Green Hope graduate is ready to tee it up

Cary golfer will get back into the game with Barton College's new program

Staff WriterJune 27, 2011 

The next competitive round of golf that Lindsey Snyder plays will be her first.

If all goes as planned, the recent Green Hope graduate, who has barely touched a golf club in about four years, will soon play as a member of Barton College's women's golf team.

Barton is starting a women's golf program this fall, and coach John Hackney is looking for players. Snyder used to play occasionally with her father, a PGA apprentice pro at the Governor's Club, but aside from an annual Mother's Day round with her mother and sister, she hadn't played regularly in years.

Snyder already had been admitted to Barton when she learned the golf program needed golfers, so she called Hackney.

"I figured down the road it might be a way to get some financial aid," she said.

Snyder was scheduled earlier this spring to go to the Wilson campus to try out for the school chorus, and Hackney suggested she swing by the Wilson Country Club driving range and hit a few balls before going home. She prepared by dusting off her clubs and belting a few on the driving range at Knights Play Golf Center near Apex, which has a par-3 course.

On the big day in Wilson, Snyder, a soprano, sang a rendition of "Let Everything That Has Breath" for the chorus group and headed out to the tee. After she hit ball after ball, Hackney told her that it didn't seem to matter how she hit the ball, it always went straight. And, of course, he would love to have her on the team.

'She has potential'

"I'm looking for girls who have some ability and want to work to get better," said Hackney, who has helped the men's team to 12 straight NCAA Division II regional tournaments and whose teams have been ranked in the Division II top 25 in nine of the past 11 seasons. "Lindsey's situation is unusual, but she has potential."

His first team will be a mix of experienced youth players and other young women, like Snyder, who are still learning.

"If they have some ability and they are willing to learn and to work, they can be pretty good in a couple of years," Hackney said. "We've got four girls so far and want to have 10."

Women's golf is one of four sports that have been added in the last two years at Barton, a liberal arts college with about 950 full-time students. The Bulldogs have a rich athletic history and won the NCAA Division II basketball championship in 2007.

Barton is a member of the 13-school Conference Carolinas, and all of the new sports - men's and women's track, men's volleyball and women's golf - are league sports.

"Women's golf is a natural for us," said Dr. Norval Kenten, Barton's president. "We are always interested in attracting qualified students such as Lindsey, and this sport is a part of Conference Carolinas. ... Barton College is always looking for ways to expand women's sports on its campus."

Timing was right

Barton's full-time enrollment is about two-thirds female. Gary Hall, the school's athletics director, said the school had studied adding women's golf 10 years ago, but the timing wasn't right. Hall said Title IX, which requires schools to give equal opportunities to males and females, was a consideration in adding women's golf.

"If we were going to add men's volleyball, we needed to add a women's sport, too," Hall said.

The school will share the equivalent of two full scholarships among its female golfers.

Snyder is receiving financial aid from the school, but no athletic financial aid.

"I had played golf with my father because he enjoyed it, and I wanted to make him happy," she said. "He and my grandpa really love golf. Golf was a way for us to spend time together.

"I started playing softball in middle school and thought about going out for golf or softball, but I didn't know what to expect in school, so I didn't try out for either."

The idea of playing golf in college had never been a consideration until she saw the notice that the school was adding women's golf next year. She is still getting used to the idea.

"This isn't what I thought my college experience would be," she said. "I was looking forward to all these new experiences. But when I really look at it, playing a lot of golf will be a new experience for me."

tim.stevens@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8910

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