The women’s golf team posted its four best tournament records in the program’s history this semester. Their fall season ended earlier this month after they placed first in the #DallasStrong Tri-Match.
In the first tournament of the fall season, they placed third but broke a record for the program. It was a score of 318, the best total score for the women’s golf program at UTD.
Michelle Oliff, a biology sophomore and team member, said breaking that first record motivated the team to continue to improve.
“Once that happened, I knew that we all didn’t play our best, I knew we could break it again, and once we break that, we’ll break it again,” she said.
The new freshmen on the team improved the group’s performance because of their determined mindset, Oliff said.
“They have a mentality that I don’t think the team has ever had before. They’re very driven,” she said. “They all have set goals. I don’t think last year we really had too many set goals individually. These girls have personal goals that push them to play better.”
Hailey Hollas, a marketing junior and team member, said the new freshmen players have also been very easy to get along with, and the team has bonded really well.
“I care just as much about their scores as they do about mine,” she said. “We are competitive with each other to an extent, but we care about how we do as a team more so than how we do individually.”
The team’s head coach Butch Edge also said the freshmen have played a major role in the team’s improvement this season.
“The greatest coach in the world is the bench. If you care about your sport and you’re an athlete, you don’t want to get left out of the lineup. And competition does that,” he said.
When Edge was introduced last year, he started making adjustments to the way the team practiced.
“I’m about winning. I’m about work ethic. I’m about having passion for that work ethic, as well as having passion for that sport,” Edge said.
UTD Athletics also implemented a conditioning and training program for all sports last year, and Edge worked with their trainer to come up with a program tailored towards golf.
“Golf is one of those sports where you’re out on the course for five hours and you have to have endurance,” Hollas said. “Physically we’re a lot stronger, so all we have to focus on is our mental toughness.”
The team’s performance during this season has changed how the team perceives themselves, and how they feel going into tournaments, Oliff said.
“It’s nice to go into a tournament and know that you have a chance to win, individually and as a team,” she said. “Now we’re actually competition for other schools, which is a good feeling.”
Hollas said in previous years the team wasn’t really competitive or in a position to win.
“Now we have high expectations for ourselves because we’ve experienced a little bit of success,” she said. “[Edge] expects a lot from us which is a good thing, his expectations have seeped into what we want individually.”
This is also a result of the team’s motivation being different this year compared to the past.
“Previous years we were focused on having fun and making it a good experience. Now it’s more ‘We have the potential to go out and win it, let’s do it,’” she said.
Oliff is confident that the team will continue to improve during the off-season, and then will do even better in their spring season.
“I think we’re going to go to national championships and I think we’re going to win,” she said “It’s just a matter of getting a couple good scores together and taking home a trophy.”