Before becoming the second woman to join Charlotte’s Women’s Golf team and earning the Conference USA Women’s Golfer of the Week twice, Ashley Fowler was once 4,000 miles away in her hometown of Heidelberg, Germany picking up a golf club for the first time.
“I grew up [playing golf] with my brother and my only goal was to beat him,” said Fowler, “Everything I did was beating my brother.”
Though she got a late start playing golf at the age of 13, Fowler seeked out the thrill of competition which started catching the attention of her coaches. Not long after she started playing, she traveled to the U.S. to play in a tournament for the German national golf team. It didn’t take long for Coach Holly Clark to take notice of Fowler’s game while she was the assistant coach of the women’s golf team at Vanderbilt.
“I kept in touch with one of the German national coaches, and he told me I needed to keep an eye on her,” said Coach Clark. “I really believed she had the talent and ability to be good and if she has the ability to be patient, she can be really good.”
From that point on Fowler was on the radar of Coach Clark and when she came to Charlotte in 2015 to start up the women’s golf team, she knew Fowler was one of the first people she needed to recruit for their first season in 2017.
“[Getting recruited to come to America] was completely new to me since I’m from Germany and we don’t have college golf,” explains Fowler.
Growing up in a bilingual house made the language barrier non-existent for Fowler coming to the U.S., but her biggest challenge was adjusting to the American lifestyle and being 4,000 miles away from home.
“It’s very stressful at times not living in your parent’s house anymore,” said Fowler. “Some people live a couple of hours down the road and if they really wanted to see [their parents] they could, but it’s hard having to get on a plane for eight hours to see them.”
As many students know, having a good support system is crucial when transitioning to college. But Fowler and the five other women on the initial women’s golf team didn’t have the experience of upperclassmen to lean on. That’s a role that Fowler has begun to take in her junior year at Charlotte, especially with five of the nine players on the team being international students.
“I think we learned how important it is to teach [the international students] about the culture and certain things we do,” states Fowler. “I think it’s good they have people they can look up to and ask questions.”
With Fowler’s leadership, Charlotte has been able to secure five top tens, along with a tournament victory in the Yale Invitational earlier this month. She has three top-five finishes, three top-10 finishes, the best score of 66, and an average shot of 71.25.
“[Ashley] has the heart of a teddy bear. She is just a caring person, a leader by example and not afraid to be vocal when she needs to be,” said Coach Clark.
The Niners next tournament tees off Nov. 4 in Macon, Ga. for the Idle Hour Collegiate where they finished second last year. Fowler and her fellow teammates seek to find their second tournament victory of the year and build upon an already solid season.