Converse College announces the addition of a golf program to the college’s roster of NCAA Division II sports. The program will be led by former LPGA golf professional Sara Anne McGetrick, who joins the Valkyries as head golf coach this summer. The inaugural team will begin competing in fall 2012.
“As a renowned golfer and teacher of the game who is also a native of Spartanburg, Sara Anne is well positioned to build a winning team for Converse,” said Director of Athletics Joy Couch. “She will recruit the inaugural class over the course of the 2011-2012 academic year, and the team will hit the ground running with the fall 2012 season.”
Building on the momentum of successful swimming, lacrosse and equestrian programs that were recently added at Converse, Couch sees women’s golf as an ideal fit for further expansion. “Women’s golf is a growing lifelong sport. Conference Carolinas has 11 other members with teams, and the conference championship winner automatically qualifies to play in the NCAA national tournament,” she said. “Converse prioritizes balancing athletic achievement with academic achievement and a well-rounded student life experience. Golf is a sport that fits well with that philosophy. And with several quality golf clubs in our area, golf also gives Converse an opportunity to partner with our community – which is something Converse values greatly.”
“As a renowned golfer and teacher of the game who is also a native of Spartanburg, Sara Anne is well positioned to build a winning team for Converse,”
Converse will launch the golf team with six student-athletes in 2012, and expand to a team of 12 the following year.
Sara Anne McGetrick comes to Converse after serving for a year as head women’s golf coach at Valor Christian High School in Highlands Ranch, CO and teaching golf professionally in the area for 20 years.
McGetrick attended Spartanburg High School as a prep, where she played on the boy’s golf team because the school did not sponsor girl’s golf at the time. She went on to play for Furman University under legendary coach Mic Potter, a 1994 National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame inductee who currently leads the women’s golf team at the University of Alabama. While playing for the Paladins, McGetrick won two individual tournaments, and helped her team qualify for the Division I NCAA National Championships in all of her four seasons, highlighted by a 3rd place finish in 1984.
After earning a BA in Sports Management from Furman in 1985, McGetrick turned pro and played on the LPGA tour from 1986-1992. During her time on the tour, she garnered a top three finish in two different events including a 2nd place finish at the 1989 Hawaiian Ladies Open.
“I am very excited and grateful to have the opportunity to return to Spartanburg and build a golf program at Converse,” McGetrick stated. “Converse has an incredible reputation academically and a very exciting athletic program that continues to grow exponentially. With such a great golfing environment in Spartanburg, a golf team at Converse will be a great fit, and I feel confident that we can build a top notch program.”
Converse will become the 12th Conference Carolinas member to sponsor women’s golf, joining Barton College, Belmont Abbey College, Coker College, Erskine College, King College, Limestone College, Mount Olive College, North Greenville University, Pfeiffer University, Queens University of Charlotte, and St. Andrews Presbyterian College. The addition of golf will give Converse nine total varsity sports, eight of which compete at the NCAA Division II level.
Converse has made steady progress towards its goal of building a winning athletics program since gaining full membership in Conference Carolinas in 2007. In 2009, lacrosse and swimming were added to the roster of sports. Both teams made significant national accomplishments in their first three seasons, with the swim team taking 4th in the conference championship and garnering Converse’s first Honorable All-American this spring. In 2010, an IHSA-affiliated equestrian team was added to the roster.
“The tremendous momentum built over the past few years has attracted the attention of many talented student-athletes,” said Converse President Betsy Fleming. “These women are looking to Converse as a college where they can compete on a high level while also excelling in academics and enjoying a vibrant student life.”