Her coaching career may have only spanned five seasons, but Rachel Lindow’s roots with the Daviess County girls’ golf program are much deeper. Her most lasting impact may be the changes she spurred as head coach, though she also brought success to the team when she was a player.
Lindow first got involved with the team purely by chance 13 years ago when she was an eighth-grader hitting balls on the range at Ben Hawes with her dad.
It was the first time she had even held a golf club — she played basketball and soccer growing up instead — but her swing impressed then-head coach John Hamm.
“John was impressed with my swing and asked my dad if he could start giving me lessons, and he said that DCHS was looking for more girls for their golf team,” Lindow said. “My dad and I thought that John’s idea was crazy and that there was no way I could play on the varsity level by July.”
A summer full of practices and lessons later, and Lindow was the No. 3 golfer for Daviess County as a freshman. After that season, she played No. 1 for the next three years.
Lindow qualified for the state tournament has a junior, then was the medalist of the city-county tournament as a senior.
After Lindow graduated and move on to a collegiate career at Brescia University, the Daviess program at Daviess County struggled. The Lady Panthers continued having a tough time finding players and they didn’t have anyone that was able to replicate Lindow’s success.
Though it didn’t lead directly to her head coaching position, Lindow said she owes her opportunity to her time at Brescia. She chose to stay local because she really believed in coach David Ballou and his views of golf.
“I enjoyed my time at Brescia and am very blessed to have had a coach like David Ballou,” she said. “I believe he has taught me many things about coaching, and I don’t think I would be the coach I am today if he wasn’t my coach in college. David connected with all of this athletes and that is what I strived to do with my girls.”
Fast forward to 2014, when Lindow saw the head coach position open. She thought it over for a few days before applying because she’d never planned to lead a high school team, but decided to give it a try. A day after her interview, Lindow got the job.
She knew there wasn’t typically much turnout for girls’ golf, so she worked hard to create a welcoming and fun environment.
“My first year of coaching I had eight girls, and ever since then its grown tremendously,” Lindow said. “Each year I get more and more girls coming out and wanting to play golf. It’s great to see a sport grow and see girls become more interested in it.”
She created a social media presence for greater outreach, spreading the word through Facebook and Twitter about any success her players had. It was all about making the girls proud and excited to be part of the program.
“On the social media sites, I always try to post the girls achievements, scores, anything that would be special to the team,” she said. “During practices, I always tried to make it fun but serious. My mission is to make sure the girls are enjoying the game and that they fall in love with it. I believe having a fun and positive environment has helped grow the program.”
She was only the coach for five years, but that was enough time for plenty of deep bonds and happy memories. She’s leaving after an especially fruitful year.
Senior Grace Heady was medalist at city-county, leading the Lady Panthers to a team victory. The team also advanced to state after winning the region tournament, and Daviess County finished 16th in the state.
Lindow’s favorite memory was walking down the final fairway with Heady on the way to her city-county win, but the entire season is one she will never forget.
“Seeing Grace’s face once she won was priceless, and that’s what coaching is all about,” Lindow said. “Seeing my girls happy at the end of the day is what makes the memories. The girls worked super hard this year, and they truly deserved everything they accomplished this year.”
The bond with Heady is especially strong because she stared when she was an eighth-grader in Lindow’s first season, so the two leaned on each other for the entire span of Lindow’s career. Heady was also the first Daviess County girl to win city-county since Lindow did it 10 years ago.
Their time together came to a bittersweet end at the state tournament. Though the team didn’t advance, Lindow and Heady had a fun end to the day when play resumed after a weather delay.
“Grace and I were literally sprinting to her ball after each shot due to lack of daylight,” she said. “That is something I will never forget. We were laughing each time we would take off sprinting. After that last hole, it was very emotional since that made my coaching career officially over and it was Grace’s last high school hole.”
Lindow is moving on because she’s getting married to her fiance Brady Flaspoehler next May and will move to Cincinnati, Ohio, to live with him. She’s happy to start a family but will miss being part of the team.
“It’s very hard to leave something behind that I have worked so hard for to build up the girls golf program at DCHS,” she said. “The girls definitely gave me a great last year to look back on. I’m so proud of them all for great season. I’m sad to be leaving the girls but I’m excited to begin a new journey.”
Lindow said she owed all her accomplishments as player and coach to a few specific people, and wanted to leave with a final thanks to each one.
“I just want to say thank you to John Hamm for believing in me and helping me reach things I never dreamed of doing,” she said. “I owe all of my accomplishments to you. Thank you to David Ballou for being an amazing coach and being a big mentor to me.
“To my parents for always believing in me and supporting me at all the golf tournaments and matches whether it was playing or coaching. Your support and love never went unnoticed. Thank you to my fiancé for supporting me and sacrificing our time on the weekends so I could be with my golf girls.”