Tallying the titles
Gierhart is a super-successful high school coach
eggy Gierhart comes from a golfing
family. She’s also spent the last 10
years coaching the girl’s golf team at
Madison Edgewood High School, and the
program’s over-stuffed trophy case is a
testament to her unparalleled success.
So perhaps her oldest child’s choice of
sport is a bit usual. Thirteen-year-old Reilly
is expecting to attend Edgewood next fall,
just her like her mom did.
“My daughter’s going to be a freshman
in high school next year, and she’s going
to play tennis. Isn’t that fitting,” Gierhart
said sarcastically. “I’ve been waiting for
her to come, and now she’s going to play
tennis. Oh, well.”
That suggests at least a slight deviation
in the family tree, because Gierhart, 43, is
a member of the Kelly clan, the Madison
family that includes PGA Tour player Jerry
Kelly. Peggy Gierhart – maiden name Kelly
– and Jerry Kelly are cousins. Like Kelly,
Gierhart pursued a pro golf career, and
both are members of Maple Bluff CC in
Gierhart was on the first girls golf team
at Edgewood High School in 1983 and
played college golf at Pepperdine University.
She turned pro after college and played
on some minitours for about three years.
She also spent some time on the Asian
Tour and made a couple attempts at the
LPGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
After giving up the pro tours, Gierhart
worked for six years as a teaching pro in
northern Illinois and briefly at University
Ridge GC in Verona.
Gierhart got her amateur status back
around 2000. She earned Wisconsin
Women’s State Golf Association player of
the year honors in 1990 – the same year
she competed as an amateur in the U.S.
Women’s Open – and again in 2005.
Gierhart admits she hasn’t played a lot
of competitive golf on the state level in
recent years – although she may get back
to it at some point – but in 2010 she won her
fifth city of Madison’s women’s tournament.
After one season as Edgewood assistant
girls coach under Madison PGA professional Mark Rechlicz, Gierhart assumed
the head job prior to the 2002 season.
Under Gierhart and Rechlicz, the Edgewood girls won a remarkable nine straight
state high school titles from 2001 to ‘09.
The streak ended in 2010 with a one-stroke loss at state to the Prairie School.
But the Crusaders got back on track in the
fall with their 10th title in 11 seasons.
Gierhart, who sits on the board of the
Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin,
said coaching approaches being a full-time job for her, August through October,
but she chooses to spend that much time
Peggy Gierhart, left, is pictured with former Edgewood High School player Maren Beckman at a
recent WIAA state golf championship at University Ridge in Verona.
on the team.
“I remember being there, and it’s just a
great time to get the girls early,” she said
when asked what she enjoys about coaching at Edgewood. “I wouldn’t mind coaching at the college level, but I like high
school because they’re young enough
where you can feel you make an impact.
“When you think about it, high school is
really young. At that age, I like to try to
get at their mental state. I think there’s a
lot to work with at that age with the men-
tal side of golf. It’s an amazing bond that
you can get with the girls. It’s a lot of fun.”
The other golfers in Gierhart’s immediate
family are husband Roger and sons Rory,
11, and Ryan, 8.