Joel Dahmen is playing his best golf in several months at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow. He enters Day 3 Saturday trailing leader Jason Dufner by just a stroke at 10-under par.
At one point during this PGA Tour season, he missed four straight cuts between early February and early March. Now, he’s as close to his first PGA Tour win as he was last July at the John Deere, where he finished 2nd to Michael Kim.
He’s been through a lot in his golf career, including surviving testicular cancer in 2011. One of the biggest points of support through that and his entire career has been his wife Lona Dahmen, formerly known as Lona Skutt.
Here’s what you need to know about her.
1. The Couple Met in Scottsdale (Ariz.) in 2012
Joel and Lona met back in Old Town Scottsdale in 2012 as they waited for a late-night pizza snack, as they wrote on their wedding website.
While being squished into a small space together waiting Joel struck up conversation and said he would buy Lona a slice if she got up the line faster than him. Probably the best pickup line for Lona because she loves food and would take that challenge any day!
Not sure we ever reached the end of the line before Joels friend Annie (still a great friend to both of us) beat us to it by getting a whole pizza. Before Joel jetted off Lona boldly suggested Joel take her number so they could hang out sometime, even though she had asked her friends to stop her from handing our her number. Lona had planned on living a single life with plans to move to New York City 4 months later. Little did she know, meeting Joel that night would change everything!
After seven years of dating, they got married on Dec. 15 of last year at the Royal Palms in Phoenix. The Knot website also shows several pictures of fun memories over the course of their relationship.
Even their Registry is still open!
2. She Gave Him an Ultimatum After He Struggled to Return to Golf After His Cancer Recovery
Dahmen lost his own mother to cancer when he was a junior in high school in 2005. If that emotional hardship wasn’t enough, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer only 6 years later.
He recovered, but after falling short of qualifying for the PGA Tour with a finish outside the top-25 of Web.com earners for 2016, he fell into a funk.
Lona, his girlfriend at the time, provided the motivation necessary, according to the Seattle Times.
Dahmen beat the cancer, but after being eliminated in the second round of PGA Tour qualifying school in 2013, he went into a funk and rarely left the couch. Girlfriend Lona Skutt finally gave him an ultimatum: Get back on the golf course, or get a real job.
Dahmen got back on the course. He was the leading money winner on the PGA Canada Tour in 2014, earning a card on the Web.com Tour, and now he is a member of the PGA Tour.
“She’s been with me at my lowest and my highest,” Dahmen said of Skutt. “She is a big reason I am where I am, always supporting me, but also kicking my butt when I need it.”
“Joel has been pretty level-headed,” Skutt said to Pamplin Media when Joel missed the PGA cut. “He’s trying to take it as it is, and whatever happens, happens. I don’t know if he had nerves. If he did, he was hiding them. I think I get more nervous than he does just watching.”
3. After Getting Hitched, Joel Pushed Himself with a Busy Tour Schedule
If Joel was at one point unmotivated, he has completely changed face since getting hitched last December. In an article with the Lewiston Tribune in January, the Phoenix native talked about his intentions for a busy PGA Tour schedule.
He’ll be busy over the next few months. He’s looking forward to early February’s raucous Phoenix Open — which is played on his home course and is known for its party-like atmosphere — and an appearance in The Players Championship in mid-March. Dahmen won’t play in any of the four majors, but he might score invitations to events named for Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.
Since getting married to Lona, he has participated in 12 PGA Tour events. His goal is to remain on tour, which requires a top-125 finish in the FedEx standings. He currently is No. 65.
“There’s no reason I can’t have a long, successful career versus just trying to keep my card every year,” Dahmen said in a phone interview with the Tribune. “My mindset has definitely changed on that, as of last summer. It’s like, ‘You know what? I can compete out here. There’s no reason that I can’t spend 10, 15 years out here.’”
4. The Couple Bought a “Dream Home” in Scottsdale After the Wedding
Joel and Lona bought a home in Scottsdale after the wedding, according to AZFamily.com.
Hartford House, a home building and design company, helped make Dahmen’s dream house a reality.
Dahmen and his wife Lona purchased a house in Scottsdale and completely renovated it with the help of Hartford House owners, Justin and Shea Rollins. Justin and Shea created a modern farmhouse with a twist for the couple using dark shiplap and unique tiles.
“Knowing Lona’s love of subway, we definitely wanted to use it but also wanted to put a fresh spin on it,” Shea said. “We decided to lay it in a unique pattern in the hall bath. On the kitchen backsplash, we used a more handmade, organic glazed rectangular tile rather than traditional subway.”
Joel talks about the financial instability of being a mid-tier player on the PGA Tour. Since joining the Tour in 2017, he has earned $2.7 million, with over $925 thousand this season.
The typical Scottsdale area home (three bedrooms, two baths) is at least $300,000 according to Zillow. The Dahmen’s feel blessed to be able to afford that after the trials and tribulations of Joel’s life and career.
“Our house is a constant reminder of all of the hardships we have endured and the hard work we have put in to make this a reality,” Dahmen said to AZFamily.
5. They Don’t Have Children Yet, but Lona Travels With Joel on Tour
There’s no indication that Lona is pregnant, and the couple do not have children at this time. According to PGA.com, “he enjoys traveling the TOUR with his wife, Lona, who documents their meals on Instagram.”
Lona hasn’t been active on Twitter since 2016, but what does exist links to several vacation photos, which include trips to the Netherlands.