Coach Polly Schulze has seen many firsts in her tenure thus far at Santa Clara. Under her leadership, the women's golf team has won three team titles and three individual titles. Her squad has moved from dead last in conference to having a firm hold on the third spot with their eye on moving up next year. Schulze was the first women's golf coach at Santa Clara to have been nominated WCC Coach of the Year in 2004.
In 2007-08, the Broncos compiled a 3.66 grade-point average for the year and the program was recognized by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) for posting the fourth-highest team GPA in the country, tying with Illinois Wesleyan University. The Broncos had the highest GPA in the West Coast Conference and joined Stanford as the only two teams from the West Coast in the top 25 nationally.
The Broncos tied for third at the WCC Championships with senior Corey Utsurogi ending her college career with a gritty top-ten finish. In a day when precious few scores were in the 70s, Utsurogi shot a team-best 84 and would have tied for ninth place if not for a final hole double-bogey. Schulze also had three of athletes earn All-WCC honors (Utsurogi, Hilaire Fouts and Miki Ueoka).
Schulze came to Santa Clara after spending just over 10 years working as an assistant professional. She spent eight years working at Seascape Golf Course in Aptos, Calif., where she was very active in running the junior golf program. It was at this time she created a girls golf program at Aptos High School.
"That was when I got the bug to coach at a higher level. High school golf is fun but that is what it is, just fun. I love competition and I wanted to be able to coach players who are striving to achieve at a higher level."
Schulze left Seascape to take a position as an assistant professional at the renowned Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif., where she spent two and a half years. She again was active in their junior program, coaching the Bay Cities Junior Team from Pasatiempo.
"Working with junior golfers is something that I have done for a long time and I love working with young people and feeding off their energy. It keeps the game fresh for me and it's great to help them achieve their goals."
One of the things that makes Schulze most proud of her program is the Birdies For Wishes campaign that the team has participated in for the past four years. At the beginning of each season, the team and the coach collect pledges for every birdie that the team makes in competition on the year. It can be anywhere from .25 per birdie to 5.00 per birdie, there is no set pledge amount. At the end of the year, Schulze collects all the pledges and the team donates 100% of the funds raised to the Greater Bay Area Make A Wish Foundation. To date, the team has raised over $11,000 for Make A Wish.
"If I can help the girls to understand the value of giving back and have that be a lifelong habit of theirs, then I feel that most of my job has been done. I want the girls to understand how fortunate they are and to always help those less fortunate."
Schulze has been a member of the PGA of America for seven years and currently resides in Aptos, Calif.