One-on-one with Jamie Susanin '17
Jamie Susanin ’17, one of two seniors on the women’s golf team, has consistently led Dartmouth in scoring performance all season. Making a resurgence from a quiet junior year season, Susanin helped the Big Green secure a fifth-place tie at the Ivy League Championships with Brown University this past weekend.
When did you first start playing golf? What was your first impression of the sport? Why have you continued?
JS: I started playing golf when I was about 6 years old, and I wasn’t the biggest fan because of how frustrating the game is. I continued to play casually with my family as a way to spend time together and ended up falling in love with the game.
Why did you choose Dartmouth?
JS: I loved Dartmouth as soon as I stepped foot on campus. I then met [women’s golf head coach Alex] Kirk, and we couldn’t have gotten along better. He seemed to genuinely care about his players both on and off the course, which was very important to me and has held true over the last four years. I immediately knew that this was the perfect program for me.
What has your experience been like balancing golf, school and your personal life, especially when you’re traveling so much?
JS: Our fall and spring seasons are relatively short and very compact, which means we really only have time for school and golf during those weeks. We often leave on a Wednesday or Thursday, return late Sunday nights and do so for a few weeks in a row. That makes it hard to balance everything, but after having a few injuries I came to really appreciate the ability to compete and represent Dartmouth, despite it being so time consuming.
Coming off of your sophomore year as one of the best finishers on the team at the Ivy League Championships, you only made two appearances during your junior year. Can you tell us a little bit about what happened? From that, coming into this season, have you changed any particular aspect of your game or training in order to improve your game?
JS: I competed in two of the four events my junior fall, and I actually was playing better at that point than sophomore year. I didn’t compete in the other two events because the level of competition on our team has risen so much, which is really a testament to how our coach recruits new players who keep raising that bar of competition. I unfortunately missed the entire spring season due to a back injury but spent a lot of time over the summer getting ready for the fall and working with the strength coaches to stay healthy.
You’ve had a great year. What has propelled your performance? What have you found works — or doesn’t — for you and the team this season?
JS: This season in particular I have been trying to enjoy my last few months of college golf and that has helped me keep everything in perspective. Not getting too upset at a few bad holes or inconsistent shots has been a big factor this season.
Do you feel extra pressure to perform at a higher level because you are one of two seniors on the team? What is the team dynamic like?
JS: It’s an honor that Tara [Simmons ’17] and I are both still competing during our senior year, which actually takes some pressure off of us. Because golf is an individual sport, the team is competitive within itself, and we consistently challenge each other to make the team better. Despite the difficulty of playing an individual sport as a team, everyone is very supportive of one another, and I couldn’t picture myself on a different team.
What can you say about the team’s recent performance?
JS: The fall and spring season so far have been some of our best performances. We set several school records in the fall and have been working to continue those low rounds this spring.
Coming to the end of your senior year and collegiate golf career, what achievement from your time here at Dartmouth are you particularly proud of?
JS: I am incredibly proud of the progress that our team has made over the last four years. Our team scoring average has dropped significantly, and my individual scoring average has decreased as well. One of my goals going into college golf was to get better as an individual, and I owe a lot of that progress to my teammates and coaches. I am also very proud to have been a part of this team.
What do you plan to do after Dartmouth? Any plans to continue playing golf?
JS: I’ll be working near home in Philadelphia, [Pennsylvania] and after a small break from competitive golf, I’m excited to still be able to play amateur golf.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.