Throughout her time at Deerfield, Kimberly Stafford ’19 has always been an outstandingly progressive team leader on campus. As a four-year varsity golf and basketball member, Stafford has been an ample part of Deerfield Athletics’ program. She is now a female captain on a mostly male team during her final season.
Stafford’s entire family plays golf, but it was initially her father that introduced her to the game she has grown to love. Briefly after she first learned to walk, she held her first golf club. Stafford played golf for fun during her elementary years but began to focus on the sport during middle school.
Stafford first joined the Deerfield varsity golf team her freshman year. She said, “It was initially scary joining a team with eight other boys, many of whom were upperclassmen, but it didn’t take too long before we all got comfortable with each other.”
During her freshman year, Stafford enjoyed that her team never put pressure on her, and she just worked her hardest to win. With this work ethic, she grew into the player that she is today.
Head Coach Brendan Creagh believes that Stafford’s presence on the golf team has been steadfast throughout her years.
“She was an impact player for us in her 9th-grade year, and she has improved to become a competitor who is quite literally feared by her opponents.” Creagh said, “In one of our opening matches last year, I overheard a group of young men on two different teams debating who would have to face off against Kimberly. I had a good chuckle listening to a chorus of high school boys saying, “No, you have to play her…I don’t want to play her.”
Stafford’s mind set and hard work throughout her Deerfield golf career has inspired younger players as well as her own peers to strive for their greatest potential.
Deerfield junior varsity golf member Gabriella Hu ’21 affirmed, “Seeing her at a high level on a largely male team motivates me to play my best every single day I come to practice.”
Close friends Harbour Woodard ’19 and Katie Parker ’19 are nothing short of inspired by Stafford in all aspects of her life.
Woodward said, “From tirelessly practicing at the simulator throughout the fall and winter to fearlessly leading her team this spring as the only female and co-captain, she is truly committed to the sport and to achieving excellence. Moreover, her resilience and ability to persevere through whatever comes her way are qualities that I strive to emulate and constantly admire,”
Parker added, “I’ve always appreciated how Kimberly acts as a great role model for female Deerfield athletes. She has often been one of few girls in a heavily male golf program and has performed with inspiring grace and natural talent.”
Although she may be the only female on a mostly male team, Stafford has always felt integrated amongst the team. She said, “It feels pretty normal to me. Some of my closest friends have been people on the golf team, and some of my best memories have been with them.”
Perhaps Stafford’s favorite part about Deerfield Golf is in fact the amazing people and teammates.
“One thing that Deerfield Golf has really taught me is that even though golf is an individual sport, at the end of the day, what matters the most is how you can contribute to the larger team. On bad days, your team can have your back. On good days, you have theirs,” Stafford confirmed.
After a harsh second place finish at New England’s last season, Stafford’s goal is to push her team and herself as far as they can go during her final season with Deerfield Golf.