Kirk named as head coach of Dartmouth women’s golf team
By Rahul Raina, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Members of the Dartmouth women’s golf team said they are excited to welcome Alex Kirk, the head golf professional at the Hanover Country Club, as their new head coach for the 2012-2013 season.
Kirk will bring a wealth of experience and wisdom to the program, which is on an upswing after promising performances in recent seasons, players said.
Dartmouth Athletic Director Harry Sheehy announced Kirk’s appointment on July 3 following the resignation of head coach Janet Coles in May. Kirk has been a Class A member of the Professional Golfers Association of America since 1999 and served as a member of the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game from 2006 to 2010.
Kirk is also no stranger to the New England golf scene. He is the president of the New Hampshire PGA and is also the district director of the New England PGA Board of Directors.
As head professional at the Hanover Country Club, Kirk helped establish the Golf in School Program, which is now active in 27 schools in New Hampshire. Kirk received the NHPGA Junior Golf Leader Award in both 2009 and 2010 for his efforts to promote youth golf in the state.
Kirk began his career as a golf professional in 1996, when he became an assistant pro at the Woodcrest Club in Syosset, N.Y. Before joining the staff at the Hanover Country Club in 2005, Kirk served as the first head pro at Pistol Creek Golf Club in Berlin, Conn., and as an assistant pro at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford, N.H.
Aside from his administrative responsibilities at the Hanover Country Club, Kirk had a successful year as a player in 2011 as well. He entered 16 tournaments and made the cut in 15 of them. His best finish came at the PGA New Hampshire Chapter ProSenior Championship Pheasant Ridge tournament last June, where he tied for third place after shooting a round of 71 at the Pheasant Ridge Country Club.
A 1991 graduate of Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., Kirk has won several Pro-Am Tournaments in New Hampshire and New England during his professional career.
“Coach Kirk has been a big part of the team for several years now,” Julie Campbell ’13 said. “As the head pro at Hanover Country Club, our home course, he has helped the team tremendously over the years. He had a big impact on the team my sophomore year when he traveled with us for a couple of our tournaments, and having him lead the team next year is definitely an exciting prospect.”
Campbell said that Kirk’s most valuable qualities are his ability to boost team morale and keep his golfers in the right mindset during tough spells.
“[Kirk] is a very supportive and uplifting coach,” Campbell said. “Speaking from my own experience, Coach Kirk has helped me remain positive and focused after a few bad shots during tournament play. I think having him lead us will bring us together as team next year.”
Evan Sterneck ’14 said she is equally thrilled about Kirk’s new role as the team’s head coach.
“Coach Kirk has consistently been there as an alternative resource for the team and has always been ready to do whatever he could to help us be successful,” Sterneck said in an email to The Dartmouth. “He knows the team and knows Dartmouth well. Being in New Hampshire, we have to be creative in dealing with the harsh weather and offseason training. Having spent most of his life in this part of the country, Coach Kirk will be able to help us maximize our winter training, allowing us to come into the spring season strong.”
Kirk’s positive attitude, an important aspect of his coaching style, is an especially exciting prospect, team member Sarah Knapp ’14 said.
“I think that Coach Kirk will be a very valuable addition to our program,” Knapp said in an email to The Dartmouth. “He has always been supportive and inspiring, and I know that he will continue to be so throughout the coming seasons. [Kirk] has always had [the team’s] best interests in mind.”
Kirk steps into his role as head coach as the Big Green women come off a 2011-2012 season that was marked by inconsistent results.
After failing to secure a tournament win for eight years, the team won both the Dartmouth Invitational and the ECAC Championships last fall with inspired performances by many of the Big Green golfers.
The team’s successful fall was followed by a disappointing seventh place finish at the Ivy Championships in the spring.
The Big Green women said they are optimistic that with Kirk as their head coach, they will be able string together more consistently successful results this fall and move closer to the top of the Ivy League ladder by the time Ivy Championships roll around next spring.