Dodson has left her mark on Iron Masters

By Ken Love

For the Mirror

ORE HILL — Almost everyone who has played golf at Iron Masters Country Club has come in contact with one of the best female golfers our area has ever produced.

Patti Dodson, an 11-time club champion, is celebrating her 50th year as a member at Iron Masters this summer.

While she’s spent countless hours competing in tournaments on her home course, Dodson has also left her mark at Iron Masters while working in the club’s restaurant over the past three decades, many of those as the facility’s manager.

As a young woman growing up in Altoona, though, golf was the furthest thing from Dodson’s mind. While her older sister was a competitive basketball player and swimmer, the younger Dodson played no organized sports before graduating high school in 1960.

It wasn’t until she met and married husband Raymond Dodson in 1965 that she was introduced to the game. By 1968, the couple, who had settled in Claysburg, decided to join Iron Masters Country Club.

“My first golfing experiences were with my husband at the par-3 in Greenwood,” Dodson said. “He would give me pointers and taught me the game.”

Dodson took to the game quickly. Although she didn’t like practicing, the newlywed couple would play many rounds together at Iron Masters — sometimes 36 holes a day, while walking.

By 1973, Dodson began winning championships at her home club. In 1978, she represented Iron Masters in the inaugural Greater Altoona Golf Tournament. The following year, she captured the event’s individual women’s title.

“I still have the gold putter I won at that tournament,” she said. “Mattas Motors sponsored the tournament and gave the men’s champion, Danny Lawruk, and I both one of our own.”

During the 1970s and 19 80’s, Dodson was a dominant force in local women’s golf. By the mid-1980s, she befriended fellow Iron Masters member Gwen Paden, who had also begun competing at a high level.

The two would become partners, competing in events across the state.

“Every year, we would play in all of the ladies’ best-ball events — Clinton, Lost Creek, Belle Springs, everywhere,” Paden said. “We were the team to beat for many years, and Patti was a great partner.”

In addition to her golfing exploits, Dodson also gave back to the game. For many years, she served as the Central Director for the Pennsylvania State Women’s Golf Association. As a fellow director, Summit Country Club’s Anita Jo Petrusky worked on several PSGWA projects with Dodson.

“Miss Patti was always looking to promote the game of golf — especially among young women,” Petrusky said. “You can tell she really loves the game of golf. She always has such a positive attitude about the game.”

While Dodson’s numerous golfing accomplishments may be too extensive to list, one of the highlights was winning the Pennsylvania State Better-Ball Championship with Paden. The pair also teamed to win the inaugural Iron Masters Ladies Classic, one of many titles the duo would go on to capture.

Though she’s been slowed in recent years by a few physical setbacks, Dodson has remained active in the game, and she’s still competitive.

She captured her 11th women’s club championship as recently as 2012. Earlier this year, Dodson also teamed up with Paden, Deb Showalter, Kate Conway and Kathy Bottenfield to capture the 2017 Women’s Central Counties Championship for the Iron Masters team.

With all that said, Dodson remains a significant figure at Iron Masters not only for her golfing exploits, but also for her many years helping to run the club’s restaurant (which ended earlier this year) and the multiple terms she’s served on the club’s board of directors.

Iron Masters member Duane Geisler has been an officer at the club for many years and has known Dodson for decades.

“Patti has consistently been one the best women’s golfers in our area,” Geisler said. “Over the years, she’s been a key contributor at Iron Masters and has had a tremendously positive impact at our club.”