The Baldwin Wallace University women's golf program is in its 21st season of successful competition in 2019-2020. The Yellow Jackets are an annual contender for the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament title and a spot in the NCAA Division III National Tournament. BW has the third most OAC titles (five) since women's championships were instituted in 1999-2000.
Head Coach John Kapusta has an extremely young team this season, and the prognosis is for a bright future.
Become A Part of Our Yellow Jacket Women's Golf Family
"There are a lot of reasons why it is a great time to become part of the BW women's golf team," said Kapusta, a 1987 graduate of the University. "We've got a great championship tradition and atmosphere. We have a lot of fun accomplishing goals, winning invitational titles, OAC championships and competing at the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
"The program won back-to-back conference championships and finished in the Top-10 in the nation in its first two years of existence, and the success has not stopped," said Kapusta.. "More recently, we have won three of the last nine OAC titles, traveled to the NCAA Division III National Tournament and finished in the Top-20. Every year, our goals continue to be to win an OAC title and go back to the national tournament with an opportunity to win a national title."
The 2018-2019 Season
A year ago, John Kapusta realized his first goal of rebuilding his program into a championship-caliber program for many years to come. His first goal was to establish a "destination for women's golfers at BW". He did that with a record 12 players on his roster.
"Competition makes everyone better across the board," said Kapusta. "The improvement of our players throughout the season, combined with another solid season of recruiting, has us very excited about the prospects of the 2019-2020 season. And, of course, we would welcome more outstanding players to our competition."
The Championship Success
Six seasons ago, the Yellow Jackets won the 2013-2014 OAC title and finished 17th at the NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida. The latest OAC title and NCAA appearance are BW's fifth title and NCAA tourney trip.
In addition, in 2011-2012 BW won the OAC title and finished 16th at the national tournament. The Yellow Jackets also won the crown and played in the NCAAs in 2010-2011 when they compiled an impressive 83-18 overall record and won five tournament titles (in 12 total events), including the OAC crown.
Since the program's inception in 1999-2000, the BW women have won five OAC titles (1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2013-2014) and advanced to the Division III National Tournament each year.
The program started strong as it captured back-to-back OAC titles in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. During the 1999-2000 championship year, then senior Natalie Rishert '00, earned medalist honors at the OAC Tournament at Turnberry Golf Club in Pickerington. The 1999-2000 squad finished seventh at the NCAA tourney. A year later, the 2000-2001 team placed 10th at the NCAA tourney.
The Type of Player Baldwin Wallace is Looking For
"It is very important in the recruiting process that we find not only good golfers, but good golfers who will be able to contribute to the BW community as a whole," said Kapusta.
The "apple doesn't fall far from the tree" when Coach Kapusta stresses that academics are always the first and foremost priority at BW. His daughter, Rebecca Kapusta '13, also was an exceptional example of the NCAA Division III philosophy of the student-athlete.
"First and foremost, we stress that the term student-athlete means being a student first and an athlete second," noted Kapusta, who experienced that first hand as his daughter, Rebecca, was a four-year starter and three-time NCGCA (National Collegiate Golf Coaches Association) Scholar All-American at BW. "Golfers that come to BW will eventually go pro in something other than playing on the LPGA tour.
"It is very important to stress academics and have golfers that are serious about their academics," continued Kapusta. "We also stress teamwork. Even though golf can be viewed as an individual sport, we believe that it's better to have a close knit team that can overcome any obstacle that is placed in front of it."
A Unique Home Course and Practice Advantage: The Columbia Hills Country Club
Baldwin Wallace utilizes the lush and beautiful Columbia Hills Country Club as its home course for most practices and home invitational tournaments and the state-of-the-art and nearby Stonebrook Golf Academy to hone their skills.
Columbia Hills is an outstanding course in Columbia Station, Ohio and about 15 minutes from campus. Nestled on 166 acres of hills, rivers and ponds. The course features 6,366 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71 . The course rating is 71.4 and it has a slope rating of 132 on Bent grass. Designed by Harold Paddock, the Columbia Hills golf course opened in 1928.
Other Playing and Practice Options Close to Campus
"I think we actually have a unique advantage when it comes to practice courses," said Kapusta. "We have such a wide variety of courses in the area to choose from. Also, we decide where we want to practice for the week based on what type of course we will be playing on for the upcoming weekend tournament.
"We play courses anywhere from the Columbia Hills Country Club in Columbia Station to Pine Hills Golf Club in Hickley to the Fox Meadow and Weymouth country clubs in Medina to Sweetbriar Golf Club in Avon Lake to Big Met in the Cleveland Metroparks system," said Kapusta. It all depends on what we are trying to prepare for that week
Simply there are so many great golf courses in the Greater Cleveland area and close to the BW campus," said Kapusta."Being in Greater Cleveland and having all of these options available to the collegiate golfer is a huge plus and a great recruiting advantage!"
The Stonebtrook Golf Academy and Range has thirty-six hitting stations available, both outdoor and covered/indoor. Select covered/indoor stalls are heated during the winter months.
The Stonebrook Clubhouse food and beverage offerings are outstanding. The staff strives to provide a fun, healthy-driven menu that delights guests and exceed their expectations. Stonebrook’s quality food made from scratch, using only the freshest ingredients are a truly unique dining experience. Our caring associates ensure that every guest’s time dining is exceptional.