ASU Women's Golf team made up of five athletes from five different countries

The team features golfers from Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Germany

ASU Women's Golf team are vying for a national title this year, and no one player will be competing under the same flag. 

This is a growing trend in the United States. Sports, like the country itself, have evolved into a cultural melting pot of various backgrounds, experiences, unique perspectives and skill sets. 

The 2019-20 ASU women’s golf team epitomizes the significance of global diversity in collegiate sports. Head Coach Missy Farr-Kaye’s recruiting efforts overseas have resulted in a team that spans five different countries — none of which include the United States

“I really like having players from all over the world,” Farr-Kaye said in an interview at Papago Golf Course on Tuesday. “They all bring something different culturally in their personalities. It’s amazing to watch some of the best players in the world and how they train.” 

The presence of international athletes in America in both professional and collegiate sport fields is as prevalent as ever. The combination of different perspectives in team settings can create an entirely new competitive angle and unique sense of camaraderie.

Coach Farr-Kaye has been recruiting internationally for ASU women’s golf since 2008. This semester’s team features women senior Olivia Mehaffey from Ireland, sophomore Alessandra Fanali from Italy, junior Raquel Olmos from Spain, freshman Linn Grant from Sweden and sophomore Alexandra Forsterling from Germany. 

The team is expecting Swedish amateur golfer Amanda Linner to join the team at the beginning of next year. 

While all the players come from different cultural backgrounds, they all bring their different styles of play to the team in support of one common goal. 

Grant is one of the newest additions to the team and brings her own set of techniques to the course that her teammates can also absorb. Along with Mehaffey, Grant earned a spot on Golf Channel’s preseason contenders list for this year’s ANIKKA Award — given to the most outstanding female collegiate golfers of the year.

“For us, it’s cool to have different aspects and sides to everything,” Grant said. “We can always go back and help each other from different angles.” 

Mehaffey, who is entering her fourth year as a member of the Sun Devils, emphasizes the importance of traveling abroad and experiencing a diverse atmosphere. 

“This is an amazing opportunity,” Mehaffey said. “In four years, you can learn and grow so much — as a person, as a golfer.”

Stretching outside of their comfort zones and immersing themselves within  a diverse and multicultural environment speaks volumes about these player's potential to succeed on and off the course.

In addition to the complementary levels of skill and experience, Farr-Kaye said she views the concepts of team spirit and companionship as principal factors in her efforts to scout and recruit globally. 

“I really enjoy having a diverse team no matter what,” Farr-Kaye said. “It’s really cool to watch them become friends and to watch them want to go all over the world. Golf is such a unifying sport in a very unique way.” 

Members of the team have also emphasized the value of the relationships they’ve developed in the group, whether it be in their mutual interests or differences, they have had opportunities to grow together and as individuals.

The Sun Devils enter the 2019 fall semester ranked in the top-10 by both Golf Channel’s and Golfweek’s pre-season collegiate women’s ranking lists. The team’s first contest is on Sept. 16 where they will head to Lake Elmo, Minnesota to compete in the ANIKKA Intercollegiate tournament.

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