The women’s golf team at Franciscan University of Steubenville is fairly new and small, but the women on the team love every second of their sport. One student athlete in particular has played golf since high school and loves having her sport at Franciscan.
Freshman history major Madeline Holecek is from Houston, Texas and is the oldest of four siblings. Holecek has been golfing since her freshman year of high school.
Holecek decided to join the women’s golf team at Franciscan after touring the school and meeting the other women on the team in October 2019.
“I started practicing with them as soon as I moved in in August,” said Holecek.
Holecek says that even though her team is small, they are very close with one another.
“We hang out with each other outside of practice,” said Holecek. “They’re really my best friends, we hang out together all the time.”
Holecek says she loves the fact that golf is an outdoor sport because she loves being outside, and also that the team gets to travel to other golf courses.
One of Holecek’s favorite memories playing golf was with her father and grandfather.
“We were playing in Colorado Springs,” said Holecek, “and I got my first par on this massive hole overlooking the mountains — it was beautiful. I was playing with my grandpa who was a really good golfer, very talented, and he ended up passing away about a year after that. So, it was really nice that I got to play really well with him one last time.”
Golf is not the only sport Holecek has played, as she played soccer, volleyball, track and field and did figure skating in Houston.
Holecek says that it was her grandfather that got her into golfing.
“My grandpa was really, really good,” said Holecek. “He went pro for a while, and so he taught my dad and my uncle, and they were really into it. My dad would take me when he got to play at pretty places on vacation. He would take me to drive the golf cart along with him. So, I watched him play for a really long time, and then one summer I went to Top Golf for someone’s birthday, and I thought ‘Dang, this actually doesn’t suck.’ I told my dad, and he was really excited, and he put me into golf lessons like literally the next week.”
Holecek thought about joining the track team at Franciscan, because she threw shot and discus in high school. But golf was something she wanted to continue and she didn’t want to commit a lot of time to sports.
“I just like golfing, it’s a good outlet for me and I didn’t want to move to the other side of the country not having anything to do,” said Holecek. “It’s nice because it gives you an environment with people that you have a lot in common with. These girls already play golf, they’ve already got that in common with me, on top of the fact that they’re all at Franciscan. So, I wanted the community of being on a sports team and also just the physical outlet of going out and playing.”
The women’s golf team practices for two hours, three days a week, plus meets, as they are currently in season after being put on hold for a semester and a half.
The team’s season was canceled last semester and condensed into six weeks this semester because of COVID-19. Holecek says besides the shortened season, COVID-19 hasn’t affected her ability to play golf too much.
“It’s made it kind of weird, because of interacting with other teams,” said Holecek. “Usually you go to a golf tournament and you’re playing with the same people for six hours, so you end up making friends with them, and you have common interests with them as well. But now it’s weird since we can’t interact with them the same. They’re on the same hole as us, they’re still paired with us, but we’re still supposed to be social distanced. They want us to really be careful about it.”
“Overall, golf is mostly a social-distanced sport to begin with, so it hasn’t changed too much for the actual sport,” she said.
Holecek golfs at Franciscan with her best friend, sophomore early education major Hailey Jansen. Holecek and Jansen golf together outside of practice time and said they love every second of it.