Women’s golf builds strong program through competition

Baylor women's golf brought home its second-consecutive title with team and individual wins at the Betsy Rawls Invitational in Austin last weekend. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Jarrod Leicher | Reporter

Competing at the highest level of college golf is a challenging endeavour for any team. The No. 8 Baylor women’s golf team has been consistent with keeping up and holding their own against the best teams in the country for this season and for the past few years.

Baylor kicked off the 2020-21 season with five straight first place wins and placing 11th in their most recent tournament in South Carolina. Head coach Jay Goble said playing across the country brings different obstacles which players don’t experience at home.

“I wouldn’t say [we didn’t win] because of any other reason, except for we played the first five events in the general area of Waco,” Goble said. “We played in Texas and Oklahoma on grasses and golf courses and weather that we’re used to. We went to South Carolina — I believe the grass and the way the golf courses play is a little different than what we’ve been in on all year.”

Golf teams usually only have five players on the team lineup. Then players compete within the team for opportunities to play, and when the season starts, they work for the positions within that lineup. This competition usually actively motivates the players to improve. But when they play in tournaments, the players don’t directly play against other players but instead play against themselves, trying to improve individually. The score they receive is then compared to other players.

“It’s more individualized-based [in the offseason], but then when we’re in season, we have 20 hours [a week] that Coach Jay and Coach Carley [Ludwig] can regulate and normally most of the time we work on our own games. But then we’re going to qualify for five spots,” junior Gurleen Kaur said. “When we know the majority of who’s going to be in the lineup, we just play for our spot. I wouldn’t say that none of us really practice the 20 hours. We go way more than that. I tend to practice almost every day, maybe take one day off a week just for school.”

Goble is also looking forward to the future. Maintaining a winning program is a task which has to build up over years. When the players recruited are ambitious and want to become professionals, it can be promising for the program and draw in more recruits who share the same passion for the game.

“It’s all through recruiting, developing relationships. Really before you bring somebody to Baylor, make sure you understand what makes them tick and what drives them,” Goble said. “I think that in the past, myself and my assistant coaches, we’ve recruited a lot based on numbers. I think now we try to recruit a lot more based on the individual and the person and getting to see what they’re made of and see what kind of teammate they’re going to be and what kind of assets they’re going to bring to the program. And in doing that, it’s been great.”

Baylor women’s golf is headed to Arizona for the next two weeks playing at the MountainView Collegiate from March 19-21 in Saddlebrook, Ariz., before participating in the Ping/ASU Invitational March 26-28 in Phoenix.

“I don’t see an end in sight,” Goble said, “I believe that we’re building strong for the future, with some of the players we have coming in, next year and beyond.”