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Snapshot: Dana Rader

By Sumner Park | Photography by Jamey Price

Posted: Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012

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Dana Rader is most certainly up to par … out on the golf course and in the community. She was the first woman to play on Pfeiffer University's men's golf team, and has been voted as one of the top golf instructors in the U.S. by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. Dana Rader’s passion for both playing and teaching led her to developing an award-winning golf school at Raintree Country Club in 1987, now located at The Golf Club at Ballantyne. This September, Raintree will be hosting this year's Symetra Classic. Several students of the Dana Rader Golf School will be among the 144 women from around the world to participate in the developmental tour of the LPGA. For more information, visit www.danarader.com and www.symetraclassic.com.

Each and every day, golf teaches me essential life lessons and more about myself. Golf takes discipline. Out of discipline comes satisfaction. It takes practice and dedication to be an accomplished player, and you must work on all aspects of the game in order to perform at the highest level possible.

The people who inspire me the most are Nancy Lopez and Arnold Palmer, because they are the people who I truly believe are the king and queen of golf. They are people who attract people to the game and take the time to go out of their way – golf is not all about business. They wave to fans, sign autographs and acknowledge the young golfers who look up them. Those are the kind of people with moral values and likable qualities that make them leaders and ambassadors. I just think that we need a lot more players like that.

As I’ve grown as a player, I’ve realized that the hardest thing about golf is that no two days are a like. One day you have it, the next day you don't. I had to learn how to accept the game’s ups and downs and continue working on my game to be more consistent.

Playing on a college golf team with all men was a little intimidating at first. But hey, the sport of golf is primarily men, so I had to start playing with them at some point. I did have to up my game and maintain a scholarship, so there were many challenges along the way.

Charlotte has brought me great people and tremendous golf courses. It’s such an amazing community – everyone is so supportive. The golf courses in Charlotte have so much character and history. My favorite thing about Charlotte is that you can be in the city and also feel like you’re somewhat in the country while playing on the golf courses. I remember when I first came down to Charlotte in 1980. My friend and I were riding around downtown with the top of the car down and all. It was a September afternoon, and the sky was Carolina blue – no clouds in the sky. I looked around at the city and the big buildings, and the only thought that crossed my mind was that I never wanted to leave. That was 33 years ago.

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