When Kathy Mears got her first taste of golf at the age of seven, she had no plans to one day become Canada’s first certified female club professional. But, like one of her perfectly stuck drives, she flew straight and true into the national history books when, in 1972, she was accepted as a member of the Canadian Professional Golfers Association.
Mears has taken up her place in the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame. Fittingly, she joins in the hall her father, Harold Pretty, the man who introduced her to golf and set her on the path to a lifetime of accomplishments in the game. Pretty was inducted into the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame in 1999.
Mears grew up on the fairways and greens of the Prince George Golf and Curling Club, where her father was the long-time professional. During the early years of her career, she was runner-up at the B.C. Junior Golf Championship and placed third at provincials when she graduated to the senior ranks.
As am amateur player, Mears won tournament after tournament. Thanks in part to her skill, she became the head professional at the Williams Lake Golf Course and held that job for more than two years before she applied for membership in the CPGA. Several months went by before the CPGA finally accepted her as a member.
“I guess I caused quite a stir back at the CPGA head office with my application,” she later recalled. “Because my application for membership as a head professional was unprecedented, it was quite a hassle getting into the association. It took them quite a while to decide to accept me.”
Mears was back in Prince George by 1975 and returned to amateur status in 1979. During her prime years as a player, her handicap hovered between three and five. She won the Ladies Simon Fraser Open in Prince George five times and was runner-up on five other occasions. She was also a 12-time Ladies Club Champion at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club.
Although Mears' days as an active player are more limited these days, her involvement in golf continues at the official’s level. For about the last decade she has been involved in updating the handicap and course ratings for golf courses in District 9 (basically the northern half of B.C.). Five years ago Mears assumed the Chair position for District 9 of the BCLGA. Her responsibility was to act as liaison between the BCLGA and the 25 ladies golf club captains in her district. In the fall of this past year the BCGA (Mens) and the BCLGA provincial associations merged. Mears now serves on the board of the merged associations and continues as Chair of Zone 8 of the Ladies Golf Committee.
Welcome Mears to the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.