By Hector Castelltort
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Wimborne Minster is a small, market town in southwest England and even though Wimborne might not be as big as cities like London, Liverpool, or Manchester, it is a place many call home. One of those people who call it home is Hayley Davis, the only senior on the Baylor women’s golf team during this 2014-15 campaign.
Throughout her time at Baylor, Davis has earned numerous honors for her success in the classroom and on the golf course. Those accomplishments, as well as her willingness to listen, is what has made her an influential leader for the Lady Bears.
“I hear her in the back of the van talking to the freshmen about their rounds. She’ll be back there asking them questions for house, ‘What did you do here? What did you feel here?’” head coach Jay Goble said. “She’s not judging them, she’s just trying to ask them really good questions in order for them to figure out what they did wrong and how to become better.”
Davis first heard of Baylor through her friend Hannah Burke (a former All-Big 12 Baylor golfer), but when she came on a visit she fell in love with the campus.
“Baylor was actually the first school I came to visit, and I just kind of love it out here, the area and the people,” Davis said. “It was the first campus in America I’d seen, and I just loved it. As soon as I came, I knew it was the place I wanted to be.”
Even though Davis was where she wanted to be, being so far away from home was difficult, but she was able to surround herself with friends who helped her get used to the country. Davis has not taken for granted her experiences adjusting to the country, and she’s used those experiences to help other students who come from other countries.
Laura Lonardi, Davis’ teammate from Italy, believes it was because of Davis’ help she didn’t feel a strong culture shock when she joined the Baylor program.
“Hayley has always helped me. When I first got here, she was really nice with me since my English was not all that good.” Lonardi said. “I also missed my family, and with her being from Europe as well, she would tell me about her experiences, how she missed her family as well, but that all of it was normal.”
Davis is a world-class athlete who has represented England in various tournaments and is currently on the roster for English national squad. In September, she was one of only three players chosen to play for England in the World Amateur Team Championship.
“When you get picked to represent your country, you always have to go with your ‘A game’ because just like when you play for your college, it’s not just you at the end, you are representing someone else,” said Davis.
Coach Goble sees consistency as one of the significant reasons Davis has experienced so much success, but he also credits her leadership.
“You watch other great golfers and they don’t consistently win,” Goble said. “She consistently does great. She has won tournaments, finished second 13 times, and been in the top 10 in 28 tournaments. She is a really good listener and asks really good questions. The girls feel comfortable talking to her, because they know she’s a tremendous player.”
As the lone senior, Davis has significant influence in the clubhouse, but it hasn’t always been that way. During her freshman season, she remembers always asking her teammates questions, and four years later she understands the importance of mentoring the freshmen.
“I just think as a person I grew up a lot. I relied on my parents for a lot when I was living at home, and they did a lot for me,” Davis said. “Coming out here and having to do a lot for myself, I guess that is the thing that most helped me grow.”
Davis’ maturity has also been noticed by her coach. “I’ve literally watched her go from a kid to an adult.” Goble said.
As Davis’ colligate career is coming to an end, Lonardi knows that the void she is leaving in the team will be hard to fill, but she is confident that her leadership will carry on long after Davis’ collegiate career ends.
“I think it will be really hard to find another girl like Hayley, but she will be here for another year (as a student), and I hope she can help us practice,” Lonardi said. “Hayley is unique, but I feel that even though we will not find another Hayley, the team will be great because of everything she has taught us.”
Davis has the potential to become a professional golfer, but finishing her degree is her first priority.
“I’ll still be here next year, because I have another semester of classes. Then I will do an internship in the spring. After that, the LPGA is definitely the next step,” said Davis.