By Marc Hardin
As a golf enthusiast, Pat Dunn has few equals. The married mother of two has immersed herself in the sport as a lifelong player, longtime coach, unwavering advocate and unabashed fan. She has made many memories on the course for herself and for others and collected plenty of tools of the trade along the way.
“I really love golf. It’s what I do all summer,” Dunn said of her attachment to the game. “I keep all my old golf clubs.”
She is actively using those old clubs at Cincinnati Country Day, where Dunn teaches English and coaches a small but tight-knit girls’ golf team.
“The school provides the bags,” Dunn said. “I really like working with kids. A lot of them didn’t golf before they came to the school so we work on everything from grip to swing plane.”
Dunn, a top-2 player at Terrace Park Country Club and a former flight runner-up at the Greater Cincinnati Women’s Metropolitan tournament, is one of a handful of GCWGA members and tournament competitors who double as head golf coaches at the local high school level.
Among her peers are Loveland’s Barb Orsinelli, Beechwood’s Lori Eberle, Lakota West’s Linda Coffey and Little Miami’s Marianne Morris. (Coffey and Morris were spotlighted in last month’s part one of a two-part series).
Dunn has found a way to play golf and teach it to youngsters despite a personal schedule that has been filled with teaching duties for 31 years. She’s also Country Day’s upper school English department chair and a college counselor.
She coaches the Loveland girls’ lacrosse team and has served on a lacrosse organizational board. She’s been coaching golf and lacrosse for 12 years.
When it comes to doing important things, Dunn has done a lot while wearing many hats. Foremost, she sees herself as a loving wife, a mother of a pair of 20-somethings living in New York City and Washington D.C. and a teacher. Husband Tim Dunn, also a longtime Loveland teacher and coach, is celebrating induction this month into the Ohio High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“My biggest skill is teaching,” Dunn said. “I’m pretty confident that Country Day is the smallest school in Ohio that fields a girls’ golf team. It’s a different challenge. You have to be organized. You need a van. You need a sense of humor and a love of golf. If you have all that, it’s fabulous. Unlike Barb, who is more like a coach, I’m an instructor who makes a schedule and herds the girls.”
Orsinelli’s Loveland Tigers made a breakthrough in 2015, becoming the first girls’ golf team in school history to win the Eastern Cincinnati Conference championship. They did it with a perfect record while capturing first place in the regular season standings and taking the conference tournament trophy from three-time champion Milford.
“They had never won a league championship since the program’s existence,” Orsinelli said the day the Tigers made school history. In her second season as head coach, Orsinelli, a former Loveland junior varsity coach, was named ECC coach of the year. Loveland repeated as regular-season champion in 2016 and won the conference tournament by 43 shots. The Tigers win by 31 the previous season after a jump from third in the tournament standings.
Eberle, an eight-time Northern Kentucky Women’s Amateur Champion and a regular competitor at the Women’s Metropolitan, guided a tiny Beechwood team with no seniors to its first-ever All “A” Classic regional championship in 2014 on Pioneer at The Golf Courses of Kenton County.
Two weeks before earning the small-school crown, Eberle won her eighth Northern Kentucky Women’s Amateur, extending her record total, at Devou Park. Eberle’s father, long-time Northern Kentucky player and official Tom Oldendick, was on hand to see his daughter claim her biggest coaching win. “After 41 years of playing golf,” Eberle said, “it was great because I had not won anything before as a coach.”
(Second part of a two-story series about Greater Cincinnati high school girls golf coaches)