No. 16 Baylor women’s golf competes with confidence, swagger on course

Sophomore Rosie Belsham exemplifies the swagger of the Baylor women's golf team. Photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics

By Michael Haag | Sports Writer

In a classy sport like golf, it’s imperative to play with a certain etiquette. This doesn’t prohibit the occasional showcase of swagger or celebration because we’ve seen that, even in such a quiet and calm environment, it can make for some memorable moments. With the Desert Match Play under its belt and a spring slate ahead, No. 16 Baylor women’s golf will aim to insert a little personality into its play.

“We’re all about [showing swagger] on our team,” sophomore golfer Rosie Belsham said. “Britta [Snyder] has … a swagger walk. I don’t know what we’ll call it really, but she has this bounce to her walk and we’re all like, ‘Oh yeah, just have a bit of the Britta walk.’”

Whether it is the English Belsham or the Iowa-born Snyder, the body language they bring to the course can fly under the radar. Head coach Jay Goble knows firsthand how impactful this is on an athlete’s performance.

“I mean, body language is probably the most underrated thing that you can have,” Goble said. “I think the better your body language is, the better your strut is, the better your swagger is, you start to believe it and you start to believe that you can go out and do extraordinary things.”

A team composed of mostly returners, swag has been showcased in tournaments that date back to last season. Goble said in the previous year they became tough to beat, crediting their confident approach. He said the current team can get to that point again, as the athletes will continue to progress deeper into the season.

“I think we proved that last year when we had our swagger, we were pretty tough,” Goble said. “We kind of walked onto a golf course and knew that we had a good chance to win every time. It will be nice to get that back and that’s always the goal, and again, I think the team has that.”

It can be difficult for athletes to find a desire to compete in practice if no one is participating with them. Belsham has dealt with this, but said it was great to be back with the rest of the roster to complete drills.

“It was so nice being back at the facility [and seeing] everyone kind of practicing together,” Belsham said. “You could kind of feel the competitiveness coming back, which you don’t get over the break when you’re practicing on your own. You just kind of [say], ‘I’ll complete this drill,’ but then when someone else is completing it, you’re like ‘Oh, well I’m going to complete it before you,’ so it’s been really cool.”

The competition among the roster is fierce; nobody takes it easy on each other. In the Rainbow Wahine Invitational, Baylor’s tournament team swept the top three individual spots. It ended up being a tight contest between the three, with each ultimately trying to beat the other for the top spot. For Goble, having this friendly-fire competitive mindset is a positive thing that ends up helping against the opposition.

“They’re all friends, but they also are all going to want to beat each other,” Goble said. “They do take it very seriously and they want to beat their teammates and they want to be one of those five spots in the lineup. The competitiveness brings out the best in this group for sure, and I think when they want to beat their teammate so bad that they play good, we end up usually beating other people as well.”

The Bears don’t lack confidence in their abilities, as each athlete knows what they can bring to the course on any given day.

“I think we’re quite a, I don’t know how to put it politely, but quite a cocky group of girls,” Belsham said. “We’re all very confident.”

Molding that belief into low scores on the course is what Goble expects to see as the season moves on. He said he’s certain the team will reach their potential and peak over the spring season. For Goble, the team will ideally hit that mark at the turn of the postseason to ensure the deepest run possible.

“I mean, I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I’m very confident that at some point this team is going to click and they’re going to be pretty tough to beat,” Goble said. “I think that this team is really too good not to click at some point and play really good golf. That’s kind of what we’re shooting for is that we’re going to learn from these experiences and we’re going to get better from these experiences and hopefully we hit our stride mid-April.”