By Dalton Ray–

The women’s golf team begins their spring season as a young team with only three upperclassmen. Coach Courtney Trimble needs seniors Shannon Gramley and Lousie Oxner, along with junior Molly Skapik, to guide these youthful Cardinals to the top of the ACC.

“When you have a young team, your highs and lows are different. Our battles are different from last year but I think we have the nucleus of players to excel this program,” Trimble said. “The effort and work is there. Now it’s just going out with the confidence. If we tell them to do or try something, they do it. They just have to learn where to put that effort.”

The fall season didn’t go as well as Trimble hoped, but the Cardinals finished their final event of the season tied for fifth out of 11 teams.

“We had a lot of inconsistencies. We had days with good scores, but when we had a bad day, everything just got worse. All of that was due to inexperience,” Trimble said. “We’re still learning how to manage pressure and playing with some of the nation’s top competition.”

Trimble said replacing the consistency of the 2016 seniors Laura Restrepo and Katie Mitchell is challenging. Having the fall to get a taste of her team, Trimble sees the team ready take on that challenge.

“We’ve got contributions from everyone. Jacqueline Twitty, who didn’t have a great year last season, has really improved her game over the summer and fall. Lauren Hartlage, a freshman, has stepped right in and helped us out immediately,” Trimble said. “Molly Skapik is a junior and I’m expecting this spring to be her breakout season.”

The Cardinals  spent a lot of spring focusing on controlling what the team can control. Taming emotions and attitudes are huge for the young team to be able to grow and be successful.

Away from the mental game, the Cards spend a large portion of time working on their short game. Being able to manage a score, even without a great striking day, is a key to success. Trimble says it’s not about what you’re doing when you’re playing well, but how you respond when you aren’t playing well.

As a freshman, Olivia Cason was the third Cardinal in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championship, finishing 45th. Entering the year with higher expectations, Trimble expects Cason to be a standout player as a sophomore.

“The potential is there for all of them. It’s just building their confidence and keeping consistent. The sky is the limit and that’s why I’m excited to get this spring season going,” Trimble said. “I don’t know who is going to step up, but we will need more than one for us to compete in this conference.”

A well-decorated player at Auburn, Trimble said her past helps relate to players and gain respect.

“I know what they’re going through. I’ve done all the things we want to do here. I’ve been on a team competing for a national championship, I’ve played in the Curtis Cup. I was an All-American. All the things this team wants to achieve, I’ve been lucky enough to be apart of that,” Trimble said. “If you have someone that knows how to drive the bus, typically people on the bus are willing to listen.”

With three teams in the top 10, playing in the ACC is an uphill battle. Not to be too overzealous, Trimble wants her team to compete for an ACC Championship within three years.

In her fourth year with the program, Trimble has established a culture around the Louisville golf program. Even though new names begin to sprout, the attitude is the same and the future is bright.

“When we got here, we inherited a lot of eager players that were upperclassmen that were invested. Now they’ve all graduated and it’s youthful here. The culture is the same, people just have to age,” Trimble said. “We’re recognized now and we’re a consistent program. Our next goal is to be in the top 20 constantly to become elite. It’s just a matter of growing our young players.”

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal