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All things
Golf leads senior to make connections, meet goals
By Annalise Venhuizen

When she chose a college with a dance program over another with a field hockey program, a sport she played for four years as a student at White Plains High School in New York, senior Linnea Trippett thought she was done with competitive sports.

But through connections between dance, her major and a past-revealing paper, Trippett ended up on the golf course.

Dance was one of the only things Trippett was sure about when coming to Calvin. “I came to Calvin because it was a Christian school with a dance program,” Trippett said. “Though I didn't know what I wanted to do, I saw that Calvin had enough programs and could give me the tools so that I could figure it out.”

Linnea TrippettAfter trying other programs, Trippett realized her personality fit well with a business communications major with a focus on advertising. “I would love to work in an advertising firm, and ideally I would like to travel a lot for business.” Through participating in the business interim in Europe last January and looking forward to a semester-long internship through the Chicago semester next spring, Trippett will have had firsthand experience with both aspirations before graduation.

Further experience for her future career came through a link between her major and the reason she chose Calvin. Her interest in dance led Trippett to take on a central role in Dance Guild, a student- run organization that produces a show each semester. In addition to choreographing for six semesters, Trippett had the opportunity to serve on the leadership team as the advertising and public relations manager.

The role qualified Trippett for a summer internship as a public relations intern at the Barclays Golf Tournament. “My job was to help the PR team for the PGA. I was able to be in the media room and saw how everything works.”

But more integral to her summer position was the connection between Trippett's major and golf. “Golf is something I knew would help me in the business world. Golf has given me many outlets for networking and led to my internship last summer,” Trippett said.

Trippett had no intention of playing golf competitively at the college level, but once she revealed her history with the sport in a paper, she left herself no other choice. “I had a class with Professor Timmer [men's athletic director] and wrote about my own personal golf experience. He wouldn't let it go and gave my name to Coach Bergsma,” Trippett said.

The experience Trippett wrote about began in middle school, when she and her sister attended a weeklong golf camp in North Carolina. “I did not want to learn how to play golf,” Trippett said. “But I'm so competitive that going to a camp where everyone was so much better than I was made me mad. I wanted to get better, and I came out of it knowing how to play golf.”

That her high school didn't have a women's golf team didn't deter Trippett from joining for a year. She was the first girl in the history of her high school to make the men's golf team.

With encouragement from women's golf coach Jerry Bergsma, Trippett joined the team at Calvin her junior year. Because the team was so small, Trippett felt almost no pressure when joining, a feeling that initially put her at ease but eventually nagged at her and the rest of the team. “I came in thinking I was filling a slot, and I was kind of coasting through the year. But at the same time I was competitive, and it bothered me that I wasn't performing to the best of my ability,” Trippett said. “Overall as a team we had the same mentality. The first year almost all of us were new players.”

Along with two other returning players in sophomores Julienne Louters and Kelli Visser and two golfers new to the team, sophomore Emily Tuuk and senior Erin Kammers, Trippett began this season with a renewed focus and clear goals. “We talked about team goals we wanted to achieve, and we became very united in the idea that we wanted to do well and wanted to take it seriously,” Trippett said.

And due to talent and new goals, the team improved significantly, moving up two places in the MIAA conference and dropping its average from 421 strokes last season to 377.6 in 2007 — a difference of more than 40 strokes per round.

Individually, Trippett improved her average by 11 strokes per round from 108 as a junior to 97 as a senior. The improvement was such that it led Trippett to revise her season goal after the first round. “All I wanted to do was to break 100, and I ended up having breaking 90 as my goal because in my very first match I shot a 99,” Trippett said.

Her career as a Calvin golfer culminated in the final hole of her final round of her final season. “I went into my last match with clear goals: I hadn't had a birdie in either season, I hadn't chipped in, and I had had one or two three-putts all season. I wanted no three-putts, I wanted to break 90, I wanted to chip in and I wanted a birdie,” Trippett said.

The result was almost too good to be true: “I had one three-putt that I'm still mad about, but I shot a career-best round of 86. And with my last hole in my last match I chipped in for birdie. I met my goals.”