The women’s golf team has a full roster for the first time in three years.
“This is a good start. We look to bring in more girls in the future to play the greatest game known to man,” said head coach Rory Suomi.
For the past two years the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point needed an exemption to play. A full team consists of five golfers with the top four scores contributing toward the team total. UWSP played with only four golfers until this year.
The team wants to expand and grow. Suomi was hired in late May with his assistant coach Katie Kreuser and left without time to recruit golfers.
“These girls came to Point and happened to play golf,” Suomi said. “Most of them are still learning how to compete at the collegiate level.”
Senior Maggie Martin joined the team this year to try something new and fun. Martin was a thrower on the women’s track and field team throughout her entire college career.
“It turned out to be a great choice and I am really having a good time,” Martin said. “I am not experienced in competitive golf, but I have been playing for most of my life.”
For some golfers, competition play is a new thing entirely.
“You’re thrown into a sport you’ve never played before and you have 50 to 100 people watching you tee off,” Suomi said. “That’s not easy.”
The team consists of three freshmen, a senior, and a sophomore, the only returner, Tiffany Boak.
“I’m more relaxed this year,” Boak said. “Last year I was high strung and nervous. Now I make sure I am setting a good example for the rest of the team.”
Suomi sees this year as a building year, so the golfers can get their feet wet.
“We’re a very young team. I try not to put numbers on the score,” Suomi said. “I want to see our girls get better.”
With such a small group of girls, it is tough to put numbers on anything, including goals.
“I just want to keep having a good time and making sure I keep improving,” Martin said.
“We definitely had our ups and downs, but there has been a lot of success,” Martin said. “I can say that I have seen improvement in my own personal abilities.”
Golf is a big time commitment because practices easily last five hours and competitions sometimes take twelve hours.
“They practice hard, and I’m happy with their attitude,” Suomi said.
The toughest teams the golf team faces are UW-Oshkosh, UW-Whitewater, UW-Eau Claire, and UW-Stout.
“I think we’re capable of beating any one of them if we all have our good days at one time,” said freshman Shania Steen.
One of the biggest struggles the team faced this year was to have a competition where everyone excelled on the same day. Steen considered this when she stated her goal for the team.
“I really want our team to come together and have a good day,” Steen said. “Usually when someone has a good day someone else doesn’t.”
Boak has more personal experience under her belt that has helped her create a specific goal for the Pointers.
“Usually I have a good nine and a bad nine,” Boak said. “It’s a work in progress, but I want to make that split shorter.”
Starting Oct. 3, the Pointers head into the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships at Lake Arrowhead Golf Course in Nekoosa, Wis.
Martin has a conference goal in mind.
“I want to see our team as a success, personally and collectively,” Martin said.
“It’s a tough conference,” Suomi said. “If we play up to our potential, realistically, we could come in fifth.”
That is one place higher than the Pointers ended the conference meet last year.
“I want to be right in the middle there,” Steen said. “Fifth is perfect.”