New woman in charge: Kelsea Platt takes over as LaGrange girls and Gardner Newman head golf coach

Published 5:24 pm Friday, June 2, 2023

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There is a new woman in charge. 

Kelsea Platt will be leading the girls golf team at LaGrange High as well as the golf program at Gardner Newman Middle School, where she works as a teacher. 

“I’m really excited to take over at LaGrange and as the head coach of Gardner Newman golf,” Platt said. “At Gardner Newman this is just our second year as a program, so I’m excited to see what we can do in the fall.”

With Gardner Newman going into its second year as a program, Platt has been on the recruiting trail and believes she has generated more interest amongst the Mustangs and will field a strong boys and girls team next season.

Not a lifelong golfer, Platt picked it up around five years ago and really fell in love with the sport. Platt had progressed over the last several years and always felt like she could be a good coach, starting out as the assistant coach with Gardner Newman and LaGrange girls for the 2022-23 season.

“A few years ago this was never where I thought I would be, but I love it,” Platt said. “I knew when I got into teaching that I wanted to be a coach.”

Platt, who cheered at LaGrange High before graduating in 2012, is also the assistant cheer coach at her alma mater. This is a true full circle moment for Platt as she made a career change a year ago and has not looked back.

“I used to work in marketing and management, so this was actually my first year teaching,” Platt said. “I was helping with cheer and I thought about how much I love golf and would love a chance to coach it and it just happened by chance that they needed some help with the golf teams at Gardner Newman with them starting a team.”

With her coaching career having just begun she did not expect to get called upon to be the head coach of both programs, but leaped on the opportunity to lead these young girls and boys. To have the full backing of LaGrange High boys golf coach Ben Thrasher and former girls head coach Solomon Whitfield — who is transitioning to a role with the boys team — meant the world to her. 

“I really did not expect them to think of me as a head coach for these teams, but any opportunity given is not one to be wasted,” Platt said. “[Athletic Director Mike] Pauley talked with me and felt like I was the right fit for the job and I’ve known him since before I went to LaGrange, so for him to think of me as the right fit for this role made me very grateful.”

At the middle school level she is trying to build up the confidence and skill set of young girls and boys so that they can help the Grangers compete when they get to the next level. It is less about winning competitions and more about making improvements.

Platt is inheriting a high school girls team that finished 12th in state and is losing just one senior — Caroline Kersey. Her plan is to work with the girls even more extensively this offseason so that they can crack the top 10 in AAAA next season.

“We have a lot of young talent and we only had one girl that came back for last season, so we had a lot of girls that hadn’t played in some years or were new to golf,” Platt said. “They have a lot of room to grow and I’m planning to work with them this summer.”

The girls team at LaGrange has had a rotating roster of coaches and players the last few years, but Platt wants to build a steady program, getting girls into the sport at Gardner Newman and then building them up to be Grangers. She knows it will not be easy, but the prospect of building a program and not just a team was one of the most enticing factors of taking the dual roles.

Platt will be on the course nearly year around nowadays. With the middle school season in the fall, the high school season in the spring and the work she does with the players in the summer means she rarely is away from the fairways and greens for long, especially taking into account when she plays as well. This might be daunting for some, but Platt is bursting at the seams with excitement as she gets to help lead the LaGrange-Gardner Newman golf program into the future.

“I do a lot of coaching, but I love it,” Platt said. “I love new opportunities like this and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for me.”