By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
Senior golfer Gurleen Kaur has been there, done that and seen it all during her time at Baylor. Over the last four years, she has accumulated a resume that will leave a deep impact on the program. Even with all the glory that she has, one thing remains eminent; she is hungry for more. Kaur said she isn’t done yet and has big plans for the rest of her final season at Baylor and for her future professional career that lies ahead.
With it being homecoming at Baylor, Kaur said she doesn’t recall ever being a part of the celebration. Normally, the team is off and playing at a tournament and she has yet to bask in the fun activities. However, it doesn’t phase her, as Kaur said she loves playing with the team and is prepared for the upcoming Stephens Cup in Roland, Ark., even though it’s a much younger team than most years.
“We won’t be here for homecoming, sadly,” Kaur says. “I don’t even know if I’ve ever been here for homecoming, just because we’ve always had a tournament. We are leaving for Arkansas this Saturday and I’m super excited. For my last year we have such a great team, and we have three new freshmen and then I’m the only senior currently, so quite a young team compared to previous years.”
Kaur said she fell in love with Baylor during her recruitment process, without even intending to do so. Growing up in Houston, she always thought she would end up going far away from home, but ended up staying within driving distance. Kaur said that the coaches, team and athletic caliber all stood out to her in her decision.
“I looked at Baylor late in my recruiting process,” Kaur said. “I’m from Houston and my first wanting was to go far. I had an opportunity to come take a visit at Baylor and I just loved it from the very first visit that I took here. I took one more visit and then I completely committed here. I think it had a lot to do with my relationship with Jay [Goble]. We had a different coach before, her name is Ryan [Ashburn]; she was great too. She’s actually a head coach now at University of North Carolina [at] Charlotte. I had a great relationship with them, and also the caliber of our team. We had just finished at nationals really well and we had made it to the final match in 2015. I knew that this was somewhere I wanted to go because we would have a competitive advantage and always have girls who were wanting to take it to the next level.”
Being at Baylor, Kaur has embodied the sense of “Baylor Family” that has been showcased by current and former Bears. She knows that no matter what, she will always have the bonds that she has built forever.
“I would definitely say that it’s one of the biggest things, especially in athletics,” Kaur said. “Even my whole team, we all get along really well, and my coaches Jay [Goble] and Carly [Ludwig] are so close to me. I would definitely say that I’ve made lifelong friendships as well as with my coaches. I know that throughout athletics, I’ll be able to reach out to people and they’ll always be here for me. The Baylor family thing is a huge, huge deal.”
Head coach Jay Goble said Kaur is a crucial piece to the team and that it was a pleasant bonus getting her back for an extra year due to COVID-19. He said having her as a leader is huge, and Kaur has big plans to finish her career out on a good note.
“This is her fifth year at Baylor, getting a COVID year back. We didn’t expect to have Gurleen on the team for this season,” Goble said. “It was a nice added bonus for her and for us to get to have her as a teammate for another year. She has the lowest scoring average in Baylor women’s golf history, which is pretty amazing. She has been a team leader and a great player for us for years now. [I’m] expecting a lot of the same. She really wants to end her career here at Baylor on a high note. I know that having a good team around her, having great tournaments for us to play in and her trying to finish up her degree here next May, she wants to end her career here on a bang.”
“I think I’ve definitely helped others push themselves and we’ve done a great job of just doing what we need to do,” Kaur said. “I’ve definitely felt like I’ve been able to guide others, especially the freshmen, in what to do or what not to do.”
Goble said that the biggest thing that stands out to him about Kaur is her competitive nature. He said her competitiveness drives her to set goals that she can achieve, which allows her to be so successful.
“She’s probably one of the more competitive people I’ve ever met,” Goble said. “I don’t care if you’re playing golf or doing a homework contest or whatever it may be. She’s going to be the person that tries to do it the fastest, the best, the quickest, whatever you might set as the goal, she wants to be the best at it. That’s what makes her a great player. She’s not really ever satisfied, and I think that she always knows that if she works hard and puts her mind to it and sets high goals then she can achieve them. That’s always been one of her biggest attributes, and my opinion is that she is a goal setter who achieves her goal and it’s a really cool thing to watch because she seems to always do it.”
Growing up, Kaur played a lot of different sports. She said she never truly took golf seriously until she was in high school, and that is when she realized she could play competitively at the next level.
“When I was younger, I first used to play basketball, soccer [and] gymnastics,” Kaur said. “I played a lot of sports growing up and then I took up golf when I was maybe about seven or eight years old just because there was a golf course I could walk to from my house and my dad was a member there. I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was about 12 or 13. In high school, my freshman year, I realized I could play in college, I’m pretty good and this is what I want to do.”
Goble said he knows just how competitively she has played golf throughout her life. He said that through her success and approach, Kaur will have a bright future.
“I think that she [Kaur] has a lot of self-belief through her practice and through her play,” Goble said. “Throughout her life, she’s played golf on a competitive level since she was a little kid, so she’s got a lot of successes to build off of. She wants to make golf her career, she wants to play professionally; that’s an important part of it because any lack in concentration, lack in poise, lack in practice, it costs you money.
Goble also said Kaur’s biggest improvement over the years has been her maturity on the course. He thinks it’ll suit her well as she heads towards a professional career.
“I think that the biggest thing I’ve seen with [Kaur] is that she’s just grown up the last couple years and she’s a little more mature in the way she handles things on the golf course now versus four years ago,” Goble said. “That’s going to serve her well moving forward when she’s trying to play golf for a living.”
With it being her last season, Kaur wants to see the team succeed. For her, winning and playing strong as a team is what matters most as they continue throughout the season.
“I would say in the fall, we only have two more events and we’ve played well [so far],” Kaur said.” To win next week would be such a great, great ending to our season. I think being able to get off to a great start next year, and obviously the goal is to take it as far as we can, and win nationals. That would be the icing on the cake for sure. I think just to finish strong and play well next week is one of the biggest things. We’re playing a really, really tough field next week so, just being able to play well is the goal.”
Baylor women’s golf is a program that Kaur has been a part of for a long time. Goble is appreciative of her, saying that there is nothing he would rather see more than for the team to do well in the spring to send her off on a good note. Kaur has not been a part of a national or conference championship team yet but Goble believes that Kaur will motivate the team to do well in order to make it happen.