Hitting it long, hitting it straight. According to Amherstburg’s Cheryll Damphouse that was how she found success on the links over the years, dominating local competitions and battling against the world’s top females in some of the most prestigious golf tournaments.
Despite Damphouse’s natural talents she might not have found her passion for golf had it not been for a childhood illness and the removal of her spleen in Grade 4. “My father did not want me running around that summer and hurting myself, so he took me to the golf course with him to caddy,” Damphouse explained. “When it was not busy he would give me his 5-iron and a ball.”
From there, she cultivated an interest and aptitude, and tested her abilities in a junior girls’ provincial match play tournament. Damphouse lost in the finals but it was a light bulb moment. “This was the first time I realized that I might be a good player, but I did not know how good I would be,” she remembered. As it turns out, very good.
Damphouse golfed out of the Kingsville Golf and Country Club and became known as a major threat to win the local and regional competitions. Damphouse has been the club champion at her home course in Kingsville nine times and the Essex-Kent District Ladies Championship five times.
It was not only on the local fairways that she had success. Damphouse also excelled on the larger stage, winning the Ontario Match Play Championship twice – including one occasion where she triumphed over well-known LPGA golfer Marlene Streit in the finals.
Damphouse played against some of the best competition in the world. She qualified for some LPGA tour stops including the DuMaurier Classic, the Lady Stroh’s Tournament, as well as competing in France in the Ladies’ International stroke Play Championship. Among her accomplishments on the links was playing in the Ladies’ British Open and being named the 1989 Canadian Ladies’ Amateur champion.
Damphouse says she’s proud of winning and she has won major awards from junior competitions all the way up to the senior age division. Like a fine wine, she just got better with age and has twice been named to the Ontario Senior Ladies’ Provincial Team. This comes after being a member of the Ontario Ladies Amateur Team on five different occasions.
Damphouse realizes that times are different and young female golfers have more opportunities than she did. “Back in the day there were not many tournaments to play in as a junior girl or even when I graduated into the ladies’ category down in this area. Naturally, there was more for the boys,” Damphouse said. “When I was going to go to university I did not have the opportunity to go to school in the U.S. and compete as they did not allow girls to have athletic scholarships at that time.”
Damphouse did not let the roadblocks of her era stand in her way. She has four holes-in-one to her name, all coming in Kingsville. She recalls that her first one came before she had reached legal drinking-age, so she was spared the customary expense of buying a round of drinks to celebrate the accomplishment.
Damphouse is the fifth female golfer to be inducted into Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame.