The Fullerton College women’s golf team is off to a hot start in their second season under head coach Debi Woelke. Woelke previously spent 15 years as the FC women’s basketball team, and made the playoffs in 14 of those years.
Woelke has decided to take a more stress-free route after spending so much time in the high-stress environment that is college basketball.
“I am not going to say that it is easy,” said Woelke. “But the stress is a lot less. In basketball it is constant movement and yelling and just gets kind of crazy.”
Her basketball days have proven to pay off heavily so far in golf. Woelke has completely revitalized the way that the staff recruits girls. She has brought her relentless recruiting practices to a sport where recruiting is usually not as persistent.
“With basketball, you have to be in a high school gym at least two or three times a week,” Woelke said. “I make sure we are at golf tournaments, even during their school offseason, we are there to get a leg up.”
Many of the girls responded really well and it shows. Seven of the eight girls on the roster are freshman. The team has aleady seen success and the first team that was fully recruited by Woelke will not happen until next season.
“Coach Woelke was the only coach who showed up to watch me play multiple times in high school,” said freshman Tiffany Kohyama. “She would even contact me once a month just to see how my game was doing. It really put me at ease.”
The only sophomore on the team, Paulina Dejamco, was not actually recruited by Woelke but is still benefiting from her coaching.
“Woelke has helped me so much this year,” said Dejamco. “She does so much to get us ready on the course, and also helps us prepare off the course.”
Dejamco has had the lowest score for the Hornets on two seperate occasions this year.
As a team, the Hornets are having a great year. They have yet to finish below fourth place, and have tallied a second place finish in each of the last four tournaments.
Each of those were won by the top ranked Palomar Comets. Even though they are in the same conference, many believe that these two will make up the match up in the state finals.
“Palomar is number one and I feel that we are a clear number two,” Woelke said. “On September 18, at Diamond Bar, we only lost to them by three strokes.”
Three strokes is a number that Woelke feels the team can easily fix and get over the top.
“I ask my girls after every match if they had one stroke that they would have done differently,” Woelke said. “They always respond and say that they have multiple that they could have done differently. If each of them could take back one stroke from that day, we would have won by three strokes.”
Palomar has proven to be the better team so far this season, but the Hornets know that they only have to beat them once to get a chance to hoist the trophy at the end of the year.
“The state tournament is made up of two teams from the North and two teams from the South,” Woelke said. “As of now, it looks like it will be us and Palomar in the South, so if we both beat our Northern California opponents, we would match up in the finals.”
The Hornets know that their key is to not get frustrated when they see that they keep finishing in second behind Palomar. Instead, they want to use it as motivation, to want it that much more.
“I know we are close to beating them,” Dejamco said. “They are a good team, but if we clean up our game and get to where we can be, I know we can beat them.”
The players all believe in Woelke’s mentality that they just need to cut off a few strokes.
“All we need to do to beat Palomar is to cut out a few bad swings,” Kohyama said. “That will come naturally over time with added confidence. Coach always says that our confidence will be built in practice. ”