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With the college golf season just around the corner, SDGA Intern Tatum Richards caught up with SDGA Hall of Fame member and Augustana women’s coach Peggy Kirby, who last spring guided her team to the NCAA Division II National Championship for the ninth time in the past 10 years.

SDGA: What is the most memorable tournament you’ve played in?

PK: Probably playing in the US Open in 1978. I qualified at the Indianapolis Country Club.  I got one of the spots and I got to play all four rounds.

SDGA: Fruits or vegetables?

PK: I’m more of a fruit person.

SDGA: Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

PK: Early bird. The earlier the better.

SDGA: Do you have any golf superstitions or pre-round rituals?

PK: I like to have a certain ball mark when I play, especially when I’m putting in a tournament. I have to have my favorite ball marker. If it’s a tournament I have to eat the same foods before I play. If I play well, I’ll make sure I eat the exact same food [pre-round].

SDGA: Would you rather play in pouring rain or strong winds?

PK: I’d rather play in strong winds.

SDGA: If you could be any animal what would you be?

PK: A giraffe.  I think they’re so cool the way they look in a zoo. Their long necks and their statue is so amazing. People are in awe of giraffes.

SDGA: Given the choice, would you play a round with Gary Player or Jack Nicklaus?

PK: Gary player. I know Jack, but Gary Player strikes me as such a believer in well-being and nutrition and just overall wellness. He stayed so fit to be able to compete. He’s older and I want to be able to compete at that time in my life and I know the only way to do it is take good care of myself. Gary’s just very impressive.

SDGA: Best movie you’ve seen?

PK: The King’s Speech or Dances with Wolves. They’re kind of a tie.

SDGA: Do you have any phobias or weird fears?

PK: I am claustrophobic. I can’t go in caves. We were on a rafting trip and I couldn’t go in the cave I was too freaked out. I guess tight spaces but especially caves.

SDGA: Most rewarding coaching moment?

PK: One that comes to mind is when I took Marisa (Toivonen) to the (2013 NCAA Division II) national championships as an individual and she placed fourth. I was with her on the bag all the rounds. I was with her every putt every shot every step of the way for four days. It was super rewarding for me. Overall though, I love seeing everyone improve and get better. Everyone believes in themselves even more than when they came in. It’s rewarding to see the growth of students in a four year period. It’s fun to see them come in as a freshman and leave as seniors and see the growth. It’s fun to see everyone mature and get better. Also, I love to win. I’m a competitive person so winning our conferences and tournaments is very rewarding.

SDGA: Favorite holiday?

PK: I love Thanksgiving.

SDGA: Gatorade or Powerade?  

PK: Gatorade. The G2.

SDGA: You knew Arnold Palmer. Is there a memory or fond story you’d like to share about him?

PK: I did get to know him quite well. He’s was such a genuine and kind man, he always had time for everyone. I had won some club championships out there and he came up to me and was so gracious and kind and complimentary. I’d go play in another tournament and he’d give me a thumbs up and a “do your best.” He’s always giving people thumbs up. He reminded me of my dad. He’s so kind. He had time for everybody. He just was the kindest soul