|Gwen Merritt -
Gwen Merritt, an experienced coach, player, and teacher of the game of golf, is in her third season as head coach of the UAB women?s golf team.
Merritt had an excellent start as head coach at UAB. In her first season, she led the Blazers to a 113-36-2 (.755) overall mark. The season was highlighted by a first place finish at the Lady Ram Invitational (Oct.18-19) in Mobile, Alabama. The Blazers also placed tied for second at the JSU Gamecock Invitational (March 22-23) in Jacksonville, Alabama, and had four third-place finishes including the Conference USA Championships (April 19-21) in Destin, Florida.
Last season, Merritt led the Blazers to eight top-ten finishes, including a third place finish at the SCU Colby Invitational (March 20-21) in Carmel, California and a fourth place finish at the Murray State Invitational (April 4) in Murray, Kentucky.
This season, UAB returns four letterwinners from last year?s squad, including junior Heather Lourie, who had four top-ten finishes, including a second place finish at the Murray State Invitational. Also returning from last year?s team are sophomores Jenni Elmore, Christina Gushanas, and Denise Whitworth.
Merritt started playing golf at the age of 7 at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, California. While in high school, Merritt played in junior tournaments all over California. In 1967, she qualified sixth in the USGA Junior Nationals in Longview, Pa. and won the All-Teen Invitational in Reno, Nevada.
In the late 1960s Merritt played collegiately at UCLA and Arizona State. She also competed in the women?s USGA Amateur in Pasadena, Calif. during that time.
After college, Merritt worked for two years at a public golf course in Carmel Valley, California. During that time she developed a ladies' golf program, helped run tournaments and taught golf. From there she moved on to become the assistant professional at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club.
In 1972, she joined the LPGA tour and played in tournaments all across the country, including a stop in Birmingham at Green Valley Country Club.
A native of Monterey, California, she now resides in Birmingham with her husband, Randy and three children, Jodi, Paige and Austin.