Award: Joan Birkland Leadership Award
Location/Affiliation: St. Mary’s Academy, Golf
- A Lifetime Empowering Others Through Golf
- Back-to-back State Champions
- Won the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award
Ann Wolta Blackstone is an LPGA master teaching professional who’s a perfect fit for so many of our awards. She’s a 3-time breast cancer survivor. “Perseverance.” She battled through a brain injury. “Comeback.” “Inspiration.”
How ‘bout “Pioneer”? When she was hired as a golf instructor in the early 80’s, women rarely got those jobs.
“Ambassador.” She even went to Kenya and introduced golf to a group of Swahili women! She calls it- quote- “the most rewarding experience of my life”.
“Coach of the Year”. This past spring, her St. Mary’s Academy High School team won back-to-back state championships.
“Community Service.” Ann created a local Rally for the Cure golf tournament, and raised more than $120,000 to support fellow breast cancer survivors.
“Lifetime Achievement.” That’s the honor she recently received from the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame.
There are so many categories, so we decided to honor Ann for her overall leadership, and we do that with our Joan Birkland Leadership Award. Joanie was one of our founding members and our tireless Executive Director for forty years. Back in her day, Joanie was the state’s top tennis player and golfer and is a member of the Colorado Golf, Tennis, Sports, and Women’s Hall of Fame! We can’t think of anyone better to receive her leadership award than Ann Wolta Blackstone.
By Marcia Neville, Former Sports Broadcaster, 2-Time SWOC Honoree