Laker golfer Chipman earns Arnold Palmer honor, expects big things in spring season

GVL / Archive

GVL / Archive

Kady Volmering

Winter in Michigan is a long battle beginning usually in late December and ending around late March and early April. We all suffer from the harsh conditions, but for outdoor spring sports, it can be difficult to keep in shape and be prepared for the season.  

However, Grand Valley State women’s golfer junior Katie Chipman is having no issues continuing to improve her skills and preparing for the upcoming season.

With frozen ground during Michigan winters, the women’s golf team has to find alternative ways to keep working on improving skills. Chipman says that the team dedicates these winter months to the weight room, becoming stronger by pushing themselves to lift heavier weights. Chipman has been able to gain muscle, which she says helps her perform better during season.

“Normally these eight weeks drag on between the end of Christmas break and our first tournament during spring break,” Chipman said. “It’s a mental game to get through, but with the help of all our facilities here like the Kelly Center, we’re able to get in practice. We’re very grateful and lucky to have it.”

Chipman and her teammates practice at the Kelly Center five days a week for two hours a day. Practices usually consists of hitting balls and laying out mats, and Chipman has been taking advantage of all her opportunities to get reps in and keep herself at the top of her game.

“So far, the offseason has been going pretty well,” Chipman said. “It’s probably been the most work I’ve put in during this time compared to my other years, so I like to look back and compare to see what I used to do and what I’m doing now.”

Chipman says the difference from this year and her two previous years with GVSU is her want to continue to see improvements and the realization that it’s in the offseason where players can make strides in prepping for the upcoming season.

“Being my third year here, I’ve come to better understand what to do and how to do it during the offseason,” Chipman said. “Don’t take for granted the time you have here during the eight weeks.”

Another motivator that Chipman has hanging at the back of her mind is the recent announcement of the finalists for the Arnold Palmer Cup. Chipman is one of five finalists for Division II to make it to the next round of cuts, happening on Feb. 28.

“It’s very cool that I get to represent Grand Valley if I get the chance to go play,” Chipman said. “I do keep it in the back of my mind that it is a long shot, but to even be considered is an honor and I really hope I get the chance to play in this cup.”

The Arnold Palmer Cup is a tournament where a team consisting of the top men’s and women’s university and college golfers go against an international team in June. It’s one of Chipman’s short term goals for the spring season to make it through the next rounds of cuts in order to be chosen for the team.

“I was pretty excited at practice when (head coach) Mailloux told me,” Chipman said. “She mentioned it casually at first, but we talked about it later and realized what an honor it is for a Division II golfer to be considered for this invitation.”

Though the opportunity to play on the team seems high stake, Chipman says she doesn’t considered it a distraction, and doesn’t focus on it daily. She is more focused on her day-to-day goals and says that the awards are just an outcome of all the hard work she’s put in.

“With all the bigger awards surrounding golf and being a part of the NCAA Division II, I’m pretty good at noticing them,” Chipman said. “And when they do come, being honored to accept it, but then being able to keep it on the back burner and not be my main focus.”

Besides the Arnold Palmer Cup to look forward to, Chipman is also excited for the competition this upcoming season. The team is traveling to Arizona and Florida this spring to face some tougher competition.

“In my two years here we’ve never been to this many warm tournaments with higher competition in the spring,” Chipman said. “We normally go to Ohio and other spots closer to home, so I’m excited to get on the road with the team and compete against really good, nationally ranked teams and put our work to the test this spring.”