Amateur Golf Podcast: Seven time USGA champion Ellen Port, who has beaten senior men!
19 Mar 2023
by Sean Melia of AmateurGolf.com
see also: Ellen Port Rankings, Ellen Port Profile
Ellen Port (Credit: USGA)
is one of the most decorated golfers of her, or any generation. She’s won seven USGA events, an accomplishment that puts her in the stratosphere of national champions. Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods have nine. Jack Nicklaus and JoAnne Gunderson Carner have eight. However, Port’s journey is different than the other golfers on the list. She began playing golf seriously in her mid-20s when she grabbed an old pair of her dad’s Wilson blades before heading to St. Louis for a teaching job. She was hooked.
In a staggering eight years, Port had secured a spot on the Curtis Cup Team in 1994. She also played in 1996 and captain the team in her home state of Missouri in 2014. Port isn’t done yet, she’s hoping to win an 8th USGA event, which would give her a title in four different decades. Port isn’t just a national champion. She had dominated the Missouri golf scene. She’s in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, Missouri Golf Association Hall of Fame. She is also a 16-time Metropolitan Amateur Champion 16 times and won the men’s Metropolitan Senior Amateur Championship in 2022.
We talk about her love of the game and her mentality on the course. She picks out a few highlights from her USGA championships and tells an incredible story about the wildlife in Alaska during the 2022 US Women’s Senior Am. She talks about her Curtis Cup experience as a player and captain and gives us a few things she’s feeling good about for the future of women’s amateur golf.
On how she improved so quickly
There's no substitute for competition. You have to play your way into shape. And that's one of the challenges I always had, because I didn't have a lot of events to play in between work and weather, climate and lifestyle, I would just be getting it figured out. And I always kept saying, 'Gosh, I wish I had another event next week to tee it up, because I learned so much.' You get hungry. Look at the PGA Tour; one week somebody doesn't make the cut, and the next week they win. You know, they figure out stuff in between each tournament. And that's kind of what I did. I just kept figuring it out. And I was eager and hungry and had so many wonderful people in my life that just gave me just little nuggets and direction and challenges and a vision for how good I could be.
On winning the Mid-Am at age 50
Back in 2011 I won the Mid-Am at 50 years old. That one kind of stands out because I was so disappointed at 50 that I was going to miss the senior Women's Amateur that year. And I missed it by a week and it was being played the week before my birthday at one of my favorite golf courses where we played the Curtis Cup - The Honors Course. The Mid-Am was the week during my birthday. I had to qualify. I had won in 2000, and I had used my ten-year exemption. So I had to go to Indian Hills in Kansas to qualify; there were two spots. There weren't that many qualifiers. But Martha Lynn Scott, a member there, was medalist, and I got the second spot. And then we went to Virginia Beach and I'll be darned I won that thing at 50.
Listen on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Spotify