An Orangeburg golfing legend and the woman known as the “First Lady of Golf in the Carolinas” has died.

Jane Crum Covington died Wednesday morning at her home in Orangeburg. She was 101.

In golfing circles, there were few if any better than Covington over a three-decade span from the 1940s to the 1970s.

One of those who knew Covington perhaps better than most is retired Orangeburg dentist and historian Gene Atkinson.

Atkinson not only wrote about Covington as a historian, he knew her personally.

“I have lost a mentor and a friend, someone who I could always look up to as an outstanding role model,” Atkinson said.

“Her pleasant demeanor and congenial personality complemented her outstanding golf accomplishments,” Atkinson continued. “She was truly a first-class lady.”

People are also reading…

Reflecting on her life upon her passing, Atkinson said outside of being an outstanding golfer, Covington :was one of the most gracious ladies that I have ever known.”

“In Mrs. Covington’s 90s, I would try to always take her a birthday present each year, and ‘Miss Jane’ would not let me leave until she gave me a gift in return,” Atkinson said. “That was part of her gracious personality in giving back.”

“Miss Jane was special,” S.C. Golf Insider at the S.C. Department of Parks Recreation & Tourism Robert “Bob” Gillespie said. “I spoke with her a number of times over the years and she was always gracious and eager to share her memories of her long, long life, in Orangeburg and in the game of golf around South Carolina. “

Jane Covington poses in front of the third hole at Orangeburg Country Club during the 2005 Jane Covington Classic golf tournament.

“As she passed 90 and started cutting back on activities, she still enjoyed her three-hole ‘circuit,’ which she played with, I believe, a wedge and a putter,” Gillespie said. “She’d start at her house along Orangeburg Country Club’s fourth fairway, play to the fourth green, then do a loop back to her yard.

Gillespie, an Orangeburg native and former T&D sports editor, remembers a relatively recent encounter with Covington.

“I was at the club one day when I ran into David Lackey, OCC’s (Orangeburg Country Club) director of golf, who was on his way to her house via golf cart to present her with a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner (she was well into her 90s), and he invited me to join him,” Gillespie said.

“We carried the banner into her house, borrowed her stepladder and together hung it from a wall up near the ceiling. She was so pleased and grateful that the club staff had thought of her. Then, as I recall, she invited us to share some birthday cake with her.”

“She was a heckuva lady in so many ways,” Gillespie said.

Orangeburg attorney and Covington’s friend Tom Bryant said he and Jane as well as her husband, Herbert “Hub” Covington, and Harry Wannamaker played together and won the 1956 Watermelon Festival Golf Tournament in Hampton County.

“She was very much a lady on the golf course and off,” Bryant said. “She devoted her life to golf.”

“She was a grand lady,” Bryant continued. “She was courteous and impeccable in her manner.”

Bryant said despite her golfing success, she never let that “go to her head.”

“She was very modest about her accomplishments,” Bryant said, noting many of them were not known. “It was a time when women had to fight to get into newspapers back then. She was the most prominent female golfer in the Carolinas. It was well deserved.”

Jane Covington paved the way for women’s golf in the state as she helped co-found the South Carolina Women’s Golf Association and became its f…

Happ Lathrop, former executive director of the SC Golf Association for four decades and an accomplished Hall of Fame golfer as well, praised Covington’s contributions to the game of golf not only in the state but nationally.

“What a fine lady we lost,” Lathrop said. “She was a stalwart with the Women’s Golf Association. It was a fledgling organization but she stood tall in the leadership of the Golf Association.”

Lathrop first met Covington at the Palmetto Collegiate held at the Orangeburg Country Club when he was a 19-year-old student at the University of South Carolina.

“I already knew she was a legend and a great lady,” Lathrop said. 

Lathrop said when he took over leadership of the S.C. Golf Association, it was the intention to get Covington “inducted pretty much as quickly as we could” into the association’s Golf Hall of Fame.

Lathrop recalled that when Covington was the secretary of the association, the S.C. Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony introduced the “one clap” acknowledgement of new inductees as a way to ensure the program would move speedily along and that all would receive the same acknowledgement.

The tradition continues to this day.

“When she said something, you really listened to what she said,” Lathrop said. “I always took great pride in listening to what she said by her words of wisdom.”

Lea Anne Brown, membership and marketing director at Charleston-based Bulls Bay Golf Club said she met Covington when she moved from Kentucky to Charleston in 1984.

“She was a trailblazer for the Women’s Golf Association,” Brown said. “Jane was always a person to look up to. She was a fabulous golfer.”

