LaGrange College set to start women’s golf program in the fall

Published 9:15 am Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Excitement is brewing at LaGrange College as the inaugural women’s golf team is almost ready to take to the courses. It has been a long time coming with head golf coach Shannon Lipham and athletic director Terlynn Olds plotting this move since the former first took over the position heading into the 2021-22 season.

“We’re starting women’s golf this fall and we are real excited about it,” said Shannon Lipham, Lagrange College’s golf coach. “I’ve got four girls committed right now. Obviously, we are looking for a couple more and working on that as we speak. We have one international coming in. Got a girl from Florida and two from Georgia.

“One of the very first questions our athletic director asked me when she hired me is, why don’t we have women’s golf?”

The men’s golf program has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years, it has regularly been one of the top programs in Division III. The plan for the women’s program is the same, although Lipham understands it will take some time to reach those lofty standards.

“It’s gonna take us a year or two, to be truly competitive, but there is no doubt in my mind that we can,” Lipham said. “Just like men’s golf, women’s golf in the south is the best.”

Lipham is already pounding the ground and shaking the earth to uncover hidden gems that want to be a part of something new. Just how many women he does end up having on the inaugural team remains to be seen, but Lipham plans to field a competitive lineup.

“My goal is to go out and be able to compete, take these young women on the road, playing some really nice golf courses, represent the school, and that’s kind of going to be my focus right off the bat,” Lipham said. “Just competing, and representing this college like it should be. That’s kind of where we’re gonna start.” 

The women’s program will be run in the same way as the men’s, but they will face different opposition than their male counterparts. LaGrange College will be just the fifth school in the College Conference of the South to field a women’s golf team which means that the Panthers will be competing in the USA South Conference like the football and lacrosse teams. 

“So we’re actually going to be in we’re an associate member of the USA South, like Football and Lacrosse, so I will actually have a unique distinction of coaching in two different conferences,” Lipham said with a chuckle. “The guys are in CCS, and women, are going to be in USA South. I think there are nine or 10 women’s golf programs in that conference and it’s very competitive. Methodist University has either 13 or 14 National Championships and year in and year out are one of the very best programs in the country.”

It all gets started in August when the women will arrive on campus. It will be off and running from there as golf has a fall and spring season.

“This first year, it’s establishing a baseline, getting some women here that want to compete in just building on that,” Lipham said.