After a Patriot League Championship and a trip to the NCAA Regionals tournament, University of Richmond Women’s Golf Head Coach Calle Barlow reflected on her time with the program, her background playing golf and what’s next for the Spiders.
THE COLLEGIAN: The Spider women’s golf team is coming off a Patriot League Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Regionals in Raleigh. Can you first speak to this past season and what it meant to advance to such a national stage?
CALLE BARLOW: It was a really great experience for my team. I have not been able to take a team there since I took on the program in 2019, so for this group of women to first of all, work hard enough to get there and then second of all, get the experience of really competing and knowing that they can compete with the highest level was really, really neat. So, I’m excited for what is to come as they’re just now just cracking the shell on things with our win and then also even just getting to regionals and experience that.
C: And as mentioned, this is the first Patriot League Championship secured during your tenure. After a second place finish last season, did the team feel any motivation to win it all this time around?
CB: Yeah, a bit. We lost by one stroke last year, so that was a little heartbreaking. But they knew it was gonna be at our home course, so that was for sure quite an advantage. They really prepared for it like they prepared last year. Yes, it was at our home golf course, but yeah they just kind of put their head down and that was what their goal was. And you hope you can accomplish your goals, and they clearly did and outran the field, so that was neat to watch as well.
C: You are a three-time All-American and had quite the run as a golfer at the University of Virginia, reaching several NCAA championships as a player. You were then able to work with their program as an assistant coach for five seasons before coming to UR. Do you think it helps in your coaching to have experienced collegiate golf firsthand?
CB: One-hundred percent. It gives me more of a realistic talking point for me to tell the girls that they can compete, since I have seen it at that level. But I do think it has helped in my coaching path and career as I’ve gone up to see […] what successful head coaches do and how they operate and how the team operates. So, I definitely think that that has helped me become the coach that I am today and coach these girls that I get to call my team.
C: Since taking the helm at UR, you’ve coached under some unorthodox circumstances — the pandemic, posing as a challenge for all collegiate sports. What has it been like getting back in the swing of things now that you’re able to have a full season and schedule again?
CB: It’s so nice. It’s a bit of a breath of fresh air because we weren’t able to do it for so long. We weren’t allowed to go places, so we can go south for some of our spring training, which is really nice. So it has posed as a challenge, but I also think this group of women have really grown through it, which I think is the most important part of coaching — is watching these 18 to 22-year-olds step into the real world and teach them how to gauge life into the real world and be better humans. So yeah, I mean that’s what it’s really been and I had a really good group to go through it with.
C: Finally, looking ahead, you’re losing three seniors from your roster who have been with the program since you started. How will the program fill that gap and what do you look forward to come this fall?
CB: Yeah this fall should be great. I have two incoming. Big gap. Obviously I lost two of my starters that played in the championship. So, tried to fill those gaps and I think the two that are coming in are going to. Obviously personality-wise, we will never have those three back, but really excited about who is coming in in the fall and hopefully they’ll show us a good showing and hopefully we’ll be having the same conversation in a year.
Contact sports editor Jimmy James at firstname.lastname@example.org
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