Nicole Bauthier PO ’14 never played golf before she teed up for the P-P women’s team. She was friends with Lauren, Allison and Stephanie Boden, PO ’14, triplets from Atlanta, GA. They convinced her to join the team. With Ester Ha PZ ’14 also competing, PPWG was able to field a varsity team for the first time.
“The girls were great and really helped me get through the learning curve,” Bauthier said. “We played on old PGA courses right off the bat, so it was a kind of trial by fire.”
The first-year team had growing pains, too. Lauren Boden suffered a concussion and was sidelined for the majority of the season, returning only for the SCIAC championships, held at the Diamond Valley Golf Club.
“Coach [Bernard] Walker was so helpful and upbeat,” Bauthier said. “He would joke with us and keep reminding the team we were rebuilding.”
Building a team from the ground up is a difficult when the squad only has one alternate, making the margin for error quite slim.
“When Lauren got injured, I was our fourth player, and only four members make up the team score,” Bauthier said. “It’s like learning to play basketball while starting the first game of the season.”
The team finished last at the SCIAC Golf Championship, but with Boden and other players returning from injury, the team’s quintet of sophomores is already planning for the future.
“We beat Occidental, once officially at San Dimas Canyon. We won because they’re also a thin team that battled injuries,” Bauthier said. “But when you substitute in their best marks on that course, we still would have won by three strokes.”
The moment was a confidence builder. In Bauthier’s estimation, it sent a clear message: “We can beat you.”
The team has been working on parts of their game other than stroke mechanics.
“We’ve been recruiting heavily and, with the addition of several freshmen players, we expect to field an even stronger team next year,” Bauthier said.
With other former team members returning from time abroad, the load will be easier to shoulder.
“We won’t have to be wondering if we can field a team,” Bauthier said. “It’ll be fun to see the competition and who ends up in our top four squad.”
If pure athletic talent counts for anything, Bauthier’s improvement alongside her teammates’, may presage great potential for women’s golf at Pomona.
All three of the Bodens are two-sport athletes, competing for Sagehen softball, Allison also played for the basketball team as a first-year and Bauthier is a defensive specialist for Sagehen volleyball. The only player on the team who spends all their attention of Golf is Ha, and she was an All-State runner-up and multiple time All-County selection during high school in her native Connecticut.