. After a stellar 15-year LPGA career that included six victories, highlighted by the ’94 Dinah Shore, Andrews retired from competitive golf in 2005. While she relishes her busy life, it leaves little time to get her own golf game in shape for a major competition, even one on her home course. “In the past, I might have had an edge reading putts but the contours of some greens were changed in the recent restoration,” says Andrews. “I’m still figuring them out.”

A native of Lynchburg, Virginia, Andrews came from a golfing family. Her father, Barclay Andrews, was a finalist in the 1961 Virginia Amateur, and both her brothers played the game at a high level. In Andrew’s mind, her involvement in other sports was critical in her development as a golfer. She played baseball, basketball, tennis and swam competitively. “Participating in other sports made me a better athlete,” she says. “I know it improved my hand-eye coordination which is essential for golf.” It’s a breadth of experience that she’d recommend to any young golfer who wants to compete at a high level.

Andrew’s self-described “math brain” enabled her to focus on, understand, and practice good swing mechanics. “I got that from my dad,” she says of the former nuclear engineer who was so good at fixing things that “we never had a repairman in the house.” Donna developed an elegant swing with a relaxed and unrushed tempo. “Whenever I try to speed up, I get into trouble,” she says.

In high school, Andrews easily made the boys’ golf team, slotting in as E.C. Glass High’s number one or two player. Her teammates enjoyed needling opponents saying, “We got a girl who’s going to kick your butt.” She took home trophies for winning Virginia girls’ statewide championships in ’83 and ’84, and captured the 1984 North and South Junior Girls Championship in Pinehurst.

College coaches salivated over the prospect of recruiting Andrews. She chose the University of North Carolina (where she played alongside the current president of the PGA of America, Suzy Whaley) because she was interested in obtaining a “four year business degree from a great school — in case I needed a job.”

Andrews was second-team All-American her senior year, finishing third in the NCAA Championship. She continued winning Virginia Women’s Amateurs (five altogether), all held at match play over the Homestead’s Cascades course. Combined with her two junior titles, Andrews reeled off seven straight Virginia state championships from 1983 to 1989. Pinehurst was the site of the most prestigious victory of her amateur career when she defeated three-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Anne Quast Sander in the final of the 1988 Women’s North and South. By then, she had become familiar with Sandhills golf where she and her UNC teammates often came to practice. Andrews became friendly with Pinehurst’s Director of Golf, Don Padgett, Sr., and even worked at the resort in the summer.

Relying on a personal nest egg to finance her travels, Andrews turned professional in 1990 and played consistently enough to lead in the points race for rookie-of-the-year honors over Japan’s Hiromi Kobayashi with one event remaining. What happened next still rankles. “The final points event was a tournament held in Japan,” recalls Andrews. “The organizers invited Hiromi, but not me.” Kobayashi did just enough to nose ahead of Andrews to win the award.

In ’92, Andrews made a spirited run at the U.S. Open over treacherous Oakmont Country Club, leading early and ultimately finishing third. She would break into the winner’s circle the next year at the Ping-Cellular One LPGA Championship, finish ninth on the money list and tie with Helen Alfredsson for second in the U.S. Women’s Open at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Indiana, one shot behind winner Lauri Mertens. Golf Digest named Andrews the LPGA’s most improved player.

In ’94, Andrews won three tournaments and finished fifth in earnings, the highlight being the Dinah Shore — a victory that confirmed to the 26-year-old that she really “belonged.” Having climbed near the pinnacle of women’s professional golf, she possessed the wherewithal to pursue another passion, purchasing a horse farm just outside Southern Pines where she bred Hanoverians. She suffered the first in a string of physical setbacks when back pain led to surgery in ’96. Once she was pain-free, she won again the following year. A sixth victory in 1998 coupled with several other high finishes placed Donna third in the money race, and she was a member of the USA’s victorious Solheim Cup team with a 2-2-0 record.

Not long after she regained her form, injuries struck again. A fall from a horse in June 1999 caused a serious dislocation of her right shoulder and Andrews missed two months of competition. When she returned, she wasn’t the same player. She endured months of physical therapy before she could swing the club freely. Regaining some semblance of form in 2001, Andrews carded the lowest round of her career, a sizzling 62, in the second round of Tulsa’s Williams Championship, though it may well have been a shot lower. Her tap-in putt for 61 went in, but Andrews was concerned she might have struck the ball twice in the process. The television replay revealed no discernible evidence of a double-hit but, uncomfortable with the official’s ruling of no violation, she imposed the penalty on herself, and signed for a 62. She finished the tournament one shot behind the winner. Named to the LPGA Player Executive Committee, she served two years as president and, in another career offshoot, did periodic announcing gigs for ESPN at LPGA events.

