Donna White: Bio of LPGA Winner, Instructor

Donna White won a U.S. Women's Amateur championship, then played on the LPGA Tour from the mid-1970s into the early 1990s. She had several victories, her best years being in the early 1980s. After leaving the tour, White became a well-known instructor and launched development programs for junior golfers.

Full name: Donna Horton White

Date of birth: April 7, 1954

Place of birth: Kinston, North Carolina

Also known as: "White" is her married name; her maiden name was Donna Horton and she was also sometimes referred to (primarily early in her career) as Donna Horton White.

Her Biggest Wins

As an amateur:
  • 1976 U.S. Women's Amateur
  • 1976 Trans-National Amateur
Her three official wins on the LPGA Tour:

In the Majors

White's best finish in any LPGA major championship was a tie for second place in the 1982 U.S. Women's Open. White was one of four runners-up that year, tied with Beth Daniel, JoAnne Carner and Sandra Haynie. But they all finished six strokes behind winner Janet Alex, whose final round 68 was the best score of the tournament. (White scored 72 in the final round.)

In the 1979 du Maurier Classic (then called the Peter Jackson Classic), White began the final round two strokes off the lead, but carded a 76 and finished in fifth. In the 1984 du Maurier Classic, White began the final round one off the lead, scored 71 and finished in fourth place.

White did not have any Top 10 finishes in the Chevron Championship or Women's PGA Championship. Her best showings in those two majors were a tie for 12th in the 1982 Women's PGA (then called the LPGA Championship); and a tie for 14th in the 1984 Chevron (then called the Nabisco Dinah Shore).

More About Donna White

Before turning pro, Donna White had many good showings as an amateur, including a national championship and two international team victories.

As a 17-year-old, White reached the semifinals of 1971 U.S. Girls' Junior. But she lost in extra holes to the eventual champ, Hollis Stacy.

She played college golf at the University of Florida and posted several wins. During her college years, White began gaining national notice (as Donna Horton, since she wasn't yet married) through the USGA's U.S. Women's Amateur. In the 1973 U.S. Women's Amateur, Horton beat Jane Bastanchury Booth in the third round, then made it to the semifinals before losing to Anne Quast Sander.

In the 1975 U.S. Women's Amateur, Horton got to the championship match, where she fell to Beth Daniel.

But 1976 was a special year for Horton, including victory in the Women's Am. She beat two future LPGA winners (Chris Johnson in the first round, Debbie Massey in the fourth round) en route to the championship match. And in that final, Horton bested Marianne Bretton, 2 and 1.

She won the Trans-National Amateur that year. She played for Team USA in the World Amateur Team Championship, along with Nancy Lopez and Massey. That squad won the tournament by 17 strokes.

And she played for Team USA in the 1976 Curtis Cup, another American win. That powerhouse team included future LPGA winners Lopez, Daniel, Massey and Cindy Hill, in addition to Horton (who won both matches she played.

Finally, in December of 1976, Donna Horton got married, becoming Donna White.

White first joined the LPGA Tour in mid-1977. She made only five starts, but among them was her first runner-up finish in the Houston Exchange Clubs Classic. In her first full season, 1978, White improved to 33rd on the money list.

From from 1979-1984, she finished no lower than 17th on the LPGA season-ending money list. She was 14th on the money list in 1979, and, in 1980 when she had her first two LPGA victories, 13th in money.

White's first LPGA win was by one stroke over Jane Blalock in the 1980 Florida Lady Citrus. Later that year she defeated Massey in a playoff to win the Coca-Cola Classic.

She had a pair of runner-up finishes in 1982 (at the Olympia Gold Classic and U.S. Women's Open) before her third, and what turned out to be her last, win came in 1983. It was at the Sarasota Classic, which White won by one stroke over Lopez, JoAnne Carner and Alice Miller. She also got into a playoff at the 1983 Rochester International with Kathy Whitworth and Ayako Okamoto, but Okamoto pulled out the win there.

Her highest finish on the money list was 10th place at the end of the 1984 season, even though White didn't win that year. She did finish second in both the J&B Scotch Pro-Am and Mayflower Classic.

But White soon began struggling with a serious sinus condition, one that eventually lead to her retirement. She dropped to 37th on the money list in 1985, then 171st in 1986. She got back into the Top 75 through 1991, but did not attain the level of play she had in the early 1980s. After White fell to 130th in 1992 and managed no Top 10s during the year, she retired from the LPGA.

Over her 15-year LPGA Tour career, White made 282 starts, had three wins, eight seconds and 48 Top 10 finishes.

She began getting into golf instruction in the 1980s, and in 1988 released her first video tutorial — a 30-minute VHS tape titled Golf For Women. Two VHS sets (later reissued as DVDs) followed: Donna White's Beginning Golf for Women, and Women's Golf Instruction with Donna White & Friends (affiliate links, commissions earned).

After retirement from tournament golf, White settled in Palm Beach County, Florida, and worked at multiple clubs in the area. She was Director of Golf at Wellington Country Club, and launched a golf course management company that managed Okeeheelee Golf Course, and the John Prince Learning Center and Park Ridge Golf Course.

White also became deeply involved in junior golf, and that, along with her growing reputation as an instructor, eventually earned her national awards. She launched a player development program called the Junior Golf Foundation of America (Brooks Koepka and Lexi Thompson were among the alumni). She also created programs to help handicapped golfers and veterans get into the game. In 2010, White became an instructor (both in the classroom and golf senses) at Keiser University's College of Golf.

Among the awards that recognized White's after-tour contributions to the game: She was named LPGA National Professional of the Year, won the LPGA's Ellen Griffin Rolex Award (for teachers of the game) and the LPGA Professional President's Award.

And she was inducted into the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame (as well as the South Florida PGA Hall of Fame and University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame).

(Book titles are affiliate links; commissions earned)
Alliss, Peter. The Who's Who of Golf, 1983, Orbis Publishing.
Associated Press. "du Maurier Classic," Leaderboard, Salem (Ore.) Statesman Journal, July 29, 1984.
Biggane, Brian. "White to be inducted into LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall," Palm Beach Post, July 4, 2015,
Keiser University. College of Golf, Faculty, Donna White, Players, Donna White,
LPGA Tour. LPGA Player Guide, 1989, 1990. LPGA Tour. "Donna White," Official Media Guide 1993, archived at
LPGA Women's Network. "Donna White Wins LPGA Professionals President’s Award for Lending Hand to LPGA," April 14, 2021,
South Florida PGA. "Craig Dolch and Donna White inducted into South Florida PGA Hall of Fame," 2022,
United Press International. "Dwyer takes lead," Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, July 29, 1979.
United States Golf Association. Official USGA Record Book, 1895-1990, Triumph Books, 1992.

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