News & Articles

Golf Guru - Dichard Helps Walshe, Others Elevate Games

August 6, 2007, HUDSON, N.H., The Lowell Sun - Six years ago, Seth Dichard was an assistant pro at Vesper Country Club, eager to teach golf but often stuck behind the cash register inside the pro shop.

One day a gentleman named John Walshe walked in to ask Dichard if he might be available to give his 16-year-old daughter Alison a lesson.

"Best move I could have ever made," says Dichard about answering 'yes', smiling still over his good fortune.

Dichard's first pupil remains a devoted pupil, and she is also one of the best amateur players in the country. On July 22, Walshe won the 105th North & South Women's Amateur Championship at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. This past spring she was a first-team All-American as a junior at the University of Arizona.

"I've been successful ever since I started working with (Dichard)," says Walshe, 22, a former Westford Academy standout who today will tee it up as one of the favorites in the U.S. Women's Amateur at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. "He basically reconstructed my swing from the get-go. This is our seventh year together. Nobody else has really instructed me."

Walshe's game is good advertising for Dichard, a relentlessly upbeat 29-year-old who tirelessly works out of the World Cup Golf Center in Hudson, N.H., and is earning a reputation for being a golf guru.

Three years after he helped build Walshe's game, Dichard acquired a second student- Tracy Martin of Tyngsboro, now a 17-year-old whose many impressive victories include this year's New England Girls' High School Championship. Last fall Martin was the No.2 player on the Bishop Guertin boys' golf team.

Dichard's appointment book now fills rapidly. The top three finishers in the recent Lowell Women's City Golf Tournament- Caitlyn Barry, who plays at Rollins College, Rhonda Regan and Barbara Crowell- are all students of his.

"He has been a big part of many area women and men golfers' success," Crowell writes in an e-mail. "His knowledge (of), love (of), and ability to teach the game is a gift he shares willingly with all who take lessons with him."

Dichard teaches men and women of all ages and abilities, but his best-known students so far have nearly all have been women.

"Maybe that's my little niche. It wasn't planned that way," says Dichard, whose most reknowned male student is Peter Reilly of Merrimack, N.H., a standout player for Bishop Guertin who recently won the New Hampshire State Junior title.

When 49-year-old Lowell resident Phil Richards recently began playing golf again after several years of coaching baseball during the summer, he went to Dichard.

"As Theo (Epstein, General Manager of the Red Sox) would say, 'He has a plus, plus personality and great knowledge about the sport of golf,'" says Richards.

Dichard grew up surrounded by Taylor-Mades and Titleists. His father Mike owned a golf shop in Nashua (Mike Dichard's Golf USA). Dichard twice finished fourth in the New Hampshire state high school tournament while at Nashua High. He attended Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, N.C., where the golf was "a totally different level" than he had been accustomed to in New Hampshire. While working to reconstruct his own game, Dichard became fascinated by the process of teaching the game.

He now spends part of each winter in Naples, Fla., studying golf instruction under Dr. Jim Suttie. He also gives lessons during the winter at the "Dichard Golf Studio" on Middlesex Street in Lowell.

"Tiger Woods has Jack Nicklaus' records on the wall (as motivation). Well, once I realized I wanted to teach, I had Butch Harmon's records on the wall," says Dichard.

Walshe leaned to easily on her outstanding natural athletic talent when she began working with Dichard at Vesper.

"I had to break her down and rebuild her," says Dichard.

Walshe was slow to appreciate her teacher's methods.

"I had to get worse to get better," she says. "That first year with him I probably played the worst I've ever played."

"After that," she says, "I started getting better."

And look at Walshe now.

Following her victory in the North and South, she received a congratulatory card from LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley, who likewise grew up in Westford. Bradley wrote that she looked forward to seeing Walshe playing on the LPGA Tour.

Dichard points out that Bradley's first golf teacher was the late John Wirbal of Nashua CC. Dichard likewise is from Nashua and was a junior member at Nashua CC.

"So I'm hoping to follow in the footsteps of the great John Wirbal," he says about his association with another golfing phenom from Westford.

This week for the first time Dichard will also serve as Walshe's caddy.

"That should be interesting," jokes Walshe, who last year in her first U.S. Amateur tied for 12th in medal play at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore. She was eliminated in the second round of match play 2-up.

Alison right now hits ball 20 yards further than the LPGA average," says Dichard, hoping to witness great things from Walshe at the U.S. Amateur. "She's at about 270-280 (yards off the tee). Lorena (Ochoa) averages 271 and she is the best player in the world. Alison is right with her (off the tee). Pretty amazing."

« Back to News

Have A Question?