Coming off a strong junior season, Abbie Kaestle ’23 is ready for her final season with the women’s golf team. Kaestle finished last year’s NESCAC qualifiers tied for 23rd overall, the highest on the Polar Bears. However, she contracted Covid-19 during the spring season, forcing her to miss the final match of the year.
While the team did not advance past the NESCAC qualifiers, as last year’s run was heavily impacted by a team injury, Kaestle still believes that the experience paved the way for a successful season this year.
“On a small team like ours, every person matters so much. [The team injury] was definitely sad to see, but I still think we had a great showing,” Kaestle said. “Our three first years are all really great players, and every year just gets better and better. I’m excited for this fall season.”
Kaestle attributes the program’s improvement over the past few years to Head Coach Stu Cady.
“Since my [first] year, our team really has made a lot of strides towards becoming more competitive. My year was the first year of recruits for [Cady] … when [Cady] was hired, he wanted to transform the program into something a little bit more intense and more competitive with the other NESCAC schools and other Division III’s in general. So, it’s been really cool to see the progress we’ve made since then,” Kaestle said.
As one of two seniors on the team this year, Kaestle is excited to take on more of a leadership role.
“I always just think back to my first year and what the seniors acted like and taught us back then. I want to help to create a welcoming environment, and I want to be a resource because there’s so much at Bowdoin that you don’t automatically find out about,” Kaestle said. “I’d love to be a resource to help with managing homework and golf at the same time and any other extracurriculars [first years are] a part of. I just want to be a person they can go to with anything.”
Kaestle, who is from the suburbs of Chicago, began playing golf when she was about six years old. She also played squash growing up but ultimately had to choose between the two sports when entering high school.
Kaestle’s passion for nature, as well as her desire to attend a smaller liberal arts college, is what drove her to look at NESCAC schools, including Bowdoin.
“I found the NESCACs and I was like, ‘Oh, this is cute. New England foliage—that sounds lovely.’ So, I remember I visited Bowdoin right before senior year started, and I was also going through the recruiting process with [Cady], and we instantly hit it off. We have a really great relationship. I met him, and I met some of the women who were sophomores and juniors back [then]. I just completely fell in love with this place. And I wasn’t really expecting to,” Kaestle said.
Four years later, Kaestle is preparing for her final golf season: one she plans on cherishing.
“I would love to just have an amazing last season both in terms of the team dynamics—the relationships I form—and just really enjoying playing golf,” Kaestle said “Because I just think that, after graduation, it’s going to be hard to find time to play 36 holes in a weekend. [I want to be] really grateful for those experiences.”