Sky’s the Limit for Caroline Ordian
After a national championship win and countless regional and national honors, including All-American athlete two years running, SCIAC Athlete of the Year and NCAA Division III Women’s Golfer of the Year, University of Redlands sophomore Caroline Ordian sees a bright future for herself in women’s golf.
This past May, Ordian finished her second year of college as the NCAA Division III women’s golf individual champion, making her the first female golfer to hold this title in Redland’s history, helping lead her team to a sixth-place finish overall, also a program best.
“It was a little different winning this tournament in comparison to others,” said Ordian. “I’ve worked so hard to get where I am.”
Ordian’s road to success has included hard work indeed. Her love for golf and dedication to the sport began 13 years ago at the early age of seven in Palm Desert. Ordian has her father to thank; he got her involved in golf – though he is not a golfer himself.
“One day my dad just took me to a driving range to meet a coach and the rest is history,” she explained. “I don’t remember being interested before my dad’s nudge, but he swears I had been asking to play. My dad is my role model. He got me into the game and even though he doesn’t play, he always supports me to achieve my goals.”
Ordain began playing with the First Tee of Coachella Valley, and is now a volunteer coach for the program.
“The First Tee helped me tremendously, it’s a great program. You learn a lot of life skills and core values that stick with you both on the course and off.”
Ordian credits her First Tee coach, Dustin Smith, for many of her own accomplishments in the sport. His lasting support has helped her grow in the game and stick with the level of dedication needed to achieve such impressive success.
But Smith isn’t Ordian’s only long-lasting coach. She has had the unique opportunity to play under the same coach throughout high school and college, an invaluable advantage.
Jack Stewart coached at Palm Desert High School through many of its most successful seasons before taking a position as University of Redlands as the head women’s golf coach Ordian’s freshman year.
“He knows how I am on the course, how I act,” Ordian says. “He knows what to say if I have a great round and what not to say if I have a bad one, and that helps my mental game. It makes it easier on me, probably on him too.”
Stewart was the one to originally push Ordian to consider the University of Redlands for college.
She had been admiring much larger Division I schools leading into the college application season, but Stewart knew at a Division III school Ordian would have the opportunity to really grow as the star player, and it helped that she immediately fell in love with the campus and Redlands community when she first visited.
Ordian notes the biggest change playing at Redlands is the lack of courses nearby. The University of Redlands plays and practices at three courses, but none are walking distance from the campus.
“It’s weird not having a course within two miles of me at all times. Growing up in the Coachella Valley, I was within five minutes of a course at all times. I was always playing golf, it really enhanced my game.”
This summer, Ordian is home admiring her trophies and practicing every day while she volunteers with First Tee.
“I’m sharpening up different kinds of shots and expanding my repertoire,” says Ordian. “I’m focusing on getting better with putts, hitting into wind and shots you don’t find yourself doing too often.”
It is hard to believe this young golfer needs to expand her repertoire, but with aspirations of qualifying for the LPGA Tour after college Ordian needs to keep her game strong. She is passionate about having a career in golf.
“I’m hoping to play pro after college, see how that goes. But I know I want to work in golf always,” she says.