MPWGA 2018 Most Improved Player

Ann Lange

A big surprise and even bigger smile for Patti Shobe on January 29 at the MPWGA 2019 Kick-Off Dinner when Handicap Chair Betty Cole announced she had received the 2018 Most Improved Player Award. Patti had tears of joy as members stood for a big round of applause, topped off with Barb Sullivan’s famous cat whistle. Patti is the 17th recipient of this award, which was established in 2002 by long-time SaddleBrooke resident Mary Canfield to honor her daughter Nancy. To qualify, players must post at least 48 scores, 12 from Tuesday play days. Patti posted 128 scores, 19 of which were Tuesday league rounds. Her name has been engraved on the MIP trophy, which is housed in the glass case outside the Mesquite Grill. In addition, Patti received a crystal golf ball trophy and a personalized bag tag and, no doubt, a big “Atta Girl!” from husband Jeff.

Patti and her husband Jeff Sheppard moved to SaddleBrooke from Seattle in 2016, where they had played occasional summer golf for five years. Now retired and moved, Patti has traded playing in the cold rain for playing in the warm sun and has become a year-round avid golfer. She holds an annual pass and plays four times a week; Tuesday MPWGA, Thursday practice group, Saturday women’s group and Sunday with husband Jeff. Her handicap index was 28 when she arrived and decreased from 26.9 to 22.3 in 2018, an improvement factor of 1.134.

Patti has a passion for daily exercise, has practiced yoga for 25 years, and is a long-time runner, backpacker, rock climber, skier and even a ballerina. With such athletic ability and grace, it is no wonder she so quickly became a good strong golfer with proper tempo and balance. Patti likes the yin and yang of golf and looks at every hole as another chance to “start over and mentally carry on.” Her love of golf includes the camaraderie, being outdoors, observing the wildlife and she is a big fan of the 19th hole.

The inspirational MIP Award hopes to promote pride in accomplishments and challenge further improvement. With her increase in skill and confidence, golf has become even more fun and Patti’s goal is to reduce her index to under 20. Patti’s best golf score was 89 at The Preserve on December 23, which just happened to be her birthday! In 2018 Patti began using a new Ping fairway wood, which she calls “a game changer,” began driving the ball further, got an Eagle on MV Hole No. 1 and pinned Preserve Hole No.4 just missing an ace. Now that we have seen what one new club did for her game, we can’t wait to see what another 13 new clubs might do! And, you can bet all 109 members of the MPWGA are rooting for Patti to get that ace and show less than 20 on her USGA GHIN card!