Houston’s golf record books include 16 NCAA Championship titles and eight individual national champions. As head men’s coach Jonathan Dismuke says, it seems only fitting to try to expand on that legacy with the addition of a women’s team. It’s with that thinking that Houston will add women’s golf to its roster of sports next fall.
The addition of women’s golf marks the first time in more than 10 years that Houston has added a sport, and brings the total number of programs to 17. Softball was the last sport added, in 2001, and since has made six NCAA postseason appearances.
As Dismuke explains, Houston needed another women’s sport to meet Title IX regulations for gender equity as the school moves from Conference USA to the Big East Conference in 2013. Talk of adding women’s golf had been on the table for some time, and its addition recently received a unanimous vote from the state Board of Regents.
“Houston is such a golf-rich university,” Dismuke said. “That’s part of what attracted me to the university four years ago.”
Dismuke, who celebrated a victory at the Lone Star Invitational with his men’s team on Tuesday, will become the director of golf as assistant coach Chris Hill takes the reins for the men’s team. A national search for a head women’s coach will begin early in 2013, and Dismuke hopes to have a coach in place by June. In the meantime, Dismuke and Hill will begin the recruiting process.
Houston’s women will not compete as a team until the 2014-15 season, but Dismuke hopes to have two individuals to compete next fall. That decision is based on a hybrid start-up model that he put together after watching J.T. Horton build a Clemson women’s program, which will begin team competition in the fall.
“I think we need to do something just to get some experience,” Dismuke said.
The Houston men already are taking full advantage of the new Dave Williams Golf Academy, a facility that opened in August. Combine that with favorable Texas weather and access to courses such as Redstone Golf Club, site of the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open, and Dismuke has high hopes for a Houston women’s team.
“This is a new program, but the way we’re doing it, it’s not like we’re doing it from scratch,” Dismuke said. “… We haven’t had a women’s program, but we have such a rich (golf) history.”