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Interim President Jeff Ettinger inside Morrill Hall on Sept. 20, 2023. Ettinger gets deep with the Daily: “It’s bittersweet.”
Ettinger reflects on his presidency
Published April 22, 2024

UMN golfer Isabella McCauley leading team

Even though the sport started as a fun family activity, it quickly grew into a passion for McCauley, who is in her first season playing for the Gophers.
Freshman Isabella McCauley finished with a score of 213 over the three days.

Isabella McCauley is tearing up the fairways this season.

In her first season with the Gophers, she led the team, most recently with a tie for 14th in the Valspar Augusta Invitational on March 12 and finishing fifth at the Chattanooga Classic on April 4, which allowed her to earn the B1G Women’s Golfer of the Week title.

Before becoming a Division I golfer, Isabella McCauley first picked up a golf club when she was 6 years old and her father took her to the course.

Her father, Sean McCauley, is a former part-time golf instructor and was Isabella’s first teacher. She said her father would often use candy as a way to incentivize her and her sister to go to the golf course with him.

According to the Minnesota Golf Association, Sean McCauley’s golf career began with congenital heart defects and severe scoliosis that prevented him from playing many sports early on. When he was 13 years old, his doctor gave him a book called “How to Perfect Your Golf Swing.”.

As Sean McCauley’s golf career progressed, he quickly realized that pharmaceutical sales would pay the bills a lot better than golf would. He set golf aside himself, but later realized he had two golf students right in front of him: his daughters Isabella and Reese McCauley, according to the Minnesota Golf Association.

Isabella said playing with her father was always a fun activity. He was very patient and knew how to keep the attention of young kids.

If the McCauley family only had time for an hour at the golf course, Sean would spend about 15 to 20 minutes working with Isabella and Reese on their swing and the other 45 minutes having fun and playing games.

“As we got older, it just kind of naturally progressed into a game that not just he loved, but my sister and I, we loved it as well,” Isabella said.

As Isabella grew older, her parents made it a point to not pressure her into playing golf. She had picked up horseback riding for a little bit, but ultimately, she decided to stick with golf.

Sean’s teaching quickly proved to be successful as Isabella McCauley played in her first tournament just two years after picking up a club for the first time.

“I absolutely loved playing competitive golf,” Isabella McCauley said. “That was a huge turning point for me.”

As Isabella McCauley rounds out her freshman season for the Gophers, she said her biggest goals throughout her collegiate career are to make it to the national championship and individually win a collegiate event.

The 2023 Big Ten championship starts on Friday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

She said she hopes to achieve her goals with a swing coach she is familiar with, her father.

“I’ve always kind of taken it step-by-step and then afterwards if I want to turn pro, I would love to maybe have that opportunity,” Isabella McCauley said.

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