Golfer Mary Lou Dill, Amateur Champ, Teaching Pioneer

Mary Lou Dill was a U.S. Women's Amateur champion from Texas who bypassed playing on the LPGA Tour to focus instead on being a teaching professional. In that role, she helped pioneer video instruction.

Date of birth: February 18, 1948

Place of birth: Houston, Texas

Nickname: Known by her middle name, Lou

Dill's U.S. Amateur Victory

Mary Lou Dill was 19 years old when she arrived at Annandale Golf Club in Pasadena, Calif., for the 1967 U.S. Women's Amateur. And she arrived with a request: She asked permission from USGA president Joe Dey to compete with her shirt untucked, which Dey granted. After all, Dill "was known for wearing a trademark outfit which included a flying shirttail," as the Texas Golf Hall of Fame put it.

Shirttail flying, Dill went out and won the tournament. In the first round of match play she beat Nancy Roth Syms, 1-up on the 19th hole, and in the next round Dill beat Marianne Cox, 2-up.

In the semifinals it was a 1-up victory again on the 19th hole against Peggy Conley. Dill was 3-down to Conley with six holes to play, won four of the next five holes to go 1-up, lost the 18th, then won the 19th.

That produced a championship match of Dill vs. Jean Ashley. Ashley was the heavy favorite: It was her third time reaching the finals, and she won it in 1965. But Dill was 6-up after the morning 18 and Ashley never mounted a challenge. Dill wound up winning 5 and 4.

Twice during the 1967 U.S. Women's Amateur, Dill called penalties on herself. In the stroke-play qualifying rounds, she assessed herself a 2-stroke penalty when her caddie raked part of a bunker before she had played out of it. Then, in the quarterfinals, Dill called another penalty (one stroke) on herself when she alone noticed her ball move after she had taken her address.

More About Mary Lou Dill

In three other U.S. Women's Amateur appearances, Dill did not get beyond the second round. So the other highlight of her competitive career was her membership on Team USA in the 1968 Curtis Cup.

That was one of the most closely contested Curtis Cups to that point. Dill partnered with Peggy Conley (whom she had beaten in her U.S. Women's Amateur run) in two foursomes matches, but they could earn only a half-point out of them. In singles, however, Conley, Dill and Phyllis Preuss won the final three matches for Team USA, earning their side the victory.

Dill's father was a PGA Professional, and Mary Lou learned the game from him beginning at age 4. In 1963 she won the Texas Junior Girls Championship.

Dill attended the University of Texas, but did not play college golf: Texas didn't have a women's golf team at that time. She graduated in 1971 with degrees in biology and English.

And she turned pro at that time. But Dill never pursued an LPGA Tour career, preferring to follow in her father's footsteps as a teaching professional.

Dill was an early advocate of using video as a teaching tool. In Who's Who In Golf (published 1976), the authors wrote that Dill "worked up a program of instruction with video tapes at the Baywood Country Club near Houston. ... She sees great possibilities for this teaching aid."

Her U.S. Women's Amateur championship, and a long career as a respected club pro in Texas (not to mention her role in popularizing video instruction) earned her induction into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 1991.

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