Celia Barquin's murder complicates feeling of security playing golf alone

Iowa State Athletics

Celia Barquin's murder complicates feeling of security playing golf alone

College

Celia Barquin's murder complicates feeling of security playing golf alone

There isn’t a parking garage, back alley or elevator in America that doesn’t heighten my senses. I look for the nearest exit in movie theaters and at concerts. I look toward the ground when passing any man on the street at night on my own. I often carry mace on walking trails. Even in church I sometimes look for the plain clothes security guards. It’s second nature for women in particular to be on guard in today’s crazy world.

But not on a golf course. I’ve never once imagined that anything truly awful could happen on a golf course. Never looked over my shoulder in fear or quickened my step. Sure I’ve worried that someone might steal my wallet or range finder while I’m in the pro shop. But even that would be rare.

The death of Celia Barquin Arozamena shattered that sense of security. The golf community mourns not only the death of a promising, radiant young player, but the sense of peace these vast playgrounds provide.

At the heart of every champion’s foundation is the work that no one sees. It’s the hours spent alone on a golf course, sweeping dew and chasing the sun. Those quiet times allow for focused practice. It’s where dreams take shape.

“The number of times that I was out on the golf course or the practice facility by myself, especially in college,” said two-time LPGA winner Heather Daly-Donofrio, the tour’s chief communications and tour operations officer. “I used to call it the great escape at Yale’s golf course, getting out on that back nine where you couldn’t see any adjacent holes.”

It never crossed her mind to be afraid.

Women across all levels of the game have put themselves in Barquin Arozamena’s shoes in recent days, recalling all the rounds they’ve played alone. The Iowa State star’s death was seemingly random, the kind of senseless crime one hopes never happens again.

But it’s there now, in the minds of every high school and college coach across the country. Of every parent who drops their child off at the local club.

Cris Stevens was on her way to a fellowship meeting on the Symetra Tour when she called. On Tuesday, she was at a college event. Stevens has been the LPGA’s lay chaplain since 1982, and it’s during times like these that she hears from generations of players from across the globe.

Barquin Arozamena’s death has shaken our game to the core.

“They grieve for each other,” she said. “It’s not just competition for them.”

How do we find hope in this?

Stevens points to the words of Barquin Arozamena’s mother, who told Iowa State coach Christie Martens that if she had do it all over again, she would still send her daughter to Ames, Iowa.

Barquin Arozamena was at the place she loved, doing what she loved. Living life to the fullest.

“We can’t control these evil things that happened,” said Stevens. “But what you can do is have a community that cares and has compassion and looks out for each other.”

Barquin Arozamena built that community at Iowa State. It’s obvious even to those who never met her. The outpouring of support brings comfort knowing it was a life well-lived.

One of the biggest things that attracted Daly-Donofrio to golf was that she didn’t need anyone else to enjoy it.

“I loved the solitude,” she said. “It was something I could keep all for myself. Something about this is inherent in the beauty of the game.”

Barquin Arozamena’s tragic death has weakened our trust in that solitude. But one gets the feeling that the sparkling Spaniard would want us to keep living freely. To once again find peace in the sanctuaries of this deeply spiritual game. To give that gift to someone else.

• • •

An official memorial fund named the “Remembering Celia Memorial Fund” has been established. The funds collected will be directed to Celia’s family to be used to honor her memory. Checks should be made payable to the Remembering Celia Memorial Fund and directed to First National Bank, 405 Fifth Street, Ames, Iowa 50010.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home