When most northern Colorado athletic enthusiasts think of Lynda McManus, they think of the area’s ever-blossoming youth soccer scene.
That’s for good reason. As the longtime director of operations of the Northern Colorado Rush — previously Bootleggers Soccer Club and the Northern Colorado Soccer Club — McManus is one of the true pioneers of that constantly growing soccer scene.
But something perhaps not as many people know: McManus is just as at home on fairways and putting greens as she is on soccer pitches.
And as far as that “other” passion goes, McManus will experience it on a whole other level Dec. 12-14 at Troon North Golf Club and The Westin Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
McManus is one of only about a half-dozen Colorado women to qualify for the prestigious, highly competitive PGA National Club Championship.
“I love soccer, and I could go on and on about it,” McManus said. “But I could definitely go on and on about the golf community. … We’re blessed to have two golf courses in Greeley that are so different but so close.”
For decades, McManus has been fine-tuning her skills on those courses — Highland Hills Golf Course and Boomerang Links.
And as a member of the Highland Hills Women’s Golf Association for the past handful of years, she has served as both teacher and student alongside a group of equally dedicated golfers.
She will compete in her biggest tournament to date as a part of the Legend Women’s (60-and-up) division next week in Scottsdale.
She qualified for the elusive tournament through a three-step process.
First, she had to be a club champion.
She had to be recommended for the tournament by a PGA professional. Highland Hills pro and city of Greeley manager of golf Wayne Leighton offered such a recommendation.
Finally, she needed to have a handicap of less than 10. She currently has a 9.5 handicap.
In preparation for the biggest golf tournament of her life, there is one other element that would be of great benefit to McManus: practice time on the club championship courses.
That practice time is pricey, as is the entrance fee for the tournament itself.
With that said, McManus was recently blindsided by the ultimate act of generosity, as her close companions within the Highland Hills women’s league pitched in to pay for practice fees and tournament entry fees.
The magnitude of this gesture was certainly not lost on the humble, selfless McManus.
“I am so overwhelmed,” McManus said. “They all talk about what they’ve learned from me. But, I’ll tell you what, when I grow up, I want to be just like those women. … I’ve learned even more from them. There is always a soft place to fall with them. And, if your family is ever struggling, they’re there for you. It’s a great group.”
Whether on the golf course or the soccer pitch, having a supportive partner is an undeniably vital component of being the ambitious go-getter McManus is.
McManus has exactly that with her husband, Clayton.
Clayton has often served as McManus’s caddy on the golf course and he’ll do so again in the PGA National Club Championship next week.
“It takes a patient spouse to be married to a golf addict,” McManus said. “But, it’s definitely brought us closer. He’s a great reader of greens, and he’s super supportive of me.”
McManus may be kind and humble, but she no doubt has a competitive side.
She has set certain personal goals for next week’s tournament.
But, more than anything, she just hopes to soak in the environment of such a prestigious, talent-laden national tournament.
“My goal is just to enjoy the experience with some outstanding golfers,” McManus said. “One thing I do know is all the golf tournaments I’ve played in, no matter how high or how low, all the golfers are very supportive of each other. They want to see everyone do well. That’s probably what I like best about tournament golf.”
— Bobby Fernandez covers sports for the Greeley Tribune. Reach him at (970) 392-4478, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @BobbyDFernandez.