Sandy Guzzardo, who was prominent in golfing as a top LPGA instructor, died Feb. 4 of cancer, friends said. She was 70.
Ms. Guzzardo was a stay-at-home mom when she started golfing with her husband in the early 1970s. After a divorce, she went to college and took a job as a lobbyist at the state Capitol while working on her game. She won tournaments in Northern California and began repairing golf clubs as a hobby.
“She was the type of person who, once she set her mind to do something, would become the very best at it,” said Joann Dost, a professional golf photographer.
With a single-digit handicap, Ms. Guzzardo decided to quit her job and pursue her recreational interest as a career by becoming a Ladies Professional Golf Association instructor. She advanced steadily in the ranks and became an LPGA club fitter in 1999, a certified instructor in 2005 and a national evaluator of aspiring professional instructors.
Last year, she earned the association’s highest designation for teaching professionals as one of 72 LPGA lifetime master professionals in the world, Dost said.
Ms. Guzzardo traveled around the country teaching female and male professionals and mentoring beginning players and teachers. She taught for more than a decade in the Sacramento region at Twelve Bridges, Haggin Oaks, Teal Bend and Empire Ranch courses.
She was recognized as one of the most influential figures in the local golfing community by The Bee and was named one of the top 25 professionals in Northern California by California Golf Guide and Sacramento magazine.
“She was a great teacher,” said Dost, an LPGA instructor and player. “She was a fantastic communicator and was especially good with kids and beginning golfers. She had an uncanny ability to understand the golf swing and communicate it to someone.”
Ms. Guzzardo also gave to the community as a volunteer. She served on the board and chaired an annual golf tournament benefiting Save Ourselves, a Sacramento breast cancer awareness organization. She was an LPGA liaison and a board member of Special Olympics.
Ms. Guzzardo was born July 13, 1943, in Gloversville, N.Y. She married Edward Charles Oliver in 1964, moved the following year to Lodi and worked to put her husband through law school until she had a daughter and was a homemaker. After a divorce in 1981, she earned a bachelor’s degree in communications studies at California State University, Sacramento, and worked as a lobbyist on behalf of the disabled community.
Ms. Guzzardo was a popular figure in the golf community as an expert instructor and an ambassador for the sport and the LPGA. She enjoyed traveling, playing, teaching and making friends on courses all over the world.
“She was very gregarious at parties, a good storyteller and joke teller,” Dost said. “She was a lot of fun.”
Ms. Guzzardo is survived by her daughter Heathre Prehoda; four brothers, Tom, Mike, Charles and Scott; three sisters, Marianne, Linda and Marla; and two grandchildren.
A celebration of her life is set for 3 p.m. Feb. 22 at Teal Bend Golf Course Clubhouse; please RSVP to Heidi Tschudin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations may be made to The First Tee Junior Golf Program at www.thefirstteesacramento.org.
Call The Bee’s Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila.