MATTOON — Kira Wolf didn't think she would be making a decision about her future so quickly. But everything changed when the Mattoon junior visited the University of Minnesota's campus for an official visit Oct. 25-27.
Wolf loved the campus, found out about Minnesota's indoor practice facility and she clicked with Minnesota head coach Michelle Redman.
Wolf didn't plan to commit anywhere, or even playing anywhere north of Mattoon, before the end of her junior year bur Redman and Minnesota swayed her. On the last day of her official visit, Wolf committed to golf for Minnesota starting in 2020.
"I was really excited. I went there on my official visit and I really love it there so I decided I wanted to go there and I committed," Wolf said. "I had been in contact with the coach quite a bit and she watched me at a couple of tournaments over the summer. I've been talking to other coaches but I didn't have as good of a connection with them like I do with the Minnesota coach. I felt like it clicked with her right away. I want to thank my family and my golf coaches in helping me make this big decision."
Redman played on the LPGA Tour for 20 years. She is in her eighth season at Minnesota and has recruited Illinois a bit lately. Jessica Lee and Katie Lillie, both sophomores, from Hinsdale and St. Charles, respectively, are on the roster. Redman has three more golfers who are committed for 2019 and two are from Illinois, players who Wolf has golfed with.
"I know two of them because they are are from the Chicago area and I've played with them at tours over the summer," Wolf said. "She was so happy when I committed. She had been telling me I was the only girl she really wanted for 2020 and was so happy."
Wolf had the desire golf at a school in the south. She had been in contact with other Big Ten programs along with a few schools in the south. Minnesota is about as north as it gets, though. However, Minnesota has a new indoor practice facility that will be completed by the time Wolf gets on campus. Wolf said the practice facility played a role in her commitment to Minnesota.
"The facility is going to be great and we can play there during the winter," Wolf said. "I always wanted to go South because of the weather but when I saw the facility and how beautiful the campus is, everything I wanted was there."
At the moment, Wolf plans to major in biology at Minnesota.
Now instead of taking official visits and narrowing down her college choices, Wolf can relax a bit and focus on golf. She finished with All-State honors as a freshman at the Class 2A state tournament and had a strong summer season. She will continue to participate in a number of summer events and has her senior season in front of her yet.
"I was kind of wanting to wait a little longer to commit, like 2019, but when I was there, I had a feeling that was the college and I didn't want to wait any longer," Wolf said. "It feels really good now that I've made the decision. It's a lot of pressure off me. I still have to keep practicing and keep getting better and progressing. It should be good."