Pauls coaches golf for first time without child on team

Kaete Schmidt

More stories from Kaete Schmidt

For the first time in seven years, head golf coach Joanie Pauls will not be coaching one of her children. Pauls began coaching girls golf in 2004 and later went on to begin coaching boys golf as well in 2010.

Her first year coaching boys, Pauls was the JV coach while her oldest son, Lane, played varsity. The following year, Pauls had the chance to coach her daughter, Lexi, on the girls golf team. Her youngest son, Tanner, had the opportunity to play golf under his mother’s coaching for his entire high school career.

Although Pauls did coach her kids for the past seven years, it was not always the same for her.

“Each one of my kids had a different personality. My daughter liked someone to be around all the time. She liked someone to be watching. My sons had a little bit more of a temper. They were probably a little bit more of perfectionists,” Pauls said. “Sometimes I know they probably reacted or said stuff to me at tournaments that they probably wouldn’t have reacted that way to another coach. But, when your coach is your parent too and you’re frustrated, sometimes you just let it out.”

Not only did the kids react differently to Pauls’ coaching and have different wants and needs, she also had to figure out a balance between their relationship as mother and child or coach and player.

“The bad thing too is that if you have a rough tournament then you have to come home and be together still. You have to quit coaching them and just let it go until the next day,” Pauls said.
Coaching her own children for years, it became difficult at times, but there were definitely some big advantages to it.

“The nice thing is that you have the ability to go to all of their events. When you’re not a coach it is hard. Especially with golf being during the day and you just can’t get days off. So, it’s nice to be a part of that,” Pauls said.

Although all of Pauls’ kids have now graduated and she is no longer their coach, she still has the opportunity to watch them as they play golf in college. Lane attended Kansas City Community College and transferred to Hayes, Lexi went to Bethany, and Tanner is a freshmen at Ottawa University.

“Now that they’re in college, when I go to watch them, I can’t talk to them at all. So, it’s hard as a parent watching when you see something and you know you could probably help them with and you just have to be quiet about it,” Pauls said.

Without her kids on the course with her, Pauls has definitely noticed a difference.

“I honestly think it is a lot easier when they’re not here to coach. My daughter she graduated in 2014 so this is the 3rd year I have coached that she wasn’t on the team and it is kind of nice not to have to take everything home. Like having to go home after practice and then listen to either what they thought or their complaints,” Pauls said.

Although Pauls has noticed some benefits to no longer coaching her kids, she is grateful for the time that she did have the opportunity to coach them.

“I think it made us a lot more close just that we always had that to share I mean it’s something we all still share now,” Pauls said. “Even now when they come home on the weekends, we all go play golf. My dad plays a lot of golf and my husband plays golf so it’s always been kind of a family activity that we could all do together.”