ALLEN PARK – The summer of 2015 was a season of change for Katie Logan.
A senior-to-be at Allen Park Cabrini, she had played the game of golf since she was 3 years old and had been a solid player throughout high school. She’s played on the varsity golf team all four years – but she competes on the boys team.
Logan said she’d never come close to qualifying for the MHSAA Finals in the past and was unaware that she soon could be making history, thanks in part to strides made in her game the last two years and especially last summer that helped her get on par with the best of her spring competition.
Other girls have competed on boys golf teams, but it’s not common. And, until now, it is believed Logan might become the first girl to compete at the MHSAA Boys Golf Finals as an individual qualifier.
“My freshman year was hard,” she said of competing during boys season. “I wasn’t used to it. It was intimidating. Last year I started to hit it as far, or farther, than the guys.”
Michigan High School Athletic Association rules allow a female athlete to compete with the boys, as long as she does not also play on her school's girls team in the same sport during the same school year. Cabrini does not sponsor a girls golf team due to a lack of participation.
Logan, 17, shot a 7-over par 79 in the Regionals at Atlas Valley Country Club in Grand Blanc last weekend to qualify, as an individual, for the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final to be held Friday and Saturday at Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing.
The fact that she was able to match her teammates with her drives did much for her confidence.
And then last summer, Logan began working with Brian Cairns, one of the state’s top teaching professionals, out of Fox Hills Golf and Banquet Center in Plymouth. Under Cairns’ tutelage, Logan’s game took off. Last summer she shot a career-low 74 at the Lakes of Taylor, her home course.
“Everything came together,” Logan said. “I’m executing shots now. He’s really good with the short game. But it’s really just the mechanics.
“He helped me to be more confident. Before, I would kind of like be a downer.”
Young players have a difficult time accepting that everyone hits bad shots from time to time. Perfection doesn’t exist in this game. Golf teaches patience, and if a player has difficulty forgetting a bad shot and moving on to the next it can wear on her or him. Winning is most often not a measurement used to define success in golf. Good players often strive for consistency.
Kevin Logan was the one who introduced his daughter to the game and taught her the basics. When he realized he had gone as far as he could, Cairns stepped in.
“Right now, when she competes against the boys, it’s her consistency that carries her,” Kevin Logan said. “She darn near hits every fairway with her drives. When she plays against the girls, it’s her length that sets her apart.”
Katie Logan is a good athlete. She was captain of her volleyball team, and she said the average length of her drives is 260 yards.
And just because Logan is a girl doesn’t mean she catches a break playing with the boys. She hits from their tees and keeps pace. In some respects, playing from the men’s tees is an advantage.
“With the guys the courses are 6,300 or 6,400 yards,” she said. “In the summer I’m playing on much shorter courses, 5,800 or 6,000.”
According to Logan, a top-10 finish is not out of the question. She’ll have to be on her game for that to take place. Last year’s Division 3 medalist shot 144 for 36 holes, but that was at Forest Akers West, a more challenging track than the East. The Division 2 final was held at East last year, and the medalist shot 134. The two players who finished in 10th each shot 146. Logan needs to break 150 to have a chance at the top 10.
Regardless, she has already broken barriers and taken positive steps toward her future in the game. Her handicap was two in 2015, and last fall she signed to continue at Central Michigan University.
“I’m very excited,” she said of playing in the Finals. “It was one of my big goals.”
Tom Markowski is a columnist and directs website coverage for the State Champs! Sports Network. He previously covered primarily high school sports for the The Detroit News from 1984-2014, focusing on the Detroit area and contributing to statewide coverage of football and basketball. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.
PHOTOS: (Top) Allen Park Cabrini’s Katie Logan putts to finish off a hole this season. (Middle) Logan tries to send a spike through an opposing block during volleyball season in the fall. (Photos courtesy of the Allen Park Cabrini athletic department.)
The LPGA Professionals have named Saline High School golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak as its national Coach of the Year.
Williams-Hoak was among national award winners who were selected by the LPGA Professionals’ executive committee from a pool of Section Award winners, which were voted on by officers of those regional sections.
More on the award from LPGA Professionals:
The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.
LPGA Professionals Class A member Debbie Williams-Hoak knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels. She is a former LPGA Tour Player and track & field athlete who represented U.S. Track & Field in Russia and West Germany. She is a four-time Big Ten Champion, a member of the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame, University of Michigan Women’s Track Hall of Fame member and a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame as a player, coach and teaching professional. This year, she is being inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.
Having been a multi-sport athlete accustomed to competing at the highest level, Williams-Hoak brings something unique to her coaching style. She has successfully coached boys and girls golf for the past 16 years at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, and currently is serving as the first female president of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. Williams-Hoak feels proud that every girl on her team shot career lows while maintaining 100-percent academic eligibility this season, while her boys team placed second in the conference championship and qualified for its second-straight state Finals appearance.
She is dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of the game while empowering students through golf and hopes her example will pave the way for other women coaches to lead as well.
Williams-Hoak received the 2017 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most coveted honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, for her continued dedication and passion for empowering girls through golf. She was honored with the Midwest Youth Leader of the Year and Goldie Bateson Award two times, in addition to numerous recognitions as Coach of the Year from Saline High School.
She is deeply involved with the LPGA Professionals organization, which she currently serves as the LPGA Midwest Secretary since 2021. She has been site director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Greater Washtenaw Country since 2015 and acted as an advisor for the Site Director Certification program in 2021. From 2018-2021, she worked as an expert committee member for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf. She also coached at the LPGA Leadership Academies in Michigan over the last two years.
"I am extremely humbled by this award, as there are so many outstanding LPGA coaches in our association. What an honor to represent the LPGA, the state of Michigan and the game of golf as a coach,” said Williams-Hoak. “It is a privilege to work with so many wonderful players who make coaching so rewarding. I am also fortunate to have such great fellow coaches in Michigan and throughout the LPGA. Thank you so much for this very special recognition."
PHOTO: Saline golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak, far left, stands for the trophy shot with her girls team after the Hornets won the 2016 Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship. (MHSAA file photo)