Our Blog

A Legend In Her Time

Tune-in to the Golf Channel during the week of March 16 when they celebrate the legendary career of Mary Mills. Mary and fellow LPGA icon, Sally Little, are the two honorees at the 2020 LPGA Volvik Founders Cup, in Phoenix, AZ. The 4-day Tour event is from March 19-22 and will televised on the Golf Channel from 3 pm-6 pm each day.  

Mary and Sally will be at the “Founders Perch” near the 18th green and will be greeting the players after they finish their rounds.

Few people have ever had the impact on the game of golf in as many ways as our amazing Mary. For the last 20 years she has been changing the games and lives of our students in her role as our East Coast Director of Instruction. 

This incredible e-mail was written by Doug Cannon who, with his wife Elizabeth, did a school with Mary at our Pinehurst site: https://www.birdgolf.com/c-students-say/doug-elizabeth-cannon/ . It is just one of scores of e-mails and letters that students have written about their experience with Mary over the last 20 years.

At the beginning of her golf career, Mary won eight consecutive Mississippi State Amateur Championships and was also the medalist in the Western Junior and the National Collegiate Championship. Mary went to Millsaps college (she was honored as their Alumni of the Year in 2015) where she was the #1 player on the Men’s Golf team for 4 years.

Mary turned professional and joined the LPGA Tour in 1962 and met with immediate success in becoming the Rookie-of-the-Year in the same year. Mary followed up her opening campaign with her win in the 1963 U.S. Open and captured her second Major in 1964 with a resounding win in the LPGA Championship.

Mary would win her second LPGA Championship (as well as being named the LPGA “Comeback Player of the Year”) in 1973 and remained competitive on Tour until her retirement in the 1980’s. In addition to her 3 Major Championships Mary won 6 other LPGA tournaments and finished in the Top 10 of the yearlong money list 5 times.

When Mary retired, she earned a Master’s degree from Florida International University, which she put to good use as the co-designer of a golf course with Alice Dye (Pete Dye’s wife).

But it has been perhaps as a teacher that Mary has had the greatest impact. She is universally revered by her students as these snippets would attest to: 

“Nancy and I had a wonderful 4 days in Pinehurst with Mary Mills. The entire experience far exceeded my expectations: Mary was FANTASTIC.” Carolie Frazier

“Sonya has had a few sporadic lessons over the years, but none have remotely approached the level of detail contained in Mary’s lessons, and none involved such a careful diagnosis of Sonya’s game and temperament.” Dick J

“Mary was a delight, humorous, patient, very helpful and obviously experienced. Both Barbara and I immensely enjoyed the whole time and we will be raving about Mary and the Bird Golf Academy to our friends.” Alan and Barbara Hartstein

Mary continues to teach with a passion and her students concur that spending a few days with Mary is a game changer.  

Player. Course Designer. Teacher. Icon.