UD to add women’s golf as varsity sport

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Photo by Kaity Chaikowsky

This article has been edited since its original publication to accurately reflect the role of two basketball players on the golf team

For the first time in University of Dallas’ history, women’s golf will be added as an official NCAA sport.

Athletic Director Dick Strockbine, says the women’s golf team will be added to further diversify the school.

“We’re always looking for ways to add more students and expand the athletics portfolio,” Strockbine said.

The women’s golf team will be the eighth UD women’s sport, while there are seven men’s sports teams.

The coach of the women’s golf team will be Garrett Smith, the current coach of the men’s golf team who, in this last fall season, led his nine players to a record-breaking season. Smith could not be reached for comment.

“The [men’s] golf team had a pretty good season [this fall],” Nathan Yacovissi, the sports information manager, said. “We broke several team records this year.”

Yacovissi mentioned that he’s seen the golf team get better since he came to the University of Dallas.

“When I [first got here in 2014], it was literally, ‘ok you get a golf club’ and we had two basketball players that were a part of the golf team, they’re in the golf records right now, not record holders but they’re in the records. It was one of those things that were like, okay we need more golfers.”

In the last three years, the men’s golf team has been carving a name for itself, largely because of an increase in recruitment and more time for coaching, as well as the new leadership by Smith, a professional golfer who became coach in 2016.

Since the women’s golf team will be coached by the same coach as the men’s golf team, there will no doubt be great leadership. However, the women’s golf team faces a tougher challenge in regards to recruiting.

Yacovissi says that women golfers are already a very small pool to choose from in the nation, and UD has to compete with other big name colleges that can offer athletic scholarships. Luckily, a golf team only requires a minimum of four players.

Though this is the first time the UD will have a women’s golf team, there have been female golfers in the past who have competed and represented the school at local tournaments, dating back to 1994.

More recently, Julia Shinkle, who graduated in the Fall of 2017, came to UD to play golf even  though there technically was no women’s golf team. Instead, Shinkle competed on the men’s team in individual events.

Shinkle has done exceptionally well as a golf athlete, especially in her high school career. She spent all four years of high school on her varsity golf team, and her team won the Pennsylvania state championship four years in a row. During Shinkle’s senior year, she went to the state tournament to compete.

However, after her first semester of playing golf at UD in individual events, Shinkle dropped it to join the lacrosse team. Shinkle enjoyed her time playing golf for UD, but she missed the aspect of being on a team that lacrosse could fulfill.

“The difference between your friends and your teammates is that you share your passion with your teammates. You have others that give you motivation to keep working hard” Shinkle said.

“The [UD lacrosse] team got along so well. I seriously considered staying an extra semester just to continue playing on the team.”

Shinkle is excited about the prospects for a UD women’s golf team.

“It could be successful, I mean look at the guys team,” Shinkle said. “[Their stats] are incredible for a Division III school, and good leadership is such a huge part of that.”

Shinkle, along with the UD athletic department, agrees that the sport is a good skill to have, and that among women, the sport is growing.

“Though there may not be a lot of women golfers, there’s a lot of opportunity for women golfers,” Shinkle said.

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