Spartanburg, S.C. – A founding member of the USC Upstate women's golf program, Audrey Church has returned to the University and Athletics Department to serve as the Assistant Women's Golf Coach, announced head coach Todd Lawton.
Church, from Greenville, S.C., was a freshman in 2005-06 when Lawton fielded the first-ever women's golf team at Upstate. She and her founding counterparts, Julie Miller, Richelle Wedzik and Richia Wedzik, formed a strong nucleus of players that built the foundation of the program at Upstate.
"I'm very excited to have Audrey back in our program," said Lawton. "Her energy level is contagious and she has grown so much through her experience as an assistant professional at Woodfin Ridge and a teacher and mentor with The First Tee.
"She understands that discipline and hard work will be key in developing the young talent we have and is eager to spend time with each player getting to know golf swings and personalities. She was a dedicated Spartan as a student-athlete, and I look forward to helping her become a successful mentor and coach to all current and future Upstate golfers."
Church was a four-year member of the Upstate team, playing from 2005-09. She helped establish the program on the NCAA Division II level before helping build the foundation for the program in Division I starting in 2007-08. Church played 60 tournament rounds for Upstate. Prior to current Spartan, Rachel Lewis (So., Llanishen, Wales), shooting a 69 in a round as a freshman last year, Church was one of four Spartans to share the single-round school record with a round of 72. She made the most of her time at Upstate, improving her stroke average by six strokes from her freshman year to her senior campaign. She played in a career-high 23 rounds and nine tournaments as a senior in 2008-09.
Since graduating from Upstate, Church has remained heavily involved in golf. She began her instructional career as an assistant pro at Woodfin Ridge Golf Club, one of Upstate's two home courses. As an assistant pro, she has assisted with instructional duties at the club. She is active as an emerging PGA Professional and has reached the level of a PGA Apprentice.
Church has also played a significant role in the development of Spartanburg's First Tee program as a First Tee Apprentice. She is the director of the First Tee's satellite branch at Woodfin Ridge and has developed the site into a year-round program with more than 100 children participating. The First Tee program introduces the game of golf to youth in the area and includes instruction and coaching, focusing on golf skills and life values.