By Michael Haag | Sports Writer
Being a fourth generation graduate from the University of Florida is one way to carry a legacy, especially when your dad was a national champion on the 1993 Gator golf team. Graduate student golfer Addie Baggarly lived with the pressure to be a Gator for her entire life and ultimately never thought her course would steer her to Baylor University.
“There was a lot of pressure [at Florida] to be very successful,” Baggarly said. “Fortunately enough, I made my own name for myself and it was absolutely great. I never thought in a million years I would be wearing other colors. I thought it was just going to be orange and blue for the rest of my life.”
Something that was more of a natural realization for Baggarly was what she had in store for her future. Athletics took a toll on her mental health and ultimately helped shape her aspirations to be a coach one day.
“I came to the realization this past spring that I don’t think it would be wise on my own health to go through that because I carry a lot of anxiety on the golf course,” Baggarly said. “It got to the point in the U.S. Open where, in my first round, I don’t remember my first 11 holes. I think I remember like two or three shots and that’s about it.”
Once Baggarly realized she didn’t want to play at the next level, she decided to tell her dad in the heat of the moment.
“I was actually at Augusta with my dad last year, and we’re walking down the 13th hole which is arguably one of the best holes in all of golf,” Baggarly said. “I look at him and I’m like, ‘I don’t think I want to play professional golf.’ And he looked at me and he’s like, ‘You’re telling me this here? You’re telling me this now?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, what other way would it be best to tell you, like we’re at the best place in golf.’”
The Jonesborough, Tenn., native has seen other golfers like herself who have struggled with the mental aspect of golf. Baggarly said it pains her to see talented golfers grow a resentment toward the sport and hopes to one day alter their path for the better by using her experience.
“I just have a passion for wanting people my age to get better,” Baggarly said. “I’ve seen top-50 ranked players in the world leave college golf hating the sport, and that breaks my heart. Taking from my experiences at Florida and now at Baylor, I’ve kind of seen the right way and not so much the right way to handle things. I feel like if I can be their best supporter throughout those ages of 18 to 22 [and] help them figure out what they want to do with their lives … if I only do that to one person through my whole college experience, then that’s been enough.”
Baylor women’s golf head coach Jay Goble believes Baggarly has the potential to have a great impact in the coaching profession.
“I think someday she [Baggarly] will make a good coach,” Goble said. “I think just her experience alone, much less playing on two different teams with four different coaches, is also going to give her a lot of insight into how to someday lead her own team.”
With only one semester of athletic eligibility left, Baggarly thought her collegiate career was over and figured no school would want a fifth-year transfer for the back end of their season. She found out very quickly that it was quite the contrary, and put her name in the transfer portal.
“The decision [to transfer] was very hard,” Baggarly said. “I didn’t think there were going to be many places that only wanted me for a spring semester and I was pleasantly surprised. I kept refreshing my email and kept seeing a bunch of power-five conference [schools] and it made me feel a little bit good inside.”
Goble has actually known the Baggarly family for a long time due to his years spent as an assistant coach at UF over a decade ago. Once she was made available in the transfer portal, Goble reached out and tried to bring her to Waco.
In his pitch to Baggarly, the conversation wasn’t centralized around golf, but more toward her future outside of the sport.
“[The conversation] kind of geared toward, ‘Hey, let’s get you here, let’s play another semester of college golf and have a chance to win a national championship,’” Goble said. “’After that, hang around and get your sport pedagogy degree and I’ll try to help you get into coaching.’”
Now on the team and with a spring season ahead, Goble hopes he and associate head coach Carly Ludwig can help guide Baggarly on the best path toward her potential career as a head golf coach.
“She [Baggarly] has a long career ahead of her,” Goble said. “I hope being around Carly and myself will help her learn what she can do and maybe guide her to be a great coach someday. I think that’s what we’re looking for. I would love for her to be successful; that would be great for me.”