Shooting for history: Former Moffat County golf coach Ann Marie Hamilton inducted into Doane University Hall of Fame
Throughout her life, Ann Marie Hamilton has had a drive to not only do well personally in her favorite sport but also to help bring out success for others on the fairways and greens.
Hamilton was recently inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Doane University in Crete, Nebraska during a ceremony Friday, March 22. She was one of five alumni to receive the acknowledgement in Tiger sports ranging from basketball to football to track and field.
For her, the sport was golf.
Hamilton graduated from Moffat County High School in 1988 before moving on to study elementary education at Doane. Hitting the links regularly wasn’t exactly her plan heading into college, though she soon began working with the men’s team at the school.
At the time, Doane did not field a women’s golf program. Then again, they hadn’t had Hamilton around to push for its formation, which mostly involved recruiting other female players to tee up the possibility of starting a new team.
By 1990, in her junior year, the university not only had a women’s team but had a competitive one. Individually, Hamilton thrived with back to back championships for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ District 11 in 1990 and 1991.
In the latter year, she shot a 77, setting a record she still holds for the best single round, a score that aided the Tigers in claiming the team’s first district title.
“That team championship doubled the amazement,” Hamilton said. “It made all that work worthwhile. We were the only team at that tournament to have four players instead of five, so that made it even more special.”
Additionally, she won the Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s championship the same year, as well as placing seventh at 1992’s National Golf Coaches Association Championships in Fayetteville, North Carolina, one of 10 golfers to attend from the NAIA level.
Hamilton graduated from Doane in 1992 and went on to instruct young players at Jim Ager Junior Golf Course in Lincoln, Nebraska, before moving to Massachusetts in 1994 and becoming heavily involved in coaching through Ladies Professional Golf Association.
By 2004, she moved back to her hometown, becoming the head coach for Moffat County girls golf, a team that was formed in the mid-’90s but hadn’t existed during her tenure in high school.
She had practiced alongside the MoCo boys group, which she said helped her build her skills all the more in her teen years.
“I was hitting from the men’s tees all through high school and for the first few times in college, so when I finally got to play the ladies’ tees, that was really fun,” she said.
Hamilton coached for the Bulldogs until 2017, during which time she garnered Coach of the Year honors in 2007 and took a regional team title in 2010.
She noted that one of her fondest memories was joining the team for a celebratory plunge in the pond at Yampa Valley Golf Course, which was unforgettable mostly due to the climate.
“It was about 35 degrees when we jumped in there,” she laughed. “Those girls worked hard, they listened, and they were tough.”
Hamilton recently relocated from Craig to Riverton, Wyoming, though she continues a love for the game of golf, which she hopes to instill in son, Zeke.
Hamilton said the Hall of Fame induction was “humbling” knowing she helped get the ball rolling for future athletes.
“It’s a great honor to know the women’s golf team at Doane is still going strong,” she said.