From her days as an outstanding player at Longwood, former student of girls’ golf Charlaine Coetzee Hirst has spent decades as a golf ambassador, continually seeking to help the game develop and reach new players. This week, the LPGA recognized their efforts by naming them LPGA Professionals Junior Golf Leader of the Year.
The award, established in 2012, is presented to a professional member of the LPGA who excels in teaching and promoting golf for juniors.
For Coetzee Hirst, the sole owner of her own business, Charlaine Hirst Golf LLC, headquartered at the Whispering Pines Country Club since 2009, teaching and promoting the game has been at the center of many of its programs. The Lancer legend and Hall of Fame member is constantly adapting his approach, fine-tuning his offerings to reach those who want to learn how to play so that golf is accessible. Its clientele includes future professionals, amateurs and newcomers to the sport.
Since 2009, Hirst has organized weeklong junior summer camps, introducing the fundamentals of golf to students, which have reached 900 junior golfers. Some of its camp participants returned to later serve as junior camp assistants, with many employees in their first jobs.
She is also the manager of the LPGA * USGA Girls Golf — Whispering Pines site, which empowers girls to learn the basics of golf while having fun. At the site, her all-female group of 24 volunteer coaches adds to the experience, and she encourages participants to give back to the community with creative fundraising campaigns.
Throughout her golfing career, Coetzee Hirst has made a lasting impact, whether as a teacher, golfer or student-athlete at Longwood. Prior to being named LPGA Professionals Junior Golf Leader of the Year, she received the Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award in 2020, the most coveted honor given by LPGA * USGA Girls Golf. She has been inducted into the Women’s Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame as well as the Longwood Hall of Fame. In 2006, she tied for first in the LPGA Teaching Division National Championship and also won the LPGA Teaching Division Southeast Section Championship in 2009 while finishing third. in 2008. This follows a nine-year career on the LPGA Futures Tour from 1996-2004 which included qualifying and participating in the 1998 Women’s US Open.
As a Lanciere, she remains one of the most decorated and distinguished student-athletes in the history of the school. She led Longwood Women’s Golf to a pair of NGCA National Championships (1993, 1995) and still holds the school record for a 54-hole round (71-71-70-212), which she established during his 1994 national title race.
Coetzee Hirst was a four-time member of the NGCA All-American who came to Longwood to play for legendary Longwood Head Coach and Hall of Fame member Dr Barbara Smith. Coetzee Hirst was also named Honda Division II Athlete of the Year, Virginia NCAA Woman of the Year, and today’s top eight in 1995, while also being named three times on the College’s College Team. NGCA.