In the words of the LPGA Tour: “Each year, the JTBC Founders Cup celebrates “Pioneers” of the LPGA, honoring their trailblazing spirit as well as their exemplary participation in the development and advancement of the LPGA Tour and women’s golf.”
This year, one of Bird Golf’s very own amazing teachers was one of the 3 players honored as Pioneers. Sandra Palmer was celebrated as were Donna Caponi and Judy Rankin during the week of The Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix.
Sandra joins a luminary list of ladies who are all so very deserving of the honorarium, Pioneer. Previously inducted were: Kathy Whitworth, Renee Powell, Carol Mann, JoAnne Carner, Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, Barbara Romack and Peggy Kirk Bell. Legendary ladies all.
Sandra won 19 tournaments in her career and was both the leading money winner and the Rolex Player of the Year in 1975. Always a very consistent player, Sandra finished in the Top 10 on the money list for 10 consecutive years from 1968-1977.
She was a two time Major Champion, with victories in both the 1972 Titleholders (Sandra ran away with that event winning by 10 strokes over Hall of Famer, Mickey Wright, and fellow Pioneer inductee, Judy Rankin) and the 1975 U.S. Women’s Open. Sandra also captured the 1975 Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle event which is now called the ANA Inspiration, and is the first Major of the Year on the LPGA Tour.
Throughout her life and career, Sandra was mentored by Harvey Penick, who many regard as the greatest teacher who ever lived. Mr. Penick thought so much of Sandra that he dedicated a chapter of his book “For All Who Love The Game” to her calling it, “Our Daughter Sandra”.
It was that relationship with Mr. Penick that groomed Sandra for her life after she retired from playing. Sandra has dedicated herself to teaching with the same passion with which she pursued playing the game on Tour.
Sandra is one of those rare individuals who have managed to excel in two arenas in her amazing life. Sandra teaches her students with the same simplicity (perhaps the greatest asset a teacher can have) and mastery of her legendary mentor. Sandra’s students draw from her lifetime of playing and observation and their games are universally improved after a school with this great lady.
Sandra is so worthy of this distinct honor. She has indeed been a Pioneer throughout her life and continues to blaze a glorious trail that touches and enriches the lives of all who walk with her.