COLLEGE SIGNING

Barker, Shirk to play golf at St. Mary of the Woods

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The St. Mary of the Woods womens’ golf program is set to gain another pair of Southmont golfers.

Seniors Bailey Barker and Macie Shirk recently committed to the NAIA program in Terre Haute, where they will join former Mounties Bailey Thompson and Erin Williams.

“I’m super excited to be playing with Bailey Thompson and Erin Williams again,” Shirk said. “They were awesome to me when I first started playing golf in high school, and I know they will be a big help to me in college.”

Both Barker and Shirk realized they wanted to play golf collegiately following their junior seasons, and fell in love with the idea of competing at the next level, while also attending a small school and getting a quality education.

“I decided on SMWC because I like that it’s a small campus and has smaller class sizes,” Barker said. “When I visited last spring Coach Higham really made me feel welcomed and like I was already apart of the family. Not only does he care about me succeeding and helping the golf team, but academics and our education is the most important to him.”

Barker plans to study nursing, while Shirk intends to major in psychology and minor in art.

At Southmont, Shirk qualified for the regional as an individual as a junior, while Barker and Shirk helped the Mounties qualify for the regional as a team as seniors in 2021. For Barker, this fall was just her second year of golf. And she feels like she owes a lot to the Southmont program for helping prepare her for college golf.

“I think playing at South has helped prepare me because we have gotten to go out and play several different courses and we played in some tournaments with some bigger schools and harder competition,” Barker said. “I owe a lot to coach Whalen and coach Williamson, first for believing in me and encouraging me. I started last year having never played before. I only had about a half swing and my putting was horrible, that’s why coach Whalen calls me ‘four-putt’. But they also didn’t give up on me and both were willing to put in the time with me to help me correct these things and get better. I am very grateful for the time they spent with me, and I can’t thank them enough for every thing they have done to help prepare me for the next level. I really couldn’t ask for two better coaches.”

Shirk echoed her teammate, speaking highly of the high school program that helped groom them as players.

“Playing golf for Southmont has been a honor,” Shirk said. “We have a really good girls golf program with two really good coaches at Southmont who have taught me so much. Coach Williamson has been my swing doctor and Coach Whalen has taught me a lot about the game. I give them a lot of credit for helping me.”

While both golfers saw night and day improvements throughout their high school careers, both are excited about the new challenge of college golf.

“I’m excited to see where my golf game goes in college. I feel like I have made some big strides in high school, and I know I have a lot more room to improve and get better,” Shirk said. “I’ll have to keep working in the off season to continue to get better. I will have to adjust to the new distances that college golf brings.”

And Barker is excited about the chance to travel and play even more new courses.

“I think I am most excited about the traveling and getting to play new courses and getting to know my new teammates and become a part of the SMWC family,” Barker said.

While both golfers saw night and day improvements throughout their high school careers, both are excited about the new challenge of college golf.

“I’m excited to see where my golf game goes in college. I feel like I have made some big strides in high school, and I know I have a lot more room to improve and get better,” Shirk said. “I’ll have to keep working in the off season to continue to get better. I will have to adjust to the new distances that college golf brings.”

And Barker is excited about the chance to travel and play even more new courses.

“I think I am most excited about the traveling and getting to play new courses and getting to know my new teammates and become a part of the SMWC family,” Barker said.

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