Dawn Coe-Jones figures she’s saved a bundle on golf lessons over the course of her career.

That’s because she’s never taken a single one since leaving her home in Lake Cowichan to try her hand at the game abroad at the age of eighteen. With many professionals retaining on-call coaches and swing analysts today, it’s a remarkable fact.

With a swing she herself admitted as “flat, quick, [and] ugly” to Sports Illustrated, Coe-Jones forged her own path to a 25-year career on the LPGA Tour as one of Canada’s greatest female golfers of all-time. It was a path paved with gritty determination and a heap of hard work. The secret to her success really wasn’t any secret at all.

“Never, ever, ever give up,” she said. “Never stop trying, and never stop believing in yourself.”

Born in Campbell River, Coe-Jones learned the game beginning at age twelve from her logger father and the golf pro at the nine-hole March Meadows Golf Course in Lake Cowichan. She played many sports growing up including basketball. At the 1977 BC High School Girls Basketball Championships, she was named tournament MVP. It wasn’t until winning the 1978 BC Junior Girls Golf Championship—her first tournament off Vancouver Island—that she thought golf might be something she could seriously pursue.

After repeating as BC junior champion the following year, Coe-Jones brought her clubs to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where she won a spot on the women’s golf team as a freshman walk-on. By the time she graduated with a degree in elementary education four years later, Coe-Jones had won the 1982 Dick McGuire and Husky Invitationals and was named an NCAA First-Team All-American.

At the same time, she won the 1982 and 1983 BC Ladies Amateur, and the 1983 Canadian Ladies Amateur Championship. The latter victory, defeating the best amateur golfers in the country, gave her the confidence to take the next step forward to the pro ranks following in the footsteps of the great Sandra Post, the first Canadian woman to play on the LPGA Tour. Coe-Jones proved she belonged there too, qualifying for the Tour on her first attempt in 1983 with a fifth-place finish in the LPGA qualifying tournament.

Over the next 25 years, Coe-Jones led a wave of solid BC golfers onto the LPGA Tour including close friend Lisa Walters from Prince Rupert, Vanderhoof’s Gail Graham, and Vancouver’s Jennifer Wyatt, as well as Canadian comrades Nancy Harvey, Barb Bunkowsky, and later Lorie Kane.

In that time, Coe-Jones won three LPGA events—1992 Women’s Kemper Open, 1994 HealthSouth Palm Beach Classic, and 1995 Chrysler-Plymouth Tournament of Champions—and accumulated over $3.3 million in career earnings, including a career high $271,978 in 1993. Other highlights of Coe-Jones’ remarkably consistent career include 72 top-ten finishes and a victory in the 1992 Pizza-La LPGA Matchplay Championship.

Retiring in 2008, Coe-Jones remains in the top seventy in the LPGA’s all-time career money leaders and stands as the second highest earning Canadian player ever behind Kane. She was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.