Andrews reinjured her shoulder in 2004 after getting in the middle of a real, honest-to-God dogfight. She began referring to herself as “Donna Rehab.” Though she managed four top tens, another shoulder dislocation in ’05 sidelined the 38-year-old for good. It was then that Peggy Kirk Bell offered Andrews a full-time instructional position at Pine Needles. “God hit me over the head,” she says. “Here’s your way out.” Informed in part by her own work with renowned instructors Davis Love, Jr. and Jack Lumpkin, Andrews’ easy manner and uncomplicated, to-the-point instructional style resonated with her students. In the same breath, she made another major life change, marrying boyfriend Tepatti, a transplanted Alabaman and successful developer. The couple had their first child two years later.

The family atmosphere at Pine Needles, fostered by Warren and Peggy Kirk Bell, proved a natural fit. In her mind, the string of injuries left no lingering scars of what might have been. Things are as they were meant to be. “I feel I was brought to Pine Needles to continue the women’s golf tradition,” she asserts. “I love this family and this place.”

When the USGA announced in 2015 that it would be holding the first Senior Women’s Open in 2018, Executive Director Mike Davis acknowledged that the event was long overdue. “Let’s call it The ‘About Time’ Senior Women’s Open,” he said. In 2016, the LPGA informed its members that it would be holding its own senior women’s major in 2017 — the Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick, Indiana. The chance to play for two major titles was certainly welcome news for the women, but it truly became a dream come true when the purses were announced — $600,000 for the LPGA Championship and $1 million for the Open — dwarfing anything that existed before.

So there will be plenty more than pride to play for when the pros descend on Pine Needles. But don’t expect the women to be grim and stone-faced about it all. Most will relish the chance to reunite with the contemporaries of their tour days. That includes Andrews who cherishes her many friendships with fellow pros. It’ll be more than merely a social occasion for the Pine Needles teaching pro, too. With shoulders healed, Andrews hopes to improve on the finishes in her three prior senior majors — tying for 20th in the 2017 Senior LPGA Championship and missing cuts in that championship and the Senior Open last year.

Like so many of the players in the Women’s Senior Open, Andrews doesn’t lack for accolades. She’s been inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame, and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. In June, Boonsboro Country Club, where she first learned golf, will host the Donna Andrews Invitational, a top-level amateur event for females.

Pine Needles has played host to three U.S. Women’s Opens in 1996, 2001, and 2007, and will host the championship again in 2022. The familiarity of the venue makes this a homecoming of sorts for several players. Stars who played in ’96 and are expected in this year’s Senior Open field include Inkster, Betsy King, Pat Bradley, Hollis Stacy, Beth Daniel, Patty Sheehan, Meg Mallon, JoAnne Carner, Jan Stephenson, and, of course, Davies. The championship promises to be especially fan-friendly. “We will only rope tees and greens,” says Matt Sawicki, the Director of Women’s and Senior Open Championships. ”It makes the event unique and allows an up-close and personal experience for spectators to walk the fairways with the legends of the game.”

Last year, the indomitable 79-year-old JoAnne Carner, winner of eight USGA championships, lit the tournament candle when she stepped on the first tee, flipped her cigarette on the ground and hit the first ball ever in a United States Women’s Senior Open Championship. It’s Pine Needles’ turn to grow the tradition with a little help from its teaching pro.  PS

Pinehurst resident Bill Case is PineStraw’s history man. He can be reached at

Simple Life

Dirty Hands, Happy Heart

And other gifts from the universe

By Jim Dodson

When all else fails, Mulligan the dog and I head for the garden.

Possibly because I hail from a family of Carolina farmers and rabbit tobacco preachers, digging in the dirt is not only second nature and something that draws me closer to my maker, but also serves as a cheap and effective therapy in a world that seems increasingly shaped by the insatiable gods of work and money.

For many Americans, work has become something of its own secular religion. According to Gallup, Americans average more hours of work per year than any of our fellow developed nations, yet 87 percent of U.S employees don’t feel fulfilled by how they earn their living. That’s a staggering problem that helps contribute to rising depression and addiction across all sectors of society.

In 1919, as Fast Company recently noted, 4 million Americans went on strike to demand fairer wages and a five-day work week — the beginning, historians point out, of the so-called American leisure class. As a result, weekends became enshrined in the culture. The bad news? We’re losing ground to our obsession to work longer and harder with diminishing returns, the average American working a full day longer than the 40-hour work week fought for by our early 20th century ancestors.

Maybe you’re one of the fortunate ones who loves what you do. I certainly am, having enjoyed a varied journalism career and book-writing life that has taken me to places I only dreamed about as a kid. Today, I own the privilege of serving as editor of four robust arts-and-culture magazines staffed by a talented crew of folks across this state. We’re a merry band of storytellers and artists who love what we do and never take that gift from the gods for granted. How we spend our time away from the job says a lot about us, a lesson some of us had to learn the hard way.

At age 30, in 1983, I was the senior writer for the largest news magazine in the South, the Sunday Magazine of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a magazine where Margaret Mitchell once worked and the South’s finest writers appeared. Over my seven years in Atlanta, covering everything from Klan rallies to presidential candidacies, I took only two or three full weeks of vacation. When I finally received the summons to Washington, D.C., for the interview I’d grown up hoping for, I felt utterly empty, burned-out, ready to find a new way of earning my daily crust.