From his book, “Interesting and Influential People of Orangeburg,” Atkinson noted Covington was the “domineering lady golfer for over two decades in the two Carolinas.” Covington’s biography for this article is compiled from Atkinson’s book.

Jane Covingston was born in Orangeburg on Dec. 17, 1921, to William C. and Anna “Tebie” Wannamaker Crum.

She was encouraged by her father to take up golf as a teenager.

The encouragement proved instrumental early on for Crum.

In her senior year at Orangeburg High School, she was the runner-up for the country club championship against all the men.

At the University of South Carolina, Crum was on the men’s golf team until the athletic director restricted females from participating.

While in college, she won tournaments two years in a row on the Florida circuit at Palm Beach’s Biltmore Golf Club.

Later in Florida in a match, she carried the legendary golfer Babe Zaharias to the 17th hole before losing.

After college, Crum moved to the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland to teach school during World War II.

In 1944, she married Herbert “Hub” Covington and the couple would go on to have three children: Jane C. Jeffords, Ellen C. Warren and Bill Covington.

Hub became the athletic director at Aberdeen and was a golf champion in his own right.

Get for $1 for 26 weeks

After the war, the couple returned to Orangeburg, where she continued her career in golf.

Covington was one of the co-founders of the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association, became its first president, as well as won their first championship in 1949.

She went on to win four more state titles over the next 16 years.

In 1948, Covington was president of the Carolinas Women’s Golf Association, then went on to win their championship five times through 1966, according to Atkinson.

On a national level, Covington qualified to play in the 1941 U.S. Women’s Amateur at the famous The Country Club at Brookline, Massachusetts.

In 1955, she again participated in the U.S. Women’s Amateur and advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to the eventual champion, according to Atkinson.

Covington represented South and North Carolina in the Carolinas-Virginias Team Competitions from 1957 to 1973, and was team captain in 1959.

Additionally she and her husband won numerous couples championships through the years.

At the then-Country Club of Orangeburg, Covington won the women’s club championship many times.

Covington was so dominant she would only enter the tournament fewer than half the years in order to give others a chance to win.

As a senior citizen, Covington did not lose her golfing skills.

She won the S.C. Senior Women’s Golf Association’s championship six times.

She was the recipient of numerous accolades through the years, including induction into three halls of fame: the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973, the South Carolina Golf Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame in 1989.

She was a member of the University of South Carolina Women’s Board of Visitors and the Hillcrest Recreation Commission for the city-operated golf course in Orangeburg from 1971-99. She was the panel’s first chair.

Because of her leadership in women’s golf, the Women’s South Carolina Golf Association established the Jane Covington Invitational Tournament in 2006. It was held annually on her home course here in Orangeburg.

When this tournament was held in 2021, just a few weeks before her 100th birthday, she was standing on the back porch of her home overlooking the fourth tee and waved to all of the participants.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

#lee-rev-content { margin:0 -5px; } #lee-rev-content h3 { font-family: inherit!important; font-weight: 700!important; border-left: 8px solid var(–lee-blox-link-color); text-indent: 7px; font-size: 24px!important; line-height: 24px; } #lee-rev-content .rc-provider { font-family: inherit!important; } #lee-rev-content h4 { line-height: 24px!important; font-family: “serif-ds”,Times,”Times New Roman”,serif!important; margin-top: 10px!important; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #lee-rev-content h3 { font-size: 18px!important; line-height: 18px; } } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article { clear: both; background-color: #fff; color: #222; background-position: bottom; background-repeat: no-repeat; padding: 15px 0 20px; margin-bottom: 40px; border-top: 4px solid rgba(0,0,0,.8); border-bottom: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,.2); display: none; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article, #pu-email-form-daily-email-article p { font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, “Segoe UI”, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif, “Apple Color Emoji”, “Segoe UI Emoji”, “Segoe UI Symbol”; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article h2 { font-size: 24px; margin: 15px 0 5px 0; font-family: “serif-ds”, Times, “Times New Roman”, serif; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .lead { margin-bottom: 5px; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .email-desc { font-size: 16px; line-height: 20px; margin-bottom: 5px; opacity: 0.7; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article form { padding: 10px 30px 5px 30px; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .disclaimer { opacity: 0.5; margin-bottom: 0; line-height: 100%; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .disclaimer a { color: #222; text-decoration: underline; } #pu-email-form-daily-email-article .email-hammer { border-bottom: 3px solid #222; opacity: .5; display: inline-block; padding: 0 10px 5px 10px; margin-bottom: -5px; font-size: 16px; } @media (max-width: 991px) { #pu-email-form-daily-email-article form { padding: 10px 0 5px 0; } } .grecaptcha-badge { visibility: hidden; }

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>