The college ice hockey player’s journey does not begin freshman year. It...
Stroke of luck; Ketcheson’s beginning in golf
By Brian Farrell, QBSN Staff Writer
Growing up in Manitoba, Kayla Ketcheson was more accustomed to the Happy Gilmore club that resembles a hockey stick than the putter she uses now. But today the senior captain can’t help but be amazed at where she ended up.
“I look back and I can’t picture my 16-year-old self in Connecticut playing for a Division I team,” Ketcheson said. “I never expected that.”
It wasn’t until Ketcheson was nine years old that golf entered her life. For other Quinnipiac golfers like Krissy Unger or Jenn Whaley, golf is in their blood.
“I was at a wedding, and I guess all the kids were being annoying, and the wedding was at a golf course; so my dad asked the head pro to take us out on the driving range,” Ketcheson remembers. “We started hitting balls off the driving range, and I was the only one making contact so my dad was like, ‘hey you are pretty good at this.’ I was thinking, ‘yeah, I don’t mind it’.”
Saying she didn’t mind it might have been an understatement as Ketcheson and her family wasted no time getting her involved in the game.
“I had a lesson the very next day after that and it just went from there. It was lesson after lesson, and once I got to the point where I was competing I had to make the decision between hockey and golf.”
While the choice between Canada’s favorite sport and a game she hadn’t discovered until she was nine was difficult mentally, the physical decision was easy.
“It was getting to the point where women’s hockey was getting more competitive and you have to have a certain stature to compete at that level and I didn’t really have that so golf seemed like the natural choice.”
As a business major, Ketcheson has begun using golf in new outlets, not only to help herself but to help others. Every summer she returns to Manitoba to volunteer at the local courses and also to assist in the growing program, Women in Business. The group helps women in business to better their golf game as a way nudge their way into a male-dominated hobby.
“A lot of the participants are people in their mid to late 40s and 50s. They are managers or executives or CEOs and they are very successful in their companies or they want to get to that next level or that next position. They see the ability to bank on those informal relationships that really help you succeed in the business world, but they don’t know how to get there.”
Ketcheson explains that now when a male executive says he is going out for a game on a Friday afternoon, these women won’t be afraid to go and build a relationship while playing golf.
“They don’t want to go out and embarrass themselves by shooting in the high 90s,” Ketcheson said. “They want to be able to stay up to par with them or a little bit more or maybe even a little bit less if they are good.”
Now, Ketcheson is the leader for a young Bobcats’ squad looking to continue their success from the fall season. Her leadership, consistent play and more importantly her positive attitude is among the reasons the Bobcats are quickly improving each season.
“We’re in a much more competitive position from last year. The cohesiveness of the team is stronger and that helps with the competiveness and because of the competitiveness that makes us more driven to our goal which is doing well in conference.”
A long offseason of basic training in the weight room and countless days putting and chipping on mats in the recreation center have Ketcheson and the team itching to get on the course. The Bobcats finally hit the links this weekend when they travel to William & Mary.
“There’s something about flying away for a tournament and being somewhere completely new and different. It was super hot there last year which is much different than our spring,” Ketcheson said smiling. “It’s fun to switch things up.”
The Bobcats tee off at 10 a.m. on Sunday.