After finishing runner-up in the California Community College Athletic Assn. Golf Championship last season for the second straight year, the Glendale Community College women’s golf team has undergone major changes, as there are no links to the last two years remaining.
Greg Osbourne resigned his coaching post in June following three successful seasons to become director of golf at Cal State Bakersfield. The Vaqueros brought in Natalie Guidry to become the Vaqueros’ new coach on July 18.
While the Vaqueros had plenty of depth to help them win the Western State Conference championship and take second in the Southern California Regionals last season, that won’t be the case when the season begins Monday with a conference match at Olivas Links Golf Course in Ventura.
Glendale will have only one athlete on board — Sarah Soderberg, a native of Sweden.
Guidry, who stood out while playing at Great Oak High before competing on the UC Riverside women's golf team and then appearing on the Symetra Tour as an amateur, continues to search for additional golfers to compliment Soderberg.
“Ideally, I’d like to have a full team,” Guidry said. “I’ve called the high schools to see if anybody would have any interest playing at the junior college level. We’d like to get at least another two or three players so Sarah will have people she can play and practice with each week.
“We know that Sarah can play as an individual. She’s a very good golfer and we hope she can go to state.”
Guidry will be the program's third coach since it began in 2007. At Great Oak in Riverside County, Guidry was named the De Anza League's Most Valuable Player in 2006 and participated in three Big West Conference championships at UC Riverside. She also qualified for the United States Amateur Public Links in 2009.
It’s not the first time the Vaqueros have been short on numbers. In 2010, the Vaqueros had three athletes. One of them was Tammy Panich, who would go on to capture the state’s individual championship.
Glendale college Athletic Director John Cicuto said he’s not discouraged about the Vaqueros’ current state.
“We’ve had this happen before and things worked out great with Tammy winning state,” Cicuto said. “We are practically in the same situation now with numbers.
“Greg left in early June and we had no one to go out there and recruit. It is what it is sometimes in community college athletics. We are going to give Natalie ample time to go out there and recruit and bring in some good golfers who can help make the program strong. We are very confident that Natalie can keep the program going. You have to stay patient.”
In addition to searching for more players, Guidry will work extensively with Soderberg.
“I don’t know much about Sarah’s skill level, but if she wants to go to a four-year school, then I can help her out,” Guidry said. “It’s about the process of getting there and having everything clicking.
“In golf, it’s about staying within the moment. That’s something I can help teach Sarah. I can give her some pointers in practice and help her with her mental game.”