The unexpected epiphany came following my big interview in Washington when I phoned my father from the outer office of Vice President George H. W. Bush. I’d been one of the first reporters to travel with Bush during the 1980 presidential campaign and gotten to know him fairly well — sharing a love of baseball, beer and New England.

My dad asked how the job interview went. I told him it seemed to go well,  save for one small problem: I wasn’t sure I wanted the job — or even to be a journalist any more.

“I have an idea,” he said calmly. “Why don’t you change your flight plans back to Atlanta and stop off in North Carolina?”


The next morning, he picked me up at Raleigh’s airport and drove us to Pinehurst.

My Haig Ultra golf clubs were in the back seat of his car. They hadn’t been touched by me in years. For at that point, almost incomprehensibly I hadn’t played a full round of golf — the game I loved best — more than once or twice while living in the hometown of Bobby Jones. Instead, I’d worked myself into an early grave — or so I feared.

After our round on famed No. 2 we sat together on the porch of the Donald Ross Grill and talked over beers about what I feared might be a premature midlife crisis, or worse.

He could have laughed at my youthful angst. But he didn’t. My old man was one great fellow, a former newsman and advertising executive with a poet’s heart. My nickname for him was Opti the Mystic.

After listening to me pour out my tale of existential career woe, he smiled and remarked, “I wouldn’t give up on journalism just yet, sport. You have a God-given talent for stringing together words and telling stories of the heart. I do, however, have a small suggestion for you. You may laugh.”

“Try me,” I said, desperate for any guidance from Opti.

“Perhaps you should try writing about things you love instead of things you don’t.”

I looked at him and laughed.

“What kinds of things?” I asked.

He shrugged and sipped his beer. He was 66 years old, the age I am today.

“Only you can answer that. Use your imagination. What do you love? You’ll find the best answer there. It may sound ridiculously corny to you, but try telling the universe what you love and you may be surprised at the results. The path is never straight. But trust your gut. One thing leads to another, including people.”

Humoring him, I admitted that I loved golf and being in nature but didn’t know a soul in either of those worlds and couldn’t imagine how I would find my way into them. Once a single-handicap golfer, as I’d proven that day at No. 2, I couldn’t even break a hundred on the golf course anymore. Having grown up hiking and camping in the mountains and forests of my home state, it had been years since I’d been deep in the woods. I’d even loved mowing neihborhood lawns and working in my mom’s garden, but hadn’t done that in almost a decade.

Still, something got into my head. Or maybe it was my gut. 

A short time later, I withdrew my name from consideration for jobs in Washington, quit my gig in Atlanta and took a 2-month writing sabbatical at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts at Sweet Briar College.

It was springtime in Virginia. I wrote for three or four hours every morning, working on a novel about a Georgia farm family for a legendary editor at Harper & Row.

In the afternoons, I took long walks through the pasturelands, fields and woods of beautiful Amherst County, Patrick Henry country.

One afternoon I helped an elderly couple down the road weed their garden and took home a stunning bunch of peonies that reminded me of my mom’s garden back home in Greensboro.

The novel was a dud. My heart was never in it. But the legendary editor, pointing out that books would come when the timing was right, insisted that I call Judson Hale at Yankee Magazine in New Hampshire. I followed up on his advice and soon found myself working as the first Southerner and senior writer in Yankee Magazine’s history. I got myself a pup from a Vermont Humane Society, lived in a cottage by the Green River and taught myself to fly-fish. My heartbeat slowed. I even rediscovered my lost passion for golf on an old course where Rudyard Kipling once chased the game.

A few years after that, a story I wrote about a forgotten hero of women’s golf even landed me a sweet job at Golf Magazine and a decade’s service as the golf editor for American Express, a job that took me around the world and inspired me to take my dad back to England and Scotland where he learned to play golf as a soldier during the war. He was dying of cancer. It was our final journey. The little book I wrote about, Final Rounds, became a bestseller that’s still in print.

Opti had been right about all of it — the power of doing what you love, listening to heart and gut while expressing your desires and gratitude to a generous universe. Whatever else may be true, I am proof that one good thing — and more important, one good person — can invariably lead to another.

Over the next two decades, I built a house on a forested hill on the coast of Maine, fathered two wonderful children and basically invested their college funds into a massive English garden in the woods. A dozen books followed, including Arnold Palmer’s memoirs.

That job brought me home again thanks to a chance to teach writing at Hollins University in Virginia and simultaneously help my partners create distinctive arts-and-culture magazines that people in this state seem almost as passionate about as we are.

Today, I consciously belong to an intentionally slower world, taking time to do the work I love but never failing to spend time in the garden with my dog, Mulligan. A golf round with my childhood pal never hurts, either.

Perhaps I’ve just come full circle. In any case, friends tell me I’m more productive than ever. If so, that’s probably because dirty hands make for a happy heart, as an aging gardener once said to me.

That aging gardener was my mom, who had a magical way with peonies and roses.

May was her favorite month, the month where spring gardens reach their glory.

Mulligan agrees with me that our roses and peonies have never looked better.  PS

Contact Editor Jim Dodson at