Golf has been a major part of Katy Nightwine’s past – and it could be a big part of her future.
But at the present time, there’s something more important to tend to that’s putting golf on the backburner.
Close to three decades after making history as a golfer at Ann Arbor Pioneer, much of Nightwine’s time and energy these days is as a stay-at-home mom raising her 2-year-old son Henry with her husband Bryan.
But even while doing that, it’s hard to get golf completely out of her mind, as she’s already trying to plant a seed with her son.
“He enjoys putting the ball on the tee,” Nightwine said. “We’re happy with that progress.”
If the little guy starts fully getting into the game, he’ll be hard-pressed to find a better mentor than his mother.
Nearly 30 years ago Nightwine, then Katy Loy, made history by becoming the first to win three straight MHSAA Girls Golf Finals individual titles in the highest classification/division when she claimed three consecutive crowns in Lower Peninsula Class A.
Nightwine said she grew up on a golf course in Dexter (now closed), which is where she learned the game and grew a passion for it.
“I liked going to golf more than I liked going to swim practice,” she said. “It became that thing I did with my dad after work. The weekends would be spent golfing, and that became my favorite place to be.”
Nightwine won the Class A title in 1993 as a sophomore, and then repeated as a junior in 1994.
She remembers going into her senior year with a lot of people talking about whether she could make it three in a row, but it didn’t put any more pressure on her than she’d already put on herself.
“If I didn’t get it then, that was going to be the blemish,” Nightwine said. “It had so much more meaning than it being the third time, but let’s cap it off and really give me something to remember.”
In her words, it “wasn’t looking so good,” for Nightwine on the front nine during the last round of the Final in 1995, but she turned it around on the back nine at Michigan State’s Forest Akers West to claim her third-straight title.
From there, Nightwine went on to the University of Michigan and was named Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten in 1996.
Due to a desire to play in warmer weather and more prestigious tournaments, Nightwine transferred after her freshman year to the University of Kentucky, where she finished out her collegiate career.
Nightwine turned professional after college and played in a futures tour, but a back injury ultimately led her to quit playing professionally.
She worked as a golf instructor here and there. But in 2008, Nightwine started focusing on what she said was her other passion: Baking.
She opened up a pastry shop in Ann Arbor and continued in that business for 10 years before her family decided in 2018 to sell the property where the bakery was located to a company that repurposed it.
Now, Nightwine is fully entrenched in the business of being a mom and raising her son, but is hoping for a golfing revival in the future.
When her son gets older, she’s thinking about getting back into golf instruction or doing something else in the industry.
If nothing else, she wants to at least get back to playing consistently again.
“To see where my swing is at and go from there,” she said.
Regardless of what the future holds in the sport, Nightwine will always own a piece of state golf history, something she cherishes to this day.
“I will always be involved with golf, especially if (my son) takes a liking to it,” she said. “I have such fond memories of people I met.”
2021-22 Made in Michigan
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PHOTOS (Top) At left, Katy Loy watches a drive during the 1994 Lower Peninsula Girls Golf Final. At right, Loy, now Nightwine, with her husband Bryan. (Middle) Katy Nightwine takes a swing at the driving range. (Below) Katy and Bryan Nightwine. (1994 Finals photo courtesy of Ann Arbor News/MLive; current photos courtesy of Katy Nightwine.)
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Animal Interference - Listen
In golf – it’s common to hear about birdies, eagles, maybe even an albatross. Or in my case, a snowman. But what if an actual animal interferes with your ball while in play?
There are two kinds of interference.
The first involves a ball still in motion. If you are putting and a squirrel darts out and stops or redirects your putt, you simply get a do-over from the original spot.
Off the green, if a moving ball is stopped or re-directed, you play the ball from where it ultimately stops.
If your ball is stopped and a seagull picks it up and carries it off – you just replace the ball to its original spot and proceed.
It doesn’t happen often, but now you know how to deal with squirrels and seagulls … in addition to birdies and eagles.
(PHOTO by Gary Shook.)