Anne Van Dam Second Dutch Golfer at Solheim
The first photos are out of the European Solheim Team for 2019. I love the plaid front jackets. Where can I get one? I guess that by the time Solheim is over, they will become iconic as a women’s event – too bad. Take a look at that group photo again, top row, third from the left. That is Anne Van Dam from the town of Amhem, a Dutch city.
Both teams for this year’s Solheim have some relatively new faces, and if we’re going to ask “Who is Brittany Altomare?” we might as well ask the same of Anne Van Dame. She came to Solheim by an unusual route, not spending her entire childhood in a European or American golf center. In Amhem, golf isn’t even considered a sport, and people ask why she has to practice so much. Spend an hour on the range, and the answer to that will become clear to anyone.
Van Dam turned pro right after high school. She’s 23 years of age, finished 10th in Q School, has an Order of Merit, and won her firs title at the 2015 LETAS Finish Open.. To make certain that everyone understands that she is a national champion, she won it at 9, 12, 18, and 21, every age group. In May of 2019, she won the Canberra Classic coming in at minus 17. She also won the Austrian Amateur. When the Solheim Cup of 2019 kicks off tomorrow, Van Dame will be the second of her country to play the event, after Christel Boeljon in 2011. She has already played in the Junior Solheim, but experiences a different sort of nerves in the pro version, totally understandable. This week, she’s been playing with her idol, Suzanne Pettersen. It’s always good to get the starstruck business out of the way before you start the tournament.
That should cover most of the factual data on Van Dame, but there is more to the new Solheim member. She seems to be the subject of much commentary from those who play and analyze golfers. Luke Kerr-Dineen of Golf.com has described the Van Dame swing as “ridiculously pure.” and one of the best in the game. We’ve heard people say that about many golfers, but go watch the video, particularly the one with Van Dame all wired up, and you’ll see the point. The swing is simplistic, beautiful, and accurate. An observer at the Ladies Scottish Open was astounded to see her go minus 6 just on the par 5s.
LPGA and European great Laura Davies observed that Van Dame is “the longest woman I’ve played alongside.” She does have a carrying average of over 270 and a total distance in the 290s. What is astonishing, however, is that she has an “average dispersion of two yards to the right.” Does that mean what I think it means? Another analyst notes that she exerts tremendous “vertical power” by using her left leg to push up hard and straighten. Up on top, she strikes another observer as similar to Sam Snead, with the beautiful rotation around a motionless head. Such talk makes me all the more eager to see this year’s Solheim, as a devotee of ‘ridiculously pure’ swings if nothing else.
Golf seems like the perfect sport for Van Dame’s love of sight-seeing. She’ll have to play a little golf first, but before long, she’ll have seen the world. Data on Van Dam’s lifetime performance in match play was not immediately available, but the nerves should dissipate within a few holes regardless. Solheim, with its mix of veterans we always love to see, and interesting rookies, is going to be fun this year, and I appreciate the nod to multiple generations of fine players..
And those marvelous jackets. Maybe I’ll get one, hang it up and wait for everyone to forget that it was a woman’s event.