The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Lafayette’s lone female golfer

Junior Grace Sanborn poses with one of her clubs. (Photo courtesy of GoLeopards)

Junior Grace Sanborn has played golf for as long as she can remember, constantly going out to the range with her dad throughout the summer. Now, she is an NCAA Division I athlete, and the only woman on Lafayette’s team. 

“I did a lot of sports growing up. I did competitive soccer for a really long time, and that was kind of what I considered my main sport for a long time,” Sanborn said. “And it wasn’t until I got to high school, and I was kind of burned out with everything else that I realized that golf was the one thing that I had that I really still loved.”

Before Sanborn began studying at Lafayette, she was already in contact with Jim Hutnik, the head golf coach. She tried out for the team in October, originally having to play from the back men’s tees. However, Sanborn was promptly told by Mike Chamberlain, the senior associate athletic director, that the rules for her joining the group would be different due to it being a men’s team.

“I can’t represent Lafayette in any competition, so I’m technically playing as an unaffiliated individual, which happens more with track than it does with golf,” Sanborn said. “But because golf is an individual sport, he said he thought there was enough precedent there to do that.”

Unlike the men, Sanborn cannot play in team tournaments and she is responsible for financing her own tournament fees. She must also find her own women’s competitions to compete in. However, this doesn’t seem to affect Sanborn much.

“One of the great things about golf is that it is an individual sport, and so I don’t necessarily need to have a team in order to play,” Sanborn said. “I’ve gotten used to that rhythm of sometimes playing with them, but sometimes it’s in my own world, and that’s okay.”

Sanborn still practices with the rest of the team every day and keeps up with the men’s conditioning. 

“She is a very solid player. She’s very good off the tee, and has a decent long iron,” Hutnik said. “She actually won as an individual, she’s very competitive. She comes out and she puts in her time with the rest of the team.”

While Sanborn noted some tension from her fellow teammates in the beginning, many of them have been supportive of her inclusion with the group. 

“It was a hard transition for everyone when I first started, and they didn’t really know what was going on,” Sanborn said. “There were definitely people that weren’t really happy I was there. But there are also people … that are super supportive of me.”

Looking forward, Sanborn is hoping to get a top-ten placement at a Division I tournament. She has already won two Division III tournaments – one at Kutztown and one at Muhlenberg.

“Even though it’s unspoken, I do feel like I have to prove my worth to the team. And I feel like even though I have won a couple of [Division III] tournaments since starting here, I feel like doing that for [Division I] would mean all that much more,” Sanborn said. 

Overall, Sanborn is grateful that the program was able to get her involved, and that she can do what she enjoys. 

“I’m really glad that they at least listened to me and allowed me to have this opportunity because I love playing golf competitively,” Sanborn said. “Even though it’s not necessarily what I thought it was gonna be going in, I’m still really grateful that I get to do it every single day.”

Disclaimer: Assistant Sports Editor Grace Sanborn did not contribute writing or reporting.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Emma Chen
Emma Chen, Managing Editor
Emma has very strong opinions about crust, has never eaten a blueberry, and is a staunch hater of AP style.

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *