World Golf Hall of Fame member and LPGA superstar Nancy Lopez, left, with Bluffton golf professional Dana Rader, who received the Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement award for 2020. COURTESY LPGA

If you are a golfer, you have heard of Hall of Fame golfer Nancy Lopez. She was the top female professional on the tour for 20 years. She was a winner on the Tour 48 times and is an LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member.

In 2007, the LPGA named an award after Lopez to be given to the top teaching professional of the year. The award is given to an LPGA professional who emulates qualities valued by Lopez: leadership, passion, giving and approachability.

Lopez is excited to have an award named after her. “It is a great honor for me to have an award given out to teaching professionals,” she said. 

The winner of the Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement award for 2020 is local golf professional Dana Rader., whose golf resume reads like a highlight film. She is a Top 100 instructor in the U.S. by Golf Magazine and the No. 1 Instructor in South Carolina by Golf Digest Magazine. 

Rader regularly appears on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive and Golf Academy Live. She achieved the highest status as a teaching golf professional, Master Professional in 2003. She is the immediate past National President of the LPGA Teaching professionals. She is a member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Hall of Fame.

Rader said she followed Nancy Lopez’s career on the tour and always wanted to be like her. Lopez was her role model. “Nancy epitomizes what a golf professional is all about,” Rader said. “She is warm-hearted and professional in all that she does. There is not a better ambassador for the game and I am so proud to have my name next to her on this award.”

Rader came to the Lowcountry from Charlotte after owning one of the top teaching schools in the country for 30 years. “Charlotte was the right place for me to start my school,” she said. “When I closed my school, I wanted to move to the Lowcountry where there is a slower pace. There are more green spaces and things to do outdoors.”

Rader became the director of instruction at Belfair Golf Club in 2019.  “My teaching career has come full circle,” she said. “I started at a country club in Charlotte and really enjoyed meeting and teaching the members. I then established my teaching school.  I am now at a great club, Belfair, and really enjoy the membership.” 

Rader said Belfair members are supportive of her, and when when they heard about this award, “all they could say was how proud they were of me and that they love Nancy Lopez,” she said. “I have invited Nancy to do a clinic with me at Belfair and she accepted.” 

That event will be a great opportunity to see two legends of the game teaching together.

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