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Trimble set the tone for golf in her home county

Courtney Swaim Trimble

Courtney Swaim Trimble

A new Louisville resident, Courtney Trimble will have to wait another year to see the city's marquee event for the first time.

Not that she minds too much this year. While the Kentucky Derby is being held Saturday, the Duluth grad will be inducted into the Gwinnett County Sports Hall of Fame prior to the her first Gwinnett Braves game.

"The Derby's the same day as the hall of fame this year so I'll have to miss it, but I'm glad to do it," said Trimble, in her first season as Louisville's head women's golf coach. "I'll have many other Derbies, hopefully."

The hall of fame selection is another exciting honor in a golf career full of them for Trimble, whose playing career was predominantly under her maiden name, Swaim.

She was a standout high school golfer from a young age, learning the game from her longtime teacher, Chan Reeves of the Atlanta Athletic Club. Reeves will introduce her at Saturday's induction ceremony.

Trimble was a golfing pioneer of sorts in Gwinnett, which was years behind its current status as a hotbed for female golfers. She played her first three high school seasons on Duluth's boys golf team because her high school didn't have a girls team.

"My senior year was my first year with a girls team," said Trimble, who won the individual state high school title in 1998. "I think it helped me, being on the guys team. It helped me get better because I had to play with people better than me. It was fun and it challenged me. It made me better in the long run."

After high school, Trimble played four successful seasons at Auburn, where she was a three-time All-SEC selection and a first-team All-American as a senior in 2002. The Tigers finished as the NCAA runner-up her senior season, which she followed by playing on the Americans' victorious Curtis Cup team and playing in the 2002 U.S. Women's Open as an amateur.

She played more than two seasons professionally on the Futures Tour, the LPGA's feeder tour, and made the cut in the 2004 U.S. Women's Open, finishing 61st.

Longtime Auburn head coach Kim Evans made two attempts to hire Trimble as an assistant, but her first offer was turned down. The second one didn't get past her, though.

Trimble was an assistant coach at her alma mater for three and a half years before being hired as the head women's golf coach at Central Florida. She rebuilt the UCF program into a national power in three seasons as head coach, which led to her current job at Louisville. The 32-year-old was hired last June.

"I've kind of climbed the ladder in coaching," Trimble said. "It's been a wonderful career choice. I'm blessed to have worked with some great players."

The hectic pace of her coaching job --the fall and spring seasons both count equally, with recruiting in between --doesn't leave her much time to play golf herself. She and her husband, Billy, have a 16-month-old son Owen, who already swings a golf club. That also keeps her off the course.

She still has game, though. A few weeks ago, after taking a break from playing since October, she joined her Louisville team for a round and shot 76.

"I still love the game and love playing the game," Trimble said. "I have my amateur status back, so I may try to qualify for the (U.S.) Mid-Am this year."

The to-do list also includes seeing her first Derby, even if it has to wait for a year. It's one of the many perks of her new job.

"We love Louisville," Trimble said. "There's no better time to be a part of the athletic department here, that's for sure. It's super exciting and the town is great."