Todd Lawton is in his 12th year as the head coach of the men's and women's golf teams at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Lawton had the privilege of bringing back the men's golf program since it was discontinued after the 1990-91 academic year and starting the women's program.
Lawton has been the architect in establishing the Upstate golf programs into highly successful and respected programs in just four years of competition. He has done so on two different levels, first in two years playing NCAA Division II golf and the last two years making the transition to NCAA Division I play. Lawton's first crowning achievement was leading the men's program to a second-place finish in the DII National Championships and a final No. 2 national ranking in 2007. He also led the women's team to the precipice of the NCAA Regionals the same year while playing against a myriad of strong teams from Florida.
His second achievement was leading both programs into NCAA Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference. The men's program won two team and six individual tournament titles in the first season playing DI golf in 2007-08 and turned in another solid season last year. The women's team has continued to show steady improvement in its two years in DI and has claimed solid finishes. Both programs have traveled throughout North America to play a challenging schedule. Lawton has elevated the golf programs to national prominence in his first two years at the University. He guided the men's team to a second-place finish at the 2007 NCAA Division II National Championships, finishing second by one stroke to national champion Barry. The Spartans claimed one team title in 2006-07 and finished second on four occasions, including the Peach Belt Conference Championships and the NCAA Nationals. The women's team claimed two team championships during the 2006-07 campaign and narrowly missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth.
In his first season at the helm of the golf programs, Lawton delivered solid first-year program results. The men's team, competing in its first season in the NCAA, advanced to the NCAA Regionals and claimed six Top 5 finishes in 11 tournaments. The women's team claimed four Top 5 finishes in seven tournaments and Trish Randall became the program's first individual medalist title.
Lawton came to USC Upstate from Queens University of Charlotte where he was the head coach at for seven years. He led the Royals to a second-place finish in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference this spring, while one of his players was the individual champion. He also led the Royals to a fifth-place showing in the NCAA Regionals, the team's third consecutive regional appearance. In addition, he was the Internship Coordinator/Instructor for Queens' professional golf management program, placing students in internships in golf clubs throughout the nation.
Lawton is a Professional Golf Association (PGA) Class A Professional and has been instrumental in the growth of youth golf in the Charlotte area. He was the Senior Manager and Director of Golf at Regent Park Golf Club from 2002-03 and served as the club's PGA Head Professional from 1998-2002. He started the Charlotte Metro Junior Golf Association with his wife, Laura, in 2000. He has also contributed articles in Florida 's Golf Newspaper and Pub Links Magazine and has served as the PGA Teaching Professional for NBC6-TV's Golf Instruction Tips program in Charlotte from 2002-03. Prior to taking the job at Queens, he served as a golf instructor for two years at the Wally Armstrong Golf Schools in Lakeland , Fla. Lawton has served as a national member of the Ben Hogan Advisory Board and the ESPN National Golf Challenge Advisory Board.
Since 2002, he has chaired the driving range committee for the Quail Hollow Championship (formerly the Wachovia Championship), a PGA Tour stop in Charlotte that has fielded some of the best players in the world including Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, and Phil Mickelson. He manages the operations of the practice facility during the week of competition. In addition, his peers have nominated him for Carolinas PGA Section Junior Golf Leader and Merchandiser of the Year on numerous occasions.
As a player, he has participated in section PGA events and played several mini-tour events in Florida from 1992-94. Lawton graduated from Berry College (Ga.) in 1992 and was a four-year member of the golf team. He helped lead his team to an appearance in the NAIA National Championships as a senior and was a four-time Collegiate Golf Foundation All-American Scholarship recipient and an All-Conference performer.