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Golf Recruiting Information

Golf Recruiting Information


ACADEMICS: Established in 1871, the University of Arkansas is a nationally competitive, student-centered research university serving Arkansas and the world. U of A offers 216 academic degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels and has a student to teacher ratio of 17 to 1. Total enrollment is 16,449 and more than 67% of all undergraduate class sections have 29 or fewer students. This year’s freshman class has an average ACT score of 25.4 (20.8 is the national average) and a GPA of 3.6.

The U of A received favorable marks for its academic quality in the Fiske Guide to Colleges and The Princeton Review: The Best 351 Colleges, 2004 editions. Also, U.S. News and World Reports listed the Sam Walton College of Business tied for 28th among the nation’s top 30 public undergraduate business schools.

ATHLETICS: Like a handful of similarly progressive major universities, Arkansas has maintained and reinforced a separate women’s athletic department since it’s inception in 1971. This serves to the special needs of female athletes, offering a separate weight room, training room, and sports information department for female athletes. In 2002-03, the University of Arkansas ranked 31st in the annual Sears Director’s Cup competition for the nation’s best intercollegiate athletics program. National visibility in bowl games and tournaments brings excitement and pride to our campus. If BIG TIME college athletics is of interest to you, Arkansas will fit the bill.

WOMEN’S GOLF PROGRAM: Lady Razorback Golf is a relatively young program, starting in 1995-96. The best finish (5th) in the SEC tournament came in 1999. The following season, the team made its first appearance in the NCAA postseason. Last year, in Coach Hester’s second season the young Arkansas team was led by two sophomores and received the program’s third NCAA Regional bid. The team is two for two since Hester’s arrival to Fayetteville and ended the 2003-04 season ranked 31st in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. The U of A golf team boasts the reigning Kansas State Amateur Champion (Courtney Mahon, JR), the Arkansas State Amateur Match Play Champion (Gena Johnson, SR), and Arkansas State Stroke Play Champion and U.S. Amateur Finalist (Amanda McCurdy, JR).

University of Arkansas and Coach Kelley Hester have strong ties with major manufacturers including Nike, Callaway, Ping, Taylor Made, Titleist, Cleveland and many others. While we are in the competitive Southeastern Conference, we are the only SEC team located in the NCAA Central Region. This gives us the luxury of flexibility in our schedule and the ability to compete against the top programs all over the country.

THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE: Setting the standard for excellence in college athletics throughout the country, the SEC has captured 100 national team championships in the last 15 years for an average of more than six per year. Undoubtedly, the SEC is the strongest conference in the nation for women’s golf. Ten of 12 SEC women’s golf teams advanced to postseason play in 2004 and the final Golfweek/Sagarin rankings placed six SEC schools in the top 25. The other teams in the SEC include: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt.

GOLF FACILITIES: The newest addition to the University of Arkansas golf programs, located 5 miles from campus, is our new indoor/outdoor golf center and The Blessings golf course. June, 2004, the Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design was unveiled. With championship tees set at approximately 7,500 yards, the course has already gained the reputation as one of the most challenging courses in Arkansas. The Fred and Mary Smith Razorback Training Facility located on the practice tee houses coaches’ offices, locker rooms, players’ lounge, heated hitting bays, and a video bay. Members of the Razorback golf teams have exclusive use of the facility in addition to a private short game area for chipping, pitching, and putting. The Lady’Back golf team also has the option of six additional local championship courses. The Lady Razorback Invitational, hosted each fall, is held at Pinnacle Country Club. Pinnacle was designed to rival the finest private clubs in the Midwest and is one of Northwest Arkansas’ premier golf facilities. Pinnacle has hosted the Lady Razorback Invitational for four years and the 2000 SEC Championship.

COACHING STAFF:  Head Coach Kelley Hester comes to Arkansas from UNLV where she started the women’s golf program. Prior to UNLV, Hester resided in her home state of Georgia, where she played and coached at the University of Georgia. After competing for the Bulldogs from 1993-96, Hester played professionally on the Futures Tour for two years and competed in the 1996 U.S. Women’s Open. Later she served as an assistant golf professional and took on the duties as head golf coach at Mercer University. Hester overtook the assistant coaching position at UGA in March 1999, and helped coach the 2001 NCAA National Championship team until February 2001, when she moved to Las Vegas to begin the Lady Rebel Golf program. In addition to Hester’s playing experience, she is also a Class B member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division.

Assistant Coach Shauna Estes, also a Georgia graduate and Bulldog standout, joins the Lady Razorbacks with a very decorative playing history. Before coming to Arkansas in January 2003, Estes competed as an exempt member of the LPGA Futures Tour where she accumulated several top finishes. Before turning professional Estes had numerous outstanding college achievements. She had seven individual titles and was a four-time NCAA All-American. Estes was a two-time SEC Championship winner and two-time SEC Player of the Year, in addition to the 1997 SEC Freshman of the Year.

ACADEMIC STUDENT SERVICES: There is no higher priority for the University of Arkansas Women’s Athletics Department than the academic progress of its student athletes. A separate department within the athletic department monitors, counsels, and advises student athletes as they pursue their degrees. Services include priority registration, evening study hall, unlimited free tutors, degree counseling, and grade checks. To achieve the goal of providing the absolute best in academic support, the department felt it was of extreme importance that female athletes have their own academic support staff, and in 1991 constructed a women’s academic center at Barnhill Arena. In 2001, a joint academic center was developed as a part of the Reynolds Razorback Stadium renovations which assists both men’s and women’s athletic departments. The Bogle Academic Center features 15,000 square feet of space including state-of-the-art computer labs and interactive teaching facilities. Along with formal and informal study areas, the Bogle Center includes private tutor rooms, student life and career development resources and a multipurpose classroom. It also continues the tradition of a dedicated space devoted to the needs of female athletes.

THE CAMPUS: Located in the heart of downtown Fayetteville, U of A is a traditional college campus with beautifully restored historic buildings, spacious lawns, and tree-shaded walkways. The flagship campus of the University of Arkansas System rests on a former hilltop farm overlooking the Ozark mountains to the South.

FAYETTEVILLE: The Fayetteville area is legendary for its spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation. Lush green rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, and the Boston Mountains give the area a rugged beauty. However, Fayetteville, a city of nearly 60,000 residents, is also the cultural center of Northwest Arkansas and a friendly college town filled with hospitality. The quaint downtown area and refurbished historic Square also contribute to help make Fayetteville one of Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live in America”. Also, Outside Magazine ranked Fayetteville 23rd out of the 40 best college towns in America.

Fayetteville is at the southern tip of a metroplex that runs northward for 25 miles through Washington and Benton counties. The Northwest Arkansas metroplex includes Springdale (home of Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat producer), Lowell (home of J.B. Hunt Trucking), Rogers and Bentonville (home of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest corporation), and is ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau as the sixth fastest-growing metro area in the nation.

TRADITIONS: Calling the Hogs, Old Main, Senior Walk, Big Red, Lady’Backs Museum, the Hog Hat, football Saturdays, academic excellence, and WINNING!

Let life’s journey bring you through Fayetteville and come experience true college life at the University of Arkansas. Our goals are high and YOU can help us reach them. Please fill out the enclosed questionnaire and return it at your convenience. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about Lady Razorback Golf or the University of Arkansas.


Kelley Hester

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