Texas Golf Association, Since 1906
Texas Golf Association, Since 1906

Debbie Skelly, 1975 WTGA Champion

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Debbie Skelly, 1975 WTGA Champion

Debbie Skelly grew up in San Antonio where she and fellow Texas great Brenda Goldsmith Hocott often went head-to-head in a healthy local rivalry.  “It was really good for both of us, I think.", she recalls.  "It certainly made me work harder and brought out our best”.  As it turns out, her best would produce two San Antonio Junior Championships, a City Women’s Championship and the 1974 Texas High School Girls Title.  After high school, she attended Houston Baptist University as one of the first players in the school’s rich golf history.  Mary Beth (Morgan) Covey was attending HBU and convinced the school’s President to form a golf team.  Covey recruited Skelly and Sherry Donovan to the team and HBU golf was created.  Their team reached the AIAW National Championship in each of Skelly’s four years and she was named an AIAW All-American.  She recalls that “Everything we had, we had to earn.”  Parents donated prizes for fundraising raffles, they saved up funds to cover travel costs, and were as frugal as they could be.  Despite the early challenges, she wouldn’t have it any other way.  “I really liked being a pioneer”.  For her fine play and groundbreaking work, Skelly was inducted into the HBU Hall of Honor in 2011.
 
Skelly was the first of four players with HBU ties to claim a WTGA State Amateur Championship when she defeated Lyda Hill in an epic championship match in 39 holes at Abilene Country Club.  Following her dramatic victory, Skelly remarked, “This makes up for all the wrong things I’ve ever done in golf.”  Founding HBU teammate Mary Beth Covey would win her own title in 1979 and was followed by Connie McCain in 1984 and Robin Burke in 1990 and 1991.
 
After college, Skelly played amateur golf until about the age of 30 when she went to work at Houston’s St. Agnes Academy.  She served as the Director of Athletics and Director of Guidance before her retirement in June of this year.  Only a few days short of retirement, you could hear the passion for the school, her students and her work in every word she said.  “It’s bittersweet”, she comments as she thinks about retiring from her position after more than 30 years.  “But I will have more time for golf”.  St. Agnes’ loss will be women’s golf’s gain.
100 Texas Women is a blog with each post featuring a different notable woman from the history of Texas golf.  You can honor these women and invest in the next 100 years of women's golf by contributing to the Breaking 100 campaign.  All proceeds benefit the TGA Foundations' Women's Initiatives.  Learn more and support the campaign here.




 
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