News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Volunteer Spotlight Dana Laine

A self-proclaimed late bloomer to the golf administration game, Houston’s Dana Laine has spent the majority of her life helping others.

Long before she started assisting amateur golfers in 2018 as a TGA Volunteer, including giving rulings, helping with lost ball searches, giving pace of play support, scoring, and so on, Laine was a registered nurse. She’s spent 40 years in the profession, a career that includes working in acute care at Memorial Hermann as part of the hospital’s Life Flight Care team for eight of them.

From there, she moved to the Texas Medical Board doing investigative work involving physicians. She retired 20 years later, with a caveat. She gave her word to her husband John that if she retired, she’d help him doing the books and some office work for his tax preparation company.

That didn’t last long, however. She asked off to play golf too often!

About five years prior to her retirement from the medical industry, John surprised her with her first set of golf clubs. They found a little nine-hole course near their house in Richmond. Rather quickly, Laine was bitten by the golf bug. She started taking lessons and playing various public courses around Houston.

“I just loved it because it was something I could do on my own, and it got me out of the house,” Laine said. “We used to do a lot of fishing. Once I started playing golf, the fishing went by the wayside a little bit.”

The couple joined Sugar Creek Country Club in Sugar Land. Soon after that, they bought a house near the course. They loved being members of the club and living close by, which probably had a little something to do with Laine becoming borderline consumed with playing golf and trying to get better.

As she did, Laine dabbled in some competitive arenas. She teed it up in several intraclub events at Sugar Creek and played in the Greater Houston Women’s City Amateur. During that City Am event, she got into a spot of bother and needed a Rules Official. Longtime TGA and USGA Rules expert Sis Singletary helped Laine with the situation. Singletary’s friendliness, professionalism, and expertise made strong impressions on Laine.

Soon after, Laine played in her first TGA Women’s Championship. She saw Singletary again there. Laine had positive experiences in her club’s LGA tournaments and the Houston City Am, but she was blown away with the atmosphere at the TGA event.

“It was just so well run,” she said. “I was so impressed with everything.”

About this time, Laine was looking for other ways to get involved with golf. She loved to play the game, sure, but she’d always had a servant’s heart. They say caring is the essence of nursing, and Laine certainly cared about golf. A friend suggested she inquire about becoming a volunteer with the TGA, so she called John Cochran IV, the TGA’s Director of Competitions for South Texas.

“She had seen us hosting events at Sugar Creek, where she is a member, and wanted to learn about how to give back,” Cochran said. “She has grown as a volunteer since then, and she’s always willing to help when she comes out to events. Dana isn’t afraid to ask questions and is always a sponge when around others that have been volunteering longer and have more experience.”

Singletary in particular has become a mentor to Laine. The two are text buddies, and Singletary encourages her friend to text her with any and all Rules questions that may arise.

“Sis has been absolutely wonderful to me,” Laine said.

Like many of her peers, Laine’s favorite TGA events to work are the Legends Junior Tour competitions. She especially loves watching the girls play, improve, and grow as young people. Through the course of her volunteer work, Laine created lasting friendships with some young players.

She befriended Kendell Jackson from Pearland, for example. Laine saw Jackson and her father at several LJT events. Laine was impressed with Jackson’s skill, as well as her dad’s interest and unconditional support. Over the years, Laine watched as Jackson improved as a competitive golfer and grow as person.

“Kendell was very shy at first,” Laine recalled. “She’s turned into a wonderful young lady, just a beautiful person. I’m so proud of all she’s accomplished.”

Now a sophomore at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Jackson is enjoying her best competitive season yet. She has two collegiate victories, four top-5s, and five top-10s. Jackson has warm memories of her friend, too.

“She was there for a lot of my LJT events,” Jackson said of Laine. “She always had a smile on her face and was so welcoming. She always had a great attitude and was encouraging, especially on the days I didn’t play well. Whenever I was playing a course that I didn’t know well, or wasn’t playing particularly well, it was always nice to see her friendly face when I had a Rules question. She was so great at walking me through the situation and options.”

Although she’s one of the newer volunteers, Laine feels right at home with her TGA family. She credits veteran volunteers such as Singletary, Peggy Spann, Nick Bramlett, A.J. Cortez, Bobby Grabstald, Rick Turner, and many others, for helping her become more confident as a Rules Official.

“They are a great group of people,” Laine said. “They’re very welcoming, very open, and very patient for those of us who are still learning. They’re always available to help. If you’re not sure, you’re on the radio asking for help. It makes me feel good when what I say over the radio is correct, but to have them there for support and go over scenarios and ‘what ifs,’ is so helpful. It’s still a learning experience, and I love it.”

To learn more about becoming a TGA Volunteer, click here.