University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point sophomore Jenny Marshall didn’t anticipate she would have to revamp her golf swing.
The 2019 Stoughton High School graduate finished last fall with a scoring average of 104.2 in her first season with the Pointers. She shot a season-best 99 in the final round of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship last fall. Marshall took 38th at the Georgianni Invite on Sept. 7 and 48th in her first collegiate competition at the UW-Oshkosh Fall Classic Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 2019.
“I made a lot of changes to my swing I didn’t know needed to be adjusted,” she said.
Marshall said the biggest adjustment was the longer length of play on college courses.
“It was very eye-opening,” she said. “The par 5s in high school are like par 4s in college.”
Marshall was a member of the Stoughton High School girls golf team that won a Badger South Conference championship for the first time in five years in 2018 and finished two strokes away from qualifying for state.
She made adjustments with her coach last year. Marshall had her swing recorded and used those to help fine-tune her swing.
“When I brought my club up, I had a weird motion in my backswing,” she said. “I worked on my stance and hand placement on sand shots to get more height on some of the shots.
As a high school golfer for the Vikings, Marshall relied on her ability to hit booming drives.
“I’m a big swinger and I like to use my driver,” she said. “They weren’t always straight.”
Marshall said with her swing adjustments, she’s hoping to hit her driver just as far, with more accuracy.
“I feel a lot more confident in my swing,” she said. “I’m expecting my shots to be a lot more consistent and accurate.”
The WIAC canceled fall sports competitions July 27 because of concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. When Marshall started school on Wednesday, Sept. 2, she will have some golf practices and training before the spring season begins. She’s taking the cancellation of the fall sports season in stride.
“I’m upset, but relieved,” she said. “It gives me more time to focus on our distance and swing.”
UW-Stevens Point finished last in the WIAC Conference meet last year, but there is change in the Pointers golf program. Monroe native Diane Gilbert takes over as the women’s golf coach. She also serves as the associate head coach for the Stevens Point women’s basketball team. Gilbert played basketball at UW-Stevens Point for four years, was a member of the women’s basketball 2002 national championship team and was inducted into the Pointers’ Hall of Fame in 2002.
“Last year, I don’t think we were in the right mindset motivation-wise,” said Marshall, who is a professional communications major who plans to minor in Spanish and business.
Marshall knows she will have more time to perfect her swing before the golf season begins in spring 2021.
She likes some of the changes Gilbert has implemented with the program so far.
“She has brought in a swing coach,” Marshall said. “With her knowledge and help, we can definitely get to where we want to be. I think the biggest challenge as a team is consistency. We have to get better at helping each other out, motivating each other and holding each other accountable.”