Dana Rader dedicated her life to growing the game of golf. COURTESY LPGA

I have been so fortunate to know Dana Rader for more than 40 years. She has been an inspiration to me and fellow golf professionals as someone we always looked up to.

I watched her grow into one of the best teaching professionals in the game of golf. Even with all of her accomplishments, she always remained approachable to fellow teachers and her students.

Her career began in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1980 and built her business there. There, she opened her Dana Rader Golf School, which grew into one of the most accomplished golf schools in the nation.

She is an accomplished writer, with her book “Rock Solid Golf: A Foundation for a Lifetime,” published in 2002, with a foreword by her idol and friend Nancy Lopez.

A respected leader in her community, Rader was named Charlotte Business Woman of the Year in 2003.

In Bluffton, we were fortunate to have Rader as a golf professional and director of instruction at Belfair since 2018.

In late July, Rader was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, a rare and rapidly progressive, neurodegenerative disorder. She was a woman of faith and accepted her challenge. The out-pouring of love and support from LPGA members and students was amazing. 

Those of us who knew her were all heartbroken to see her suffer through this horrible disease. 

Sadly, she passed away peacefully Aug. 17 with her significant other, Amy Prior, at her side. Rader was laid to rest Aug. 21 in Morganton, North Carolina.

Rader had received nearly every award golf can bestow on a professional. Listed below are many of her accomplishments:

• No. 1 ranked teacher in South Carolina by Golf Digest

• Golf Digest Top 50 teacher in the nation

• Emeritus Top 100 teacher by Golf Magazine

• Named Charter Lead Coach on the Golf Channel Academy

• Featured on the Golf Channel as an instructor on many occasions

• LPGA Master Professional since 2013

• Past National President of the LPGA Teaching and Golf Professionals

• 2015 Ellen Griffin Award, highest honor for teaching professionals

• 2017 inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame

• Contributing writer for Golf Digest, Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine

• 2020 Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award, given to the LPGA teaching professional who best emulates qualities valued by Lopez:  leadership, passion, giving and approachability.

Dana has left the fairway of life and we are confident that God has given her a driving range in heaven where she will continue to grow the game of golf.

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local golf courses. jean.golfdoctor.harris@gmail.com; golfdoctorjean.com