Team chemistry is a key element of success in women's golf

Team chemistry is a key element of success in women’s golf

Talent may take you far, but there are other intangibles that have helped the South Carolina women’s golf team earn a national top five and its 23rd.rd consecutive place in the NCAA tournament. Trainer Kalen AndersonThe roster of six student-athletes from five different countries this year boasts four newcomers, including two freshmen, and the harmony and team chemistry that has been built is another key ingredient in the team’s success.

“It’s important,” said Anderson, who has his team ranked 3rd nationwide ahead of next week’s NCAA Regional in Tallahassee, Florida. “It’s the culture we have. We all have the same goals. We all come from many different places and have different backgrounds, but they all have the same goals, values ​​and principles. Everyone wants to work hard, pursue it and win championships. We all learn from each other. others and the way we do things differently. great time.

“We want to work hard and chase him, but at the same time we have fun competing, and it has been a really important part of this year. It started the first time we won at the Annika (Intercollegiate Tournament). We have a lot of fun competing. We enjoy training. We try to keep that element of enjoying the game and having fun. “

With graduate student Tai Anudit (Thailand), junior Matilde Claisse (France), freshman Hanna dear (Scotland), junior Justine Fournand (France), second year Paola Kirner (Germany) and matriculation Louise Rydqvist (Sweden), the Gamecocks have created a nice melting pot.

“We all come from a different part of the world and we all come here, learning a new culture and learning each other’s culture,” said Claisse. “It’s a nice mix and we’ve created our culture and identity as a team. We definitely have a lot of fun here. We’re all different. Some of us have more energy than others. It gives us a good balance.”

“We couldn’t be stronger with how well we bonded,” said Darling. “It’s funny how six individuals can meet and have such a good understanding. We have a lot of fun together. We always laugh and make jokes. When we travel, you can really see how well connected we are. When we are on the path, we say goodbye and try to exalt our teammates “.

“It was fun and we hang out a lot,” said Anudit. “We did a lot of team bonding, having dinner or lunch at Dodie (Academic Enrichment Center). We talked a lot. On the golf course, you can tell if your teammates are playing well by their body language. each other with our body language. At the end of the green, we say goodbye and we will try to give each other energy to keep fighting. The coaches have helped a lot, especially mentally.

“I learned a lot from my teammates, especially in match play. They all come from Europe and play a lot of match play in Europe. I’m from Thailand in Asia and we play a lot of stroke play. The mentality is different. The way you act. on the golf course it’s different. I learned a lot of useful tricks from them. ”

“We are a family. The coaches have not only helped me on the golf course, but they have made me grow as a human being. It’s something I’m very grateful for.”
Matilde Claisse

After being ranked number one nationwide for much of last season, Anderson’s Gamecocks graduated three seniors last year and also saw the second year All-American Pauline Roussin-Bouchard turning pro soon which led her to do the LPGA tour. While it would have been easy to call this season a rebuilding year, these Gamecocks have adapted well, on and off the pitch, and have won a school record of five tournaments along the way.

“There were a lot of unknowns with two transfers and two freshmen,” Anderson said. “Obviously, we knew we had some firepower, but they did a good job of integrating. They are a very trainable team. I love the culture and dynamics of this team.

Team |  Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic Finale |  Sunday 27 March 2022 |  UGA Golf Course |  Athens, Ga.
“I’m really proud of the way the freshmen took it one step further. Towards the end, it was really our two low-hit averages. Tilly (Claisse) provided solid leadership for us and Tai (Anudit) and Juju ( Quartondo) were excellent for us. From top to bottom, we were really in depth. “

Finding success on and off the golf course isn’t always easy, and there are challenges and benefits to having such a diverse team because they share a lot in common, no matter where they come from.

“Being away from my family is a challenge, but the chemistry here is so good and it helps each of us in that part,” said Claisse. “We are a family. The coaches have not only helped me on the golf course, but they have made me grow as a human being. It’s something I’m very grateful for.”

“Coach Kalen really helped us a lot,” said Darling. “(Assistant coach) Mike (Roters) was great too. They work very well together. With my teammates, we just had a lot of fun together. When we go out, we never talk about our goals with golf.” Our goal is always to have fun and stay with the process. I always want to be as good as possible as a teammate for each of them and try to help them when I can. “

“They are far from home,” Anderson said. “I love all cultures and putting them together. There is a lot to learn from different people and from different places in the world. You have different religions and foods. You are bringing together a lot of people from different backgrounds. It was interesting dynamic to coach. It’s hard to find food they like when they first come here, but they discover it and integrate. They are all sensitive to that. I think it’s great that they all come from different places because they understand them from each other like this. They understand what they are going through there. ‘each other, so it was useful. “

Speaking of food, this is something that can bring the team together.

“We really enjoy cooking,” said Claisse. “From time to time we will cook for others and cook a specialty from our countries. I will make crepes and any kind of cake because the French pastries are quite nice! Tai made some curry, and it was it was very spicy. Paula made the strudel. . It’s about sharing “.

“Curry made with Tilly, and it tasted so good!” Anudit said. “Hannah made a chocolate cake. It was fun. I made dumplings.”

“I really enjoy cooking, but I wouldn’t say it’s typical Scottish food,” said Darling. “I made spaghetti Bolognese. I didn’t make haggis. It’s a kind of food where you just can’t make it. You just have to get it. I don’t see many haggis here.”

Under Anderson, the Gamecocks have won five NCAA regional titles (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017) and have progressed to the NCAA Championships nine times in the past 11 seasons.

South Carolina women’s golf always has high expectations, and Gamecocks 2022 are no different.

“We just want to have fun and enjoy the experience,” said Darling. “If we play like all the other tournaments, everything will be fine.”

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