Athlete Assistance funding fuels amateur success

Written by Amanda Ducheminsky

Joan Wilson demonstrates that, no matter what, it’s never too late to get in the game.


It takes an army to create a professional golf tour player, but it takes a special person to be an elite amateur athlete. Those competing amongst the amateur scene often balance numerous responsibilities against a variety of odds. Having received Alberta Golf Athlete Assistance, former Alberta Ladies Senior Team member, Joan Wilson, has managed to overcome adversity and reinvigorate her love for competition.


“I have applied for, and been very fortunate to receive, funding in prior years based on financial need. I am a single, female physiotherapist working in private practice. As a result, I do not get paid if I am not treating patients, so taking time off to travel to tournaments is a double whammy financially, as I pay to play and do not generate revenue.”


At 15, Wilson was a part of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, and only golfed for a limited time from age 12 to 14. She didn’t start playing again until she turned 40.


Now at the age of 58, she has since built an impressive resume winning six Club Championships, four City Medalist Series, and placing top five in Canadian Senior Championships.


She explains that it has taken awhile to become competitive again. “I gradually worked my way up through the Alberta amateur flights and was lucky to attend a few Alberta Golf development camps as I approached the age for senior tournaments.”


She is also a former National and World Championship Master Ski Racer. She still loves to ski, but has shifted her competitiveness to golf. “Recognizing that golf is less risky to my physical health, and professional career, than ski racing, I began refocusing on my golf game in 2004.”


Wilson has struggled with both shoulder and wrist injuries in the past, but is looking to make a strong comeback. “My future goals in golf are to recover from wrist injuries in the last two seasons and surgery in December 2015 to prepare for 2018 when I will, hopefully, then qualify for the Super Senior event.”


Through all the training, travelling and daily routines she still finds time to contribute to the local sporting community. Wilson was a long-term ski coach and is now an active Canadian Ski Team Alumnus. She says that sport has played an important part in her life and she hopes to pass along that same feeling.


“Athletic challenges and successes have helped in every avenue of my life including academic, professional, personal achievements and leadership growth. Golf has taught me patience and to live in the present. This extends to many avenues in my life. I also have learned that encouragement and positivity helps everyone, no matter the circumstance.”


Alberta Golf Athlete Assistance is available to anyone who wishes to attend provincial, national and international events. If you need help achieving your golf goals, learn more about the program and apply now. The deadline to apply for this season is May 31, 2017.

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