Women’s Golf Team Fits Babson to a Tee
Women’s golf at Babson is a natural fit, given the sport’s close connections to business and women’s influence in the golf industry. And, for the four pioneers comprising the College’s first women’s golf team—Michelle Guan ’27, Laura Lu ’27, Victoria Salim ’27, and Rachel Sim ’27—Babson is a natural fit.
“The women’s golf team is the main reason I came to Babson,” Salim says. “It was amplified by visiting campus and seeing the kind of learning environment here. Even a glimpse of the library showed me that people here want to make it big.”
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“Babson now helps me fulfill both entrepreneurship and golf,” Lu says. “Since primary school, I always wanted to learn business in this environment. My whole family is in the business field, and my grandparents are entrepreneurs.”
“I was very excited to learn of Babson adding women’s golf,” Guan says. “It is so special to be a part of Babson’s history. I was always told that one should try to make a difference in the sense that one can make a change no matter the community, helping someone, the world, or in this case the school.”
Now, the foursome is making an impact this fall as Babson has launched its 12th women’s varsity program.
President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD and Lawrence P. Ward, the College’s vice president and dean of campus life, championed the addition of the program as an opportunity to further support the College’s commitment to women’s athletics. And, in June 2022, shortly after the 50th anniversary of Title IX—the landmark ruling that was enacted to help prevent gender discrimination in collegiate athletics—Mike Lynch, the Pamela P. and Brian M. Barefoot Associate Vice President for Athletics and Athletics Advancement, announced the addition of the 23rd varsity program and first since 2001.
“I was initially excited to be a part of a new varsity sport and the opportunity to start a women’s program,” Page says. “Once that sank in, I needed to recruit a class of women in a short period of time. Babson fields strong men’s and women’s programs, so I was confident we could put together a competitive team right away.”
Page immediately went to work and brought in four women from all over the world: China (Lu), Indonesia (Salim), Singapore (Sim), and New York (Guan). Three of them attended IMG Academy in Florida.
“The moment Coach Page emailed me on May 2 that I could still apply, I was ecstatic and immediately called my parents to say, ‘I’m going to Babson!’ ” Salim says. “I have known Rachel (Sim) since 2018, so it really has been a journey to share our Southeast Asian background, graduating high school, and beginning college together. I also feel fortunate that our team mixes well. With everyone being a freshman, we have a lot of similarities, which led to an easily close group.”
“Being a pioneer of the first women’s golf team is special. We are going to set the standard for the subsequent players who come in the future.”
Rachel Sim ’27
“It has been really nice playing on a team,” Sim says. “College golf is different from junior golf, as your scores matter for the greater good of the team. If you don’t play well, it affects both you and the team.”
Led by Page and assistant coaches Tom Miller and Cassidy Riley ’22, MSEL’23, the new team teed off for the first time September 9 at the Polar Bear Shootout in Brunswick, Maine, and immediately made an impression. The Beavers placed fifth among eight teams at the two-day tournament, and Lu and Salim both recorded top-10 individual finishes.
“The transition to college golf has been a lot easier than I thought it would be,” Sim says. “Coming from a sports academy, where we trained half the day and the other half was school, has helped me to manage time wisely and be disciplined and independent.”
Two weeks later, Babson traveled to the Williams Invitational at historic Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The strong field included five nationally ranked teams and six others that received votes in the Women’s Golf Coaches Association preseason poll. Babson cut 12 strokes off its opening-round score to finish 14th overall in the 22-team tournament, placing ahead of two schools that were receiving votes in the national poll.
“This group is off and running,” Page says. “With no upperclassmen to provide guidance, they have been getting more comfortable with playing college golf.”
On the final day, Lu put together one of the afternoon’s best rounds, firing a 6-over 77 on the way to grabbing a share of 23rd place overall, marking her second consecutive top-25 finish.
“We have hit my short-term goals of being competitive from the start,” Page says. “Long term, I look to add to the 2024 roster, be a top-10 team in New England, and eventually be nationally ranked. The ultimate goal is to compete on a national level yearly.”
“Being a pioneer of the first women’s golf team is special,” Sim says. “We are going to set the standard for the subsequent players who come in the future.”
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