It appears likely that the Lawrence University Golf team will be demoted from vasity to a club sport. This possibility, while not yet final, has been met with much scrutiny from members of the Lawrence community. Assuming that this decision is made, we would like to examine the likely outcomes, compare the benefits and detriments, and determine if Lawrence seems to be pursuing the proper course of action.
The golf team requires about $15,000-20,000 per year to function, and currently only has seven team members. This budget also happens to mirror the amount of money needed to promote a part-time strength and conditioning coach to full time, a large part of the argument to cut or alter funding. Supporters of the shift to club status advocate for the reallocation of those funds into coaching staff salary.
Internally, golf would likely see a steep drop in interest as a club sport. LU golfers could no longer compete in any conference tournaments. Instead, they would need to face less competitive club teams on courses farther away. Externally, golf would either fall under the financial jurisdiction of LUCC or the Wellness Center, depending on separate administrative shifts.
Given these considerations, will golf survive as a club sport? The varsity team has not exceeded a membership of ten for many years. Without the draw of competing against conference opponents and training with a coach, the team is sure to experience diminished participation and dedication. Other club sports such as rowing, women’s hockey and ultimate frisbee have succeeded, but they require dramatically less administrative involvement and training. Regardless of which organization or office takes over control of club golf, most LU golfers agree that the team will not survive.
Considering each of these factors, this move seems a bit confounding. Why does the money to promote a single coach need to come from golf? Rather than cutting the entirety of one sport’s budget, why not cut small portions of multiple budgets to level the blow?
Beyond that, several students have mentioned the possibility of a $400,000 campaign to endow a golf team on campus. That may seem like a great deal of money at first glance, but Lawrence demonstrated its new fundraising prowess last year. On the inaugural giving day, LU raised over $1,000,000. With another giving day coming up, this seems like a valuable fundraising effort to consider. Whatever decision is made, we hope that student voices continue to be included and valued in discussion.