Sonoma State’s women’s golf team ended their season last week.
Freshman Haley Whitbeck from Oceanside is one of the members of that team. Whitbeck first picked up a golf club at the age of 7.
“My dad took me to the range and I had a little plastic blue club that I would hit with. I would get excited if the ball just went 10 yards,” said Whitbeck.
Being an athletic child, choosing just one sport to play was a challenge for Whitbeck, but golf is the sport that won her heart. Her favorite part of golf is the mental aspect of the game.
She said that unlike other sports, in golf one must stay focused throughout the entire game and not technically worry about the physical aspects like other sports.
“The game is really mental, it’s a challenge,” said Whitbeck.
Whitbeck had no idea she was chosen as Athlete of the Week until her parents had texted her letting her know. She was surprised and excited by the news.
Back in high school, Whitbeck was team captain of her golf team. In 2010, she was Golfer of the Week at a Nike Golf Camp held at UC San Diego. She also qualified for the state championship for four consecutive years.
Her first career hole-in-one was in 2009 in Lincoln. Whitbeck won a few tournaments outside of her high school environment, one of which led her to meet Val Verhunce, Sonoma State’s girl’s golf coach.
“My coach and I get along really well. His coaching style goes really well with my golfing style,” said Whitbeck.
Whitbeck hangs out with the girls on her team on and off the golf course. She and the girls also spend time with the men’s golf team because they workout together weekly.
Whitbeck is busy during golf season because they practice almost everyday but in her spare time she enjoys watching movies and hanging out with friends.
She chose to go to Sonoma State University because she loved the environment of the campus. She loved that there were many cities around the small town of Rohnert Park.
“I am really proud of myself this year, but I am one of the top freshman on the team, which I was surprised about because there are seven freshman on the team this year. I traveled for three out of the four tournaments during the season, and that made me feel really good about myself,” said Whitbeck.
Whitbeck’s major is currently undeclared but hopes to minor in something related to movies. She has a full load of classes this semester on top of the many hours of golf practice and workouts.
She is looking forward to relaxing and having some down time now that golf is over, but is already excited for next season.