Tee Time is Fast Approaching for the Rams Newest Golf Team
The Suffolk University Athletics department made the decision last year to add six new sports, including a Women’s Golf team that will be taking the green for the first time Sunday. They are set to play against Rhode Island College at the Valley Country Club in Warwick, RI. The golf team had originally been scheduled to start its season Friday, September 30th versus Westfield State, but due to course conditions the game had to be postponed.
Jay Parker accepted the women’s golf coaching position over the summer after Athletic Director Cary McConnell approached him about the possibility of the sport being added to the range of other sports Suffolk has to offer. According to Coach Parker his passion for golf and his love for coaching at Suffolk made it an easy choice when the offer was presented to him.
Coach Parker has a very long background with golf. His interest started when he became a caddy at a country club in Brookline around the age of 12 or 13 and taught the game to newcomers. Throughout college however, Coach Parker would concentrate more so on football and lacrosse as he played both sports while he attended Bridgewater State College. His passion for golf would be reignited when his parents bought him a used set of golf clubs as a graduation gift.
Coach Parker would go on to coach baseball at the high school level for 12 seasons and then at Suffolk for 19 seasons.
When asked about how the transition from coaching baseball to golf in an interview with the Suffolk Voice Coach Parker responded, “The transition has been great actually, different athletes as opposed to men and women. Different now that I’m the head coach as opposed to the assistant coach, all the decisions come down to me. That’s the main difference.”
Not everything has been easy for the new head coach as he only has five players on the team. Out of those five players, one is a graduate student who has mostly night classes that conflict with practice times. Two others are involved with other sports on campus which also interfere with their practice time on the golf team. There are only two players total who can consistently show up to practices. Coach Parker explained how this hinders their ability to be prepared for this weekend’s competition, “it makes it hard for us because of the fact that Aine and Kailee are our only two full time players, so they work hard. The other three golfers, I have no idea where their games are. We really haven’t worked with them.”
As for the two “full-time” golfers, Kailee Santos and Aine Dillon, they find being part of a smaller team also has its advantages. Kailee Santos explained some of these advantages, “Being a small team really gives a lot of intimacy and a lot of one-on-one time to hone in on our skills.”
Santos, a sophomore, hasn’t had much experience playing golf other than learning the game at a golf school in fifth grade and then later playing on her high school’s golf team during her senior year. Despite her lack of experience she was still very intrigued about joining the team when she saw the flyer at the 20 Somerset building last year. She said she snapchatted the flyer to her friends who further pushed her to join the team.
As for Dillon, a freshman, she has had much more experience on the green as her interest in golf sparked when she was six. Dillon reminisced about some of her first experiences playing golf, “I grew up really close to a golf course. I remember sneaking on at night time and playing with plastic golf clubs and plastic golf balls.” She also went on to explain how excited she felt that one of the inner city universities she was looking at incorporating women’s golf, “I was so excited cause I played all through high school and I really wanted to play in college… I started practicing that day”
Due to NCAA rules both players, if they qualify, will be able to play in the NCAA tournament individually, but the Suffolk University Women’s Golf team as a whole won’t be able to qualify this season.