July 19, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – When Terry Don Phillips came to Clemson in 2002, the Clemson Athletic Director felt one of the sports the university should have already had was women’s golf.
On Monday, the university decided it will have women’s golf from here on out. Phillips, along with Director of Golf Larry Penley, announced plans to field a women’s golf team by the fall of 2013.
Penley will be in charge of starting up the program.
“It will complete our golf program and that is something that I’m very excited about,” the Clemson coach said. “We are not going to be a women’s team and a men’s team, we are going to be one unified golf program at Clemson University.”
Phillips says he and Penley have seriously been discussing a women’s golf program for a little more than a year.
“We have been in conversation with Coach Penley for quite some time regarding how we might be able to put the pieces together, and he has agreed to be our director of golf and have oversight over the women’s program,” Phillips said. “We are excited about it. We know it is going to be a great addition to our sports mix.
“Our men’s program is one of the great programs in America and we are very proud of it.”
The women’s program will be housed at the facility at the Walker Course, which is the men’s facility right now. The men will have a new state of the art clubhouse opening up by the driving range area this coming year which is located down from the rowing team’s boat house.
Phillips says the old clubhouse will be refurbished to accommodate the women’s team. “We will take that facility and make it first class, and an excellent facility for our women’s team,” he said. “The Walker Course is an excellent course for women’s golf.”
With women’s golf now officially designated as a university sponsored sport, Penley’s first job as the golf director is to find a head coach. He said he will begin his search in earnest.
“We are going after the best coach available,” he said. “I’m sure it will be a person with head coaching experience. We are going to be flooded with résumés, I’m sure, so we will have to go through that process, but we will be selecting the best person available.”
Penley says he will start recruiting some girls for the program as early as tomorrow when he goes to The Blade junior golfer tournament, which is held at the Thornblade Country Club in Greenville.
“I don’t mind recruiting the girls right now, but that will be (the new coach’s) job,” Penley said. “That’s why we need to get that done so they can start the recruiting process and start getting girls in for unofficial visits, and maybe start setting up some official visits for when school starts.”
Whoever the new coach is they will have a strong talent pool from which to choose from. South Carolina is known for its beautiful golf courses and rich talent pool of both male and female players. As a matter of fact, the defending National Champion, Austin Ernst of LSU, is from nearby Seneca High School.
“I think it will be a very easy transition,” Penley said. “The recruiting base is exactly like the guys. We are going to try and get the best players in the State of South Carolina. If we have to venture out in the Southeast and we have to go into North Carolina or Georgia, we will.
“But, we need to own the State of South Carolina, and we will.”
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