To Hally Leadbetter, Rollins College feels a lot more like what she’s used to – on many levels. It’s why Leadbetter made a tough decision this summer and transferred from University of Arkansas to the small Division II school in Winter Park, Fla., (an Orlando suburb) for her sophomore season.
Ultimately, Leadbetter wanted to be closer to her Bradenton, Fla., so she could work more with dad David Leadbetter, the well-known instructor. Even though that’s a good move for her game, she recognizes that Arkansas served it’s purpose, too.
“I love Arkansas and I do not regret my decision,” she said. “… I was there because I knew it could help me reach my goals in golf.”
At Rollins, Leadbetter still will find similar competition. Four of Rollins’ five fall starts are in Division I-dominant fields. In Leadbetter’s first start with the Tars, at last week’s “Mo”Morial played at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, (site of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Championship), she tied for 54th.
Leadbetter redshirted last season as the Razorbacks finished the spring ranked No. 6 by Golfweek. Leadbetter played 22 rounds as a freshman in 2011-12 and averaged 78.95. She formed fast friendships in Fayetteville, Ark., but at Rollins, falls in line with Annie Dulman, last year’s Division II player and freshman of the year.
“She’s going to push me,” Leadbetter said. But so will the professors.
Rollins is not the type of school where you can “pull out your phone and start texting,” Leadbetter says. Compared to Arkansas’ vast campus, Rollins feels a lot more like what she was used to at IMG Academy’s Pendleton School.
“I feel really engaged in my classes,” she said of the liberal arts college.
Leadbetter is pursuing a degree in critical media and cultural studies at Rollins, with an eye on a possible career in golf journalism – the broadcast kind. She recognizes that the suburbs of Orlando, Fla., aren’t too bad a location for that dream, either.
“Orlando is a great place for golf.”