Finding new ways to hit the links, members of the women’s golf team are still playing the sport they love while trying to maintain a connection as a team.
“We’re really fortunate that golf is a relatively socially distant sport,” said captain Haley Baldwin ’22 in a phone interview with the Orient. “Some of the upperclassmen on our team have been living nearby Brunswick and in Maine, so we’ve gotten together, and we’ve been able to go out and golf a few times.”
Even though the team has been unable to meet fully in-person this fall, the sense of team camaraderie is still present.
“We’re able to do team Zooms and interact with our coach through that. I think that’s also really helpful in keeping the team a little closer together through everything,” said Baldwin. “It’s nice to be able to talk through golf and then also any academic issues or concerns. So there’s a really good support system overall within our team.”
Head Coach Stuart Cady understands that his players have a lot more than golf to worry about right now.
“The whole world is struggling, but it is important to prioritize [mental and physical health],” said Cady in a phone interview with the Orient. “I’ve been telling [my players] to get outside, whether you’re just walking and kicking leaves or just to go look at some water, it’s important for everyone to take care of their mental and physical health.”
One positive, however, is that Cady is able to train in person with the one first-year member of the team who is currently living on campus.
“She and I have been playing four or five times a week,” Cady said. “[We’ve been] working on her game—which is great. So, it’s good to get to know her, spend some time [with her].”
Cady has been using teamwide Zoom calls not only to catch up with his players but also to participate in the athletic department’s Real Talk on Race initiative.
The program, which consists of a series of conversations as well as a team-wide action plan, has connected the women’s golf team in more ways than one.
“Some of the athletic department’s initiatives that they’ve been doing this fall have been really helpful in terms of keeping the team together, in respect to team culture,” Baldwin said. “I think those have also been good to maintain an inclusive environment among teams.”
Unfortunately, the team has not had the space to grow as tightly knit as they have in previous years.
“Usually, they’re playing golf every day and traveling—which is where you really form the connections,” Cady said. “That’s two-and-a-half hours a day of bonding that they didn’t have to start this year—which is unfortunate. It’s less than ideal, but yet again, it is what it is.”
“It is what it is” seems to be the apothegm of the year for the team, but Cady’s mindset sets an optimistic tone for the team.
“[Coach Cady] is really great and he’s always checking in with us,” said Baldwin. “[He asks] us, ‘Oh do you guys have a lot of work these weeks’…and encourages all of us to take a little time and to get out [of the house] and golf if we can.”
However, Cady makes note that it is healthy to embrace all feelings—including sadness—as well.
“The situation is not ideal, but it’s not ideal for anybody,” Cady said. “So, we’re still allowed to feel sadness and anger. But it is what it is. Make the best of it and dominate [it].”