Photo by Valerie Baldowski
Cathy Mant inspects a collection of clubs at the Eagle's Landing Country Club golf shop. Mant has been the women's golf coach at Georgia State University since 2000.
By Valerie Baldowski
Cathy Mant has traveled as far as Europe for the love of golf.
Mant, a Stockbridge resident, is the women's golf coach at Georgia State University.
For the past nine years, she has spent her time recruiting student golfers for her seven-member team.
Last year, she went to Finland to watch players, and scout talent. She also routinely travels throughout Georgia. In December, Mant traveled to Miami, Fla., to recruit at the Junior Orange Bowl International Tournament.
Mant said one of the high points of her career was recruiting a golfer from Denmark who won the Colonial Athletic Association's conference championship four years in a row, before graduating in 2006.
"It's really quite a feat," said Mant.
"I'm just trying to find the best kids who have talent, who are the right fit for Georgia State," she continued.
Her current team includes two players from South Africa and two from Denmark, along with players from Germany, England, and Henry County (Cherishton Brett). Mant's team placed 29th among the 250 teams in NCAA Division I this past season.
Mant said she looks for more than technical skills when recruiting players. She said it's also important to her to see how the students interact with their parents and other competitors, and how they handle themselves when a game does not turn out well for them.
As a member of Georgia State's athletic department, Mant said her responsibilities range from maintaining the team's uniforms to ensuring that all the players meet their academic requirements.
"It's kind of like [being] a mom in a sense, when they're away from home," said Mant. "It's a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job. It includes bringing these young people in, and helping them to grow as people but also as golfers."
Mant's daily routine is varied. She has two offices, one at Eagle's Landing Country Club and another at Georgia State.
Mant said she wanted became a golfer at a young age.
When she was 9-years-old, she began golfing in her hometown of Eugene, Ore., with her late father, Bill Gaughan. She recalls using a baseball glove to catch golf balls chipped to her.
"I was a little tomboy, so I enjoyed doing it," she said.
Mant said she won her first competition as a 9-year-old by shooting a 36 in a four-hole tournament. By the time she turned 16, she was playing in national competitions. According to Mant, she became the Oregon Women's Amateur Champion from 1968-70, and won the NCAA Championship in 1970.
Mant played in the LPGA Tour from 1976 to 1986, and has played in 10 U.S. Women's Opens. She was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Arizona State University Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
She was named the Atlantic Sun Conference "Coach of the Year" in 2003 and 2005, and the Colonial Athletic Association's "Coach of the Year" for 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Mant also serves as director at-large on the National Golf Coaches Association Board of Directors.
"I'm very proud of her," said her husband, Rick Mant, a catering manager. "She's very well known in the USGA Women's Junior programs."
In the early days of her career, when not playing in a tour, Mant gave junior golf clinics throughout Oregon, her husband said. "That showed her character, her integrity and her commitment to golf," he added.
What Cathy Mant said she enjoys most about golf is the competitive aspects of winning solo.
"In golf, you have to figure it all out yourself," she said. "There's no one to blame but you, and you get the credit when you're playing well."