Yet another college golf program starts…at Embry-Riddle

Recruiting good golfers to a small college in Prescott isn’t like trying to draw them to the University of Arizona.  Particularly when that school in the pines specializes in aeronautical studies.

But that’s Kim Haddow‘s lot in life right now.

Haddow, who was the head golf coach at the UofA from 1982 to 1985, was hired last spring to start a new golf program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The reality of starting up a new program hit home just days ago when the men’s team opened the book on a new sports program by finishing in last place at the Arizona Christian University Fall Golf Kickoff, down the hill in Phoenix.  The fledgling Eagles finished the eight-team event with a score of 696, which was 50 strokes off the seventh-place Eastern Arizona ‘B’ team.

“This is going to be a challenging experience for me,” the new head coach said in a press release shortly after getting the job in March.  That challenge is appearing to be everything she expected.

Indeed, it’s a far cry from the days in Tucson, when she was named the Pac-12 and NCAA Coach of the Year.  During her tenure with the Wildcats, two of her players earned NCAA titles and 15 received All Pac-10 honors.

While at Arizona, and another four years as the head coach at the University of Florida, her teams finished in the Top-10 in seven NCAA tournaments and nine of her teams earned NCAA Championship appearances.

The talent level, of course, is also a long way removed from some of the athletes she has worked with in the past.  That includes some of the top players in the country, perhaps most notably the LPGA’s top-ranked professional, Annika Sorenstam.

She has been an LPGA instructor for the last 30 years, so she certainly has the credentials to be able to make the most of the talent she has.  The men’s team has nine on its roster, while there are just four on the women’s team.

The lone representative from Arizona is Nathan Bardin, a freshman from Wickenburg.

The school itself, which competes at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level, has just six sports programs.  Besides the two golf teams, Embry-Riddle offers volleyball, wrestling, and men’s and women’s soccer teams.

The teams will use Talking Rock, a private golf course in Prescott, as its home course.  And that will be the site of the next outing for the new program, as the school hosts the EARU Co-ed Invitational on Oct. 1.

That gives Haddow and her brand-new program a chance to get some additional practice time in before its unveiling at home.

(Photo: Talking Rock golf course)