By: Danny Mooers; Assistant Sports Information Director
For those who grow up in Northwest Iowa, the discussion about whether to attend Dordt or Northwestern is inevitable. It’s even more prominent for local student-athletes. Both schools throw their best sales pitches at the prospects, hoping to allure them away from their rival. Local residents await the decision and the announcement becomes the talk of the town.
For Alyssa Fedders, there wasn’t much debate. The Unity Christian High School graduate had known Dordt head golf coach Mark Christians for years. He’d coached her in volleyball and the families were close friends.
“Northwestern had just built their new golf facility, so I really liked it there,” Fedders said. “But as soon as I came on my visit at Dordt, I knew it was the right place for me.”
She came out of high school with three state meet appearances and finished 9th overall in 2013 and 7th in 2015.
Fedders also committed to play basketball at Dordt with hopes of being able to juggle the two.
Fall of freshmen year arrived, and Fedders had earned her place as Dordt’s number one golfer.
“I was scared at first,” Fedders said. “I figured I would be playing with amazing golfers and have a tough time. But it really wasn’t as different as I expected.”
It took only three tournaments for Fedders to break 80. She shot 79 at the Northwestern invite and tied for third. Fedders had another top-10 finish at the NC DC invite where she had a two-day total of 167; good enough for sixth place. She finished with an overall average of 88.1 on the year.
The transition between freshmen and sophomore year for Fedders gave her more clarity on the future. She decided to give up basketball and focused her time on golf. She spent the offseason working on consistency from 100 yards and in as well as improving the mental side of things.
“Alyssa can compete on a length basis with almost anyone in the GPAC,” Christians said. “But I would describe her short game as hot/cold. Some days she’s dead on and other days it’s the one thing that lets her down.”
Fedders averaged an 85.9 her sophomore year; nearly three strokes better than her freshman campaign. She finished fourth at the Northwestern invite with an 84 and third at Morningside after shooting 82. She found herself outside of the top-20 only once in the 10 tournaments.
Even as a sophomore, she was seen as a leader. Reaching out to the younger players, organizing team bonding activities were all an effort to create as much camaraderie as possible amongst the team.
She started to see a difference in the skill level of the GPAC by her junior year. Teams were broadening their recruiting bases and attracting international players in hopes of boosting their success. It tested the mental abilities of Fedders.
“As I got more experience, I learned to just ‘play to play’,” she said. “I used to get really worked up about bad holes, but I learned to move on and recover. One shot doesn’t ruin an entire round, there’s always a lot of golf left.”
These changes proved to be successful as Fedders improved her average this past season to 83.4. She found herself in the top-ten three more times. A two-day score of 163 at the Buena Vista invite was good enough for fourth. A week later she finished eighth at the CSM invite with a score of 84. She continued her strong play and peaked at the Dordt spring invite. It was the best golf she has played in her first three years.
“I was so relaxed during those rounds,” Fedders said. “The girls I played with I really enjoyed, they were very encouraging. I was four under at one point on the back nine. It was a feeling that I’ve never really felt before.”
She shot 77 and 78 in the two rounds and finished fifth.
With one more offseason to go, Christians believes Fedders’ best golf is ahead of her.
“I think with another strong offseason Alyssa can take her game to the next level,” he said. “Becoming more consistent and confident in her overall game is going to be important. She’s doing a better job at managing emotions and refocusing at rough holes.”
Christians and Fedders are hoping for more solid recruits over the next few years. With the improvement of skill in the GPAC, it’ll take strong play to be competitive. Fedders is continuing to set the tone with an expectancy that the rest of the team will follow suit.