Saint Catharine College Clock Tower photo

Coach Rizer

A legend among us

Local Legends

St. Catharine College golf coach Joan Rizer was recently featured in Golfweek’s 12 edition of saluting Local Legends, in which they highlight accomplishments by players who may not receive deserved recognition beyond the local and state levels.

The following is the story that appeared in Golfweek, written by Cassie Stein. It is shown here with permission to republish.

Joan Rizer

Residence: Bardstown, Ky.

Occupation: Men’s and women’s golf coach at St. Catharine College

Club affiliation: Old Kentucky Home State Park

Handicap: 4.6

Accomplishments: Five-time Kentucky Women’s Amateur champion (1988-91, 1994), two-time winner of the Lexington Marion Miley Invitational (1991, ’99), six-time winner of the Women’s South Central Championship (1971, 1974-’77, ’86); 2005 Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame inductee

Starting up

In 1998, St. Catharine College President William Huston asked Rizer to start men’s and women’s golf programs at the school.

“I thought, ‘Well, what do I (have) to lose?’” Rizer said. “I love the game. It’s all I think about, and that’s why I did it.”

St. Catharine College is a four-year NAIA school that has competed in the Mid-South Conference since 2004.

Because of a limited budget for the two golf teams, Rizer gives lessons to children during the summer months then puts the money she earns toward the teams’ budget.

It’s something she enjoys doing for the programs and her players.

“It comes from what I’ve done and can do for the game,” Rizer said. “These kids just love the game and they want an education, too. That’s most important.”

Hall of Fame foursome

Rizer says being elected into the Kentucky Hall of Fame was “totally awesome and one of the highlights of my life.”

Starting golf at age 12, she always knew she wanted to win the Kentucky Women’s Amateur. Her idols were Kentucky Women’s Amateur champions Louise Wilson, Anne Combs and Marion Miley.

“I always wanted to be like them someday,” Rizer said. “They are the only other women who have won five or more state ams.”

Amateur for life

Rizer now limits her competition to amateur events within driving distance and only if her game is ready.

“It’s crazy…but I’m married to my golf clubs,” Rizer said. “I get up thinking about it and I go to sleep thinking about it.”

Founded in the Dominican tradition in 1931 and sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, St. Catharine College, a Catholic, Dominican college inspired by its founders, welcomes all to the challenging pursuit of truth, preparing them to become critical thinkers, ethical leaders and engaged citizens.