Women’s State Am in Concord features a round for the ages

  • Franklin’™s Mady Savary, left, and Dale Nims of Laconia walk off the green at the Women’™s State Am Monday at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Franklin’€™s Madelyne Savary (left) hits her putt as Dale Nims of Laconia watches on the second hole at the Women’€™s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Franklin€™s Madelyne Savary (left) and Dale Nims of Laconia shake hands before their round at the Women’€™s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Franklin’€™s Madelyne Savary hits her drive at the first hole at the Women’€™s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Dale Nims of Laconia (left) hits her 40-foot put on the second green as Franklin’€™s Madelyne Savary watches at the Women’€™s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Franklin’™s Mady Savary hits her approach shot at the second hole at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Franklin’€™s Madelyne Savary (left) hits a chip shot as Dale Nims of Laconia lines up her putt on the second hole at the Women’s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Franklin’€™s Madelyne Savary (right) lines up her putt on the third hold as Dale Nims of Laconia lines up her at the Women’s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Dale Nims chips onto the second green as Mady Savary watches.

  • Dale Nims of Laconia hits her drive at the second hole at the Women’s State Am Monday, August 1, 2022 at Concord Country Club. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor columnist
Published: 8/1/2022 5:14:42 PM

She could have been a grandmother enjoying a round of golf with her granddaughter on a perfect day at Concord Country Club.

She could have been a mentor, helping the young teen in sunglasses and the long ponytail to learn a sport that she could play for years to come. But that wasn’t the case. They were not related.

They were competitors, a 70-year-old woman, Dale Nims of Laconia, and a 13-year-old, Mady Savary of Franklin, playing in the same group on the first day of the Women’s State Am Golf Championship.

They both love golf, they’re both good at it, they both keep an even keel when trouble lurks, and they both qualified for the event’s top flight – the Championship Flight – with their play Monday in what is regarded as one of the most prestigious golf events in the Granite State.

Savary, who can chip with the best of them and showed that Monday, shot a 77, tied for fourth place in a field of 71. Nims, a terrific putter, shot an 80, tied for ninth.

There are obvious differences, of course. Savary is still in junior high school. After 38 years, Nims retired as a health and physical education teacher in the Belmont School District five years ago.

She also coached the golf team and started a junior high feeder program, cementing her place as an important figure in the sport’s amateur community.

She’s competing in her 55th straight State Am, starting when she was 16. But she never viewed the sport like Savary does, never had that same passion and urge to practice. Savary, meanwhile, wants to play on the Division I college level, and she’s well on her way.

“She played awesomely. She was fantastic,” Nims said. “She’s very talented for 13 years old. She was fun to watch.”

And Savary praised her opponent as well, saying, “I thought she was a very solid player and she did not get too mad when she missed a putt. And she was very nice to me.”

Their desire to be great remains as different as their ages. Nims says she never practiced enough to reach the level that Savary is searching for. But she practiced enough through the decades to finish second in the State Am as a 22-year-old rising star back in the 1960s. She was fifth in 2016 and had several other top 10 finishes.

Yet when asked if getting a whiff of a State Am championship whet her appetite enough during her prime years to obsess over it. Nims said no.

“I was thrilled with second,” Nims said, moments before teeing off from the 10th hole. “I’m just going to go play. There are no expectations on my part. I never had the expectations of being a winner. That’s my problem. I never had the confidence.”

She had a competitive spirit, though, growing up with three brothers in Laconia and playing one sport or another in front of their house every day.

As Nims said, “My life was always wrapped around sports.”

Her father was a member of Laconia Country Club, meaning Nims had full access to the course through her teens.

Last month she teamed with Kat Bordeau to finish second in the President’s Cup at Beaver Meadow Golf Course. She and Bordeau won the NH Golf Association 2-Ball Team Championship at Loudon Country Club, roaring back from a six-shot deficit on the final day to win on the first hole of sudden death.

She also beat about 45 players two weeks ago in Rochester to win the NHGA’s Classic Division, for golfers 70 and older. She shot an 80 to win.

Yet, she never had the fire of her young opponent. The fire to take her potential and run with it.

“I was more a family person and I wanted to stay home and go to school,” Nims said. “I liked golf, but I did not think I had the talent and I already made my mind up that I wanted to be a teacher.”

The teacher had a 4-handicap during her prime. She sank a 20-foot putt for birdie Monday and acted as though she’d done it before. She shot an 80, sticking relatively close to the young phenom.

“She is probably at the start of her career,” Nims said. “She’s probably getting the right training to be mentally and physically fit for the game. As she gains experience, she will be mentally fit.”

She looked mentally fit at the State Am, her first ever. Her chipping was marvelous. Her father, Jeff Savary, said he knew quickly that his daughter had golf in her DNA. She began playing competitively at 7.

“We took her to the driving range and she just had a pretty natural swing, so eventually we spoke to some people who knew how to get into junior tournaments,” Jeff said.

Mady’s chipping was precise. “I have a feel for chipping,” she said. “It comes naturally.”

Her career is blossoming. She won the U.S. Kids New England championship, shooting a 69. She’s a regular qualifier for the U.S. Kids World Championships at Pinehurst, N.C. That’s where she wants to attend college. In that area, which she says has a “nice environment, calm and happy.”

From there, who knows? Of course she’d go pro if the opportunity surfaced. Jeff said he and his wife would help finance her career if she competes on the lower-level pro circuits, where prize money is small and all expenses fall on the player.

Meanwhile, her career at the Women’s State Am will continue through junior high and high school. Nims has no intention of breaking her streak next year.

And if the two meet again, Nims will not be thrown off balance this time. She’s gotten a taste of what the junior golfer can do. She’s seen the explosive rotation of her hips, the torque involved that allows her to hit the ball 220 yards.

“When I heard how old she was, I felt like I was going back and playing with the kids like in the old days,” Nims said. “But she can play.”

The tournament continues at Concord Country Club through Wednesday. It’s free and open to be public.


Ray Duckler bio photo

Ray Duckler, our intrepid columnist, focuses on the Suncook Valley. He floats from topic to topic, searching for the humor or sadness or humanity in each subject. A native New Yorker, he loves the Yankees and Giants. The Red Sox and Patriots? Not so much.



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