Decades of dominance
Nancy Taaffe doesn’t care much for attention.
Heck, the Silver Creek resident admits she runs away when someone dares sing “Happy Birthday” to her.
But her son, Mark Pratt, couldn’t ignore his mom’s latest golf accomplishment, so he composed an email to our sports department with the following amazing statistical information: By virtue of Nancy winning the women’s club championship at Tri-County Country Club in Forestville last weekend, she has now claimed, by her count, 39 titles spanning seven consecutive decades.
“This year wasn’t quite a great score,” said Nancy, whose first championship came in 1969. ” … I got so nervous this year. My game has been in the 80s most of the time this summer. I just got nervous playing. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because it was the seventh decade.”
For those wondering, Nancy just recently celebrated her 77th birthday.
“I’m always trying to improve — the short game, the putting,” she said. “There’s just so many different parts of the game you can keep improving.”
Nancy said she and her husband, Rick, play four or five times a week. Both retired, they winter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina which allows them to play year round.
“I just love the game,” she said.
Nancy, whose daughter, Julie Beichler, lives in North Carolina, was first introduced to golf in 1962 when she was 19, although it wasn’t necessarily an auspicious start.
“I went out and hit the ball a long way, “ she said, “but, of course, it sliced, and I was terrible around the greens.”
Undaunted, she became a member at Tri-County CC and, seven years later, she claimed her first club title. Along the way, she met Cindy Miller, one of Western New York’s finest golfers who is also a member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. They remain good friends to this day.
“I’m so proud of my mom’s accomplishments, of course,” said Mark, who lives in Virginia. “I mention them to most every golfer I play with for the first time. More importantly, though, I’ve always admired her modesty and the way she conducts herself. She is a credit to the game.”
Nancy credits her staying power, among other things to two longtime friends and former scramble partners Josie Crino and Ruth Dolce, who are both 93.
“They used to always say, ‘Keep moving, don’t ever sit,”‘ Nancy said.
Armed with that advice she keeps pursuing the game she loves.
“I like the challenge, and I like to be competitive and have fun.”
What about the attention that comes with all the success?
Maybe not so much.
So with that in mind, consider this column a special tribute to your prowess on the links for more than a half century.