By David Chmiel | Courtesy USGA.org.
There is no mistaking where Abby Black calls home. The “Spuddy Buddy” headcover and “Team Idaho” bag are dead giveaways.
Black, playing in her second USGA Women’s State Team Championship, is proud to be playing with teammates Kareen Markle and Karen Darrington this week at The Club at Las Campanas in Santa Fe, N.M.
“It’s an amazing event,” she said. “It presents a unique opportunity for everyone here to compete for our home states. It is also a privilege to meet a group of amazing women from all over the country who love golf.”
Black, 44, of Meridian, just west of Boise, is vice president/Treasure Valley operations leader of TitleOne Corporation, a title and escrow company. Sports have always been part of her life, from playing tennis at the University of Kansas and serving for six years as assistant athletic director at Washington State University. But in 2001 she left college sports for the business world.
“Working in Division I athletics is challenging,” said Black. “To grow in your career, you have to be willing to move a lot and we felt it was time to put down roots for our family.”
She also started growing her own roots in golf, through TitleOne’s commitment to an annual charity golf tournament that support children and families.
“It’s been 16 years now. I am assistant chair of the tournament,” she said. “We have a great team of sales people and leaders from our company who are committed to helping our community. We have raised $500,000 to serve a variety of good causes.
“When I got started working on the tournament, I didn’t play golf. I was kind of tired of tennis and I enjoyed golf. I think the repetition of working on my tennis game translated to helping my golf swing. It was easier on my body and gave me a competitive outlet.”
She said she especially enjoys the Women’s State Team and was inspired to play after competing in Pacific Northwest Golf Association events pitting Idaho against teams from Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.
“This week is so special,” she said. “We are fortunate to be part of something like this. It is amazing what the USGA and the people from Las Campanas have done for us.”
Black, who was named the 2015 Woman of the Year by the Idaho Business Review, translated her success to giving back to golf, where she served for a decade on the boards of the Children’s Home Society of Idaho and The First Tee of Idaho.
“There is just something about golf that inspires people to give back,” said Black. “It is a lifelong sport and the people who love the game are committed to trying to give everyone the chance to connect with the game. We are lucky in our area that we have 10 to 12 public golf courses that are affordable. We hope that we can inspire more young people to make golf part of their lives.”
Black and her husband, Will, an optometrist, hope that they can get two more potential golfers into the game. They have two daughters – Juliet, a junior at Boise State University, and Annalea, a high school senior.
“When they were little, we got them to play,” said Black. “They know the game, but they are both track-and-field athletes. Hopefully, they will start playing again.”
In the meantime, Black will continue to refine her “serve” by giving back to golf.
David Chmiel is manager of member content for the USGA. Email him at [email protected].