Golf may be an individual sport, but don’t tell that to Vanessa Fulmore. Starting at age seven, it became her favorite summer activity to do with her father, preparing her for youth leagues and tournaments across the state.

Born and raised in Western New York, Fulmore played years of competitive golf, including on the Junior PGA Tour. Her college journey took her to Division II and the College of St. Rose. “I felt so at home I decided to stay,” Fulmore says.

This fall, she has taken over as Golf Coach at Academy of the Holy Names, succeeding veteran coach Jim Toomey. “The Holy Names team has already seen exceptional growth this season,” Fulmore says. “The girls have grown in skill, confidence, and sisterhood with each other. From celebrating their first team victory to individual victories, they have uplifted each other with each milestone this season. It is my hope that these values remain at the forefront of all that we do.”

Coaching fits hand in glove with Fulmore’s day job: she’s a proud fourth grade teacher at Southgate School in the North Colonie School District. “Teaching has always been my dream job, following in the footsteps of my grandmother and mother. Teaching for me is truly a work of heart.”

Working with youth comes naturally to Fulmore, who, when not in the classroom or on the golf course spends her time teaching girls’ self-defense, or volunteering with children at Life Church in Albany. “God has blessed me in magnificent ways,” Fulmore says. “Working within my church in youth ministry to lead others to become fully devoted followers of Christ is my greatest volunteer motivator.”

Fulmore has also taken steps to promote inclusivity in golf. With the founding of 20/20 Golf: A Vanessa Fulmore Golf Academy in 2018, she has spent the past six years making more golf opportunities available to young girls living within inner-city limits.

Her advice for any girl interested in playing golf is simple: “sign up today!” “Golf is a rare sport that can be played for a lifetime,” Fulmore adds. “Your skill level doesn’t matter! Everyone starts somewhere and why not start now? All are welcome on our team. Go Panthers!”

As for Fulmore’s coaching philosophy, she’s not going to spill any trade secrets. She does tell her players golf is like life: “although it can be tough, you keep your head in the game and make the best of every shot. There are victories to be found in every hole, round, and day of life. We push out the exterior noise to focus on one swing, one thought, and execute our plan.”