Interest growing for women’s golf team

Florida A&M University offers an array of collegiate sports for men and women, ranging from football to swimming.

Despite the variety of sports the absence of a women’s golf team on campus is evident.

In fact, there has never been a women’s golf team on ‘The Hill.’

“We need a women’s golf team,” said men’s golf coach Marvin Green. Green says the success of the men’s golf squad merits the addition of a girls’ team. The men’s golf program is more than 50 years old and has been very successful, and Green said by 2008 he would like to see a women’s golf program.

One major problem that has been identified in developing the team is that women’s golf is not sponsored by the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference, the home of Rattler athletics.

“The MEAC doesn’t sponsor men’s or women’s golf,” said Director of Media Relations of the MEAC Patricia Porter.

In order for FAMU to put together a team there must be some other conference teams to compete against.

“There are a lot of things to consider,” said FAMU Athletic Director Nelson Townsend. “A key factor is who is the competition. Golf is played on an independent schedule.”

Unlike football and other varsity sports where teams play all of the schools in the MEAC, golf independently plays a handful of schools in the conference and other non-conference opponents.

Green said there are two main things needed to put together a women’s golf program at FAMU -money and interest.

We need “a budget that can support women’s golf and enough female students who are interested and can actually compete at the collegiate level,” Green said.

Townsend said given the state of FAMU’s financial issues, another expense in the athletic department is out of the question.

“Women’s golf is not on the books,” Townsend said. “If there is sufficient support and interest maybe we would give some serious consideration.”

Men’s golf team member Gallop Franklin, a sophomore pre-pharmacy student from Tallahassee, said the addition to the women’s team may affect the men’s program.

“I haven’t heard much about a women’s team recently, but if we did have a women’s team some of our monies would probably be cut, but I wouldn’t really mind,” he said.

However Franklin said he would still welcome a counterpart team on the greens representing the Rattlers.

Sophomore Phylicia Ross, a computer information systems student from Orlando, said she has inquired about a golf team since she entered FAMU in the fall of 2006.

“I played golf since I was a kid and all through high school,” said Ross, who is planning to create a golf club on campus. “When I first got here I asked around the athletic department but never got a clear answer.”

As an advocate for golf on campus, Ross said adding the sport would be very valuable to students not only as athletes but also as business people. Golf beats racquetball and tennis as the number one business sport.

“I want to start a golf club one day on FAMU’s campus,” Ross said. “I’ve known people who have gone on internship and had to play golf but didn’t know how.”

Ross’s dream is for the club to be open to all Rattlers, beginners or avid players.

“This club will be for men and women who already play golf and people who have an interest and want to learn to play.

There is no set timetable for the golf club.

“It will happen one day,” Ross said, “but we need more support.”