JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Edward Waters University Women's Golf team will be out at THE PLAYERS this week taking in all the action at the tournament that gave their program new life.
Thanks to a $50,000 donation from THE PLAYERS, EWU reinstated its women's golf program in 2021 after it had gone away back in 2015.
Now their first season back is in full swing.
"You set the standard right now, so what we do as we progress that's women's golf basically," Arianna Aschenbrenner said.
Aschenbrenner, a sophomore from Georgia, says there have been growing pains to start off this season but she and her teammates want to put EWU Women's Golf on the map.
"You look for the women's golf team and first thing you know, Leiahnni. She's got a record. She's good, she's been playing. So it would be cool to have everybody be like 'Oh' that's that golfer like she really does that," Aschenbrenner said.
Freshman Leiahnni Smith has embraced the opportunity to be a part of the first-year program and leave her legacy at Edward Waters.
"I felt like it would be a new opportunity and a great thing to be a part and you know just something that would be fun," Smith said.
As for their head coach, Kelly Allen grew up in the Myrtle Avenue area by EWU's campus and has always had a passion for golf.
"It just made total sense for me to return home so to speak and give back to my community in the same way that it has given to me," Allen said.
Allen, who played golf at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, says there's a lot of pride that comes with being one of only two historically black colleges in Florida with a women's golf program.
"Essentially I am a competitor so I'm thinking as big as I wanna be able to compete with those power five conferences, with those big schools so I definitely wanna make some noise in that arena long term," Allen said.
The wins will come, but for now, the most important thing is that the girls are having fun on the course.
"I didn't know I was going to enjoy it this much honestly, but come out here every other day, swing the club, get better, like, it's a really nice experience," Aschenbrenner said.