An Interview With Beth Daniel

Beth Daniel won the first of her two U.S. Women's Amateur titles in 1975. (USGA Museum)
By Warren Peper
August 1, 2013

Beth Daniel, who grew up playing at the Country Club of Charleston, claimed a pair of U.S. Women’s Amateur titles in 1975 and 1977 before embarking on a Hall-of-Fame professional career, where she won 33 LPGA Tour titles, including the 1980 LPGA Championship. Daniel recently chatted with The Post and Courier's multimedia producer Warren Peper for a Q and A that appears in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur program about growing up at the Country Club of Charleston and her memories of the Women’s Amateur.

What’s your earliest memory of playing golf here at the Country Club of Charleston?

Daniel: I remember being 6 years old and tagging along after my Mom and Dad on a Sunday afternoon. They would let me hit it here and there, then tell me to catch-up so that others wouldn’t have to wait on us.

Were you a little superstar around the club?

Daniel: Not at all, I was such a late-bloomer that only two small colleges even offered me partial scholarships after high school. I eventually attended Furman, primarily because I had an aunt and uncle that lived in Greenville.

Your lowest score here?

Daniel: It was a 62 and it was when I was on tour. I had to make a 5-footer for par on 18. I was playing with my Dad and he was already gesturing to guys on the 19th hole what I was about to do and I remember telling him, “Stop it, there’s enough pressure on this already.”

Any suggestions to the participants on how to approach No. 11?

Daniel: It depends. If it’s stroke play, I always get the yardage to the front/top shelf. Even if the ball rolls back down the hill, I figure I’ll make bogey, at the worst. If it’s match play, I have more of a tendency to go for it. My best advice is to forget where the pin is and get the ball up top.

Your memories of winning the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1975?

Daniel: I remember we only made reservations day-to-day. I was such an unknown. There were no expectations. I really just took each day as it came.

Two years later, you won it again.

Daniel: It was much tougher the second time. There were high expectations. Just the year before, I was the medalist and lost in the first round. I really wanted to prove the first time wasn’t an accident.

You were often called a ‘range rat.’ You would spend hours on the driving range. Where did that come from?

Daniel: I’m not sure. To this day I enjoy hitting balls. I don’t play 18 holes very often, but I still get pleasure from practicing. My first teacher, Derek Hardy, changed my swing when I was 15 and I think that’s where I first developed my love for the range. If you don’t work things out there, it won’t magically get better on the course.

Your competitive fire was also a well-known aspect of your career.

Daniel: I know it, and that attitude is not reflected in any other part of my life. I would get mad at myself, at times, on the golf course. My mom once said she didn’t recognize ‘that’ person. I can’t explain it. I sometimes wish I had been different, but if I had, I might not have been as successful.

Finally, as a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, what does it mean for this championship to come to your home course?

Daniel: It’s fabulous! It’s great for the golf course and it’s great for Charleston.

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