Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Women Start Play On Links Next Fall

Head Coach Leland Beckel is not the only person excited about next fall’s tee-off for the Georgetown University women’s golf program. Women’s golf was among the top requested programs when the university asked students which sports they would like to see added by the athletic department.

Beckel, a professional golfer from Bethesda, Md., was Georgetown’s top choice as head coach for the brand new program. After the search conducted by the athletic department for the position, Beckel shone through the competition with her years of experience on both the collegiate and professional levels. She also came highly recommended from several sources, according to Assistant Athletic Director Adam Brick.

Beckel has many ties to the area, as well as being a Bethesda resident, she is a graduate of the University of Virginia. The athletic department has been singing her praises, saying her upbeat personality coupled with her knowledge and experience make her a perfect fit for this position.

“She is really willing to embrace the challenges of a new program,” Brick said.

Some of Beckel’s many achievements include appearances in the Futures Tour in 1991 and 1992, vice president of the golf company DIVOT, Inc., since 1993, membership on the victorious 2000 Curtis Cup team and a ranking of No. 3 in the nation in the 1999 Golfweek/Titleist National Amateur Rankings. Beckel said she would continue to compete throughout the course of her coaching career but not to the extent that she has in the past. Most of her efforts in the future will be dedicated to the program here as well as her 7-year-old and 5-year-old children.

Above all, Beckel expressed wholehearted enthusiasm for the new program at Georgetown. She said there has been tremendous interest among incoming students, and high levels of participation will be key to team’s success. Once the word was spread among campus, some interest was expressed among current students as well.

The pre-registration survey included questions about athletics and the results revealed extensive interest in women’s golf and softball, two sports not offered on the varsity level at Georgetown until now. The university will offer varsity softball for fall 2003.

National trends also show an increase in women’s golf programs and many girls coming out of golf programs in high school are becoming increasingly interested in playing on the collegiate level, Beckel said.

“Women’s golf has been explosive in the U.S., and so many colleges are starting new teams, it was the next right thing for Georgetown to do,” she said.

The university felt the combination of interest in golf and softball as well as their obligation under Title IX, the statute stating that colleges and universities must give equal support to men’s and women’s sports, presented the perfect opportunity to create these two new teams, Brick said.

The women’s golf team is not fully off the ground yet, though several prospective members of the team have had a few meetings and they will meet again next week, Beckel said. She said she is still looking for more prospective members, and that interested students should call her office.

They will begin practice in fall 2001 and will practice at various clubs and public practice facilities in the area. Many facilities have been very generous about making their courses available to Georgetown at least once a week or once every 10 days, Beckel said. She said the team hopes to travel to several different courses for practice throughout the season.

The program will have scholarships available, but it is not a fully funded program. Beckel has been working hard to raise funds for traveling, equipment and scholarships. Alumni have been generous so far, and Beckel and the athletic department are looking forward to continued support in the future. She said only six girls are necessary to have a legitimate traveling team, so even with eight girls the expenses should not be unmanageable.

The team has a challenging schedule planned for the fall, and both the coach and the athletic department are looking forward to a successful season. The team will play teams from the Ivy League, the Big East and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Big East schools do not yet have enough women’s golf programs to become their own league. They need one more team to form their own league of competition. Following the trend that Georgetown has recently picked up on, the founding of another Big East team in the next few years seems likely.

So far the team has not encountered any obstacles that they have not been able to handle, Beckel said. Since conception, the program has had nothing but support from the administration, adding to the enthusiasm and anticipation of the coach and the athletic department. Beckel said she thinks Georgetown is just as excited as she is about this new program and that she cannot wait for the fall.

“Both myself and Georgetown are excited about this. We have great recruits and a great schedule and we are looking forward to being as successful as possible as quickly as possible,” Beckel said.

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