There are few teams that can boast the consistent success of the Kent State women’s golf team.
The team has seen consistent success since its creation. The Flashes have won 18 consecutive MAC championships — every one since women’s golf was introduced into the MAC.
The team has players from Sweden, Norway and Thailand, as well as from Kent. Three of Kent State’s golfers are also ranked in the top 60 nationally.
“There aren’t too many teams that have that,” Coach Greg Robertson said. “We also have four of our top five golfers that have all won college tournaments.”
However, the team’s success isn’t taken for granted by the coaches.
“Coming into the year, we didn’t know what to expect,” Robertson said. “We had one of our best years in the program’s history last year. We lost three seniors after last year and this year we only had one.”
As a result, most of the players in the team’s lineup are freshmen and sophomores.
“We knew we had talent, but you never really know until they tee it up,” Robertson said. “They’re all doing their part and working hard. They just exploded this year.”
The younger players are excited by their success but also look to move forward.
“I absolutely think we’re getting better,” sophomore Kelly Nielsen said. “The standard has moved up over the years. We have high expectations to win the MAC and go to the NCAA every year.”
Competing at a national level, the team feels pressure to perform well.
“I think there’s always that pressure in sports,” Robertson said. “But, I think that’s why you play. If you don’t love that feeling, it’s not for you. It’s not a bad thing if you handle it well.”
Continuing the team’s MAC championship streak is another source of motivating pressure for the team.
“I don’t think it’s a bad pressure,” Nielsen said. “Whenever you have a winning streak, you just have to go and play your game. The coaches’ big thing is attitude and preparation. If you have a good attitude and you’ve prepared yourself, then you just have to go and do it.”
When not competing, the team practices either at an indoor practice facility or an outdoor golf course.
“You’ve got to love the practice and the grind,” Robertson said. “All great players love the process as much as the tournaments, and these girls work hard.”
The players also value the hard work and passion their coaches espouse.
“I’ve never been the person who goes for material things more than what feels right,” sophomore Michaela Finn said. “It feels right being here. I think it’s important to love where you are, or you won’t do as well.”
Despite the lack of traditional team bonding found in golf tournaments, the players try to build connections with each other.
“We do a lot of bonding outside of practice because it’s an individual sport,” Nielsen said. “We do a lot of team dinners and stuff because we’re all young, and we know we’re gonna be with each other for a while. We try to get to know each other as people, not just athletes.”
The team’s next tournament, the Henssler Financial Intercollegiate hosted by Kennesaw State University, begins March 27.
Erik Svensson is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected]