Former LPGA pro Lori West named Glenwood Springs girls golf coach
Any time one can hire a former professional athlete to coach a high school program, that program has to jump at the chance.
That’s just what the Glenwood Springs High School girls golf program did as GSHS Athletic Director Craig Denney hired former 18-year LPGA Tour Pro Lori West to take over for former head coach Clem Michel, who helped lead the Demons to a second-place finish in the 3A state tournament last spring.
A native of Denver, West played 18 years on the LPGA Tour, earning $449,427 before transitioning to the Legends Tour, where she is a two-time winner and still competes today. Aside from her new duties as the head coach of the girls’ golf program, West is the assistant golf pro at Ironbridge Golf Course near Carbondale.
“I just moved to the valley two years ago, and when it (the head coaching job) came up it was just a great way to use all that I know and be able to pass it on to girls in golf,” West said. “It’s a great opportunity to help girls learn more about life and the world through all my experiences. It’s exciting to be around young kids as a coach.”
Growing up in Denver, West attended East High School where she won the state high jump championship three years in a row, earning a track and field scholarship to Colorado University. During her career at CU, West competed for Team USA in Russia in the pentathlon at the 1976 World Championships in Russia. Following her distinguished track and field career at CU, West decided to pick up golf, simply because she wanted to remain an athlete.
Picking the game up quickly at the age of 22, West was runner-up at the 1979 Colorado State Amateur Championship. She then played in four amateur events that season prior to turning professional. West played on the mini-tour and European Women’s tour for three years after turning pro before then qualifying for the LPGA Tour where she played from 1983 to 2001 before then transitioning to the Legends Tour. Aside from her LPGA Tour and Legends Tour experience, West has played in pro-am format events all over the world for the past 40 years teaching, inspiring and entertaining golfers of every skill level.
“I am very excited to coach the girls high school golf team,” said West during a phone interview after being named the program’s head coach. “I will help them reach any goals they want, but I will also guide them in the amazing way that golf helps grow not only a person, but the community. It is a great sport to meet people, or interact with your family and friends, or just a vehicle to enjoy the outdoors. I love the game, and I love people.”
Aside from her love for golf, West enjoys skiing, fly fishing and being outdoors, which led to her moving to the Roaring Fork Valley in August of 2017. Things have lined up perfectly for her in recent years, leading to her gig at Ironbridge, the coaching job at Glenwood Springs High School and a ski instructor position with Aspen Skiing Co.
As the coach of the girls’ golf program, West inherits a talented program that saw former senior captain Lauren Murphy sign with Oregon State University last spring. Former senior Callie Jones signed with Winona State University last season, as well.
Glenwood senior Lisa Kelley and sophomore Sarah Murphy return this fall for their first year under West. Practice will officially start the last week of February as the Demons begin their push toward competing for the state championship in 3A once again.
It would be easy enough to quantify long-distance adventures in Snowmass Village by the usual stats and figures: 90-plus miles of singletrack and dirt roads, four core endurance races, and infinite route combos no more than a few hundred yards from the nearest parking spot or bus stop.
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