Beth Coulter – Coming to America 

John Craven

Beth Coulter - Image courtesy of ASU

When Beth Coulter packed her bags for college ahead of a move to America at Arizona State, her biggest concern was the time difference.  

Just 18 and jetting off across the Atlantic into the unknown, the proud Ballygalget gal knew her system was in for a shock on arrival but it was an opportunity she was never going to pass up.  

Now firmly embedded into life at ASU, Coulter has quickly found a home away from home, and the excitement that spilled into anxiety before leaving has turned to complete satisfaction in her new surrounds.  


“Everything’s going really, really good,” Coulter beams. 

“Obviously you come out here and you’re a bit nervous, you’re a bit scared, you don’t know what’s going to happen but I couldn’t have imagined it going any better. 

“It’s a completely different world out here. Our facilities are second to none. Our coaches are great, practice is always fun and I’ve made best friends already.  

“The weather is obviously so nice as well, it’s starting to get really warm again, and it’s just so nice to be in that environment every single day.  

“You get that with the coaches and the National team back home every once in a while but to get it here every day and get your education as well is really, really cool.” 

Following in the footsteps of Sun Devil legend Olivia Mehaffey who has proven a real mentor for Coulter, the teenage talent has quickly put down roots, with flavours of home and new friends easing her transition into all things Arizona. 

“It’s a home away from home,” Coulter says. “I’ve made really good friends out here. Two of the girls in the team, we’re best friends, we do everything together. You spend 24 hours a day with these girls, I’m living with them as well so it’s really important to establish those relationships with your teammates, and even people outside of golf. 

“I remember Aine [Donegan – Irish teammate at LSU] saying to me that when she first came over, that you have to find the closest thing that feels like home, it’s just figuring that out and sticking with it and it’s really helped me.  

“I was expecting to be so homesick. I grew up in a small place where everything is eat, sleep, breathe camogie and hurling. Now I’m in such a big place so it’s about finding those things that work for you and what doesn’t.” 

Golf clearly provides an avenue to something familiar. With Stephanie Meadow and Leona Maguire paving the way for young Irish girls to carve a path onto the LPGA Tour, the U.S. collegiate system has been a happy hunting ground for several Irish internationals, with Coulter relishing reunions with national teammates any chance she gets. 

“The tournaments are so fun,” she says. “It’s nice to get out of the dorm and it’s great to travel and meet the Irish girls as well.  

“There’s so many of us out here. Aine [Donegan], Anna [Foster], Lauren [Walsh], Sara [Byrne]… it’s really nice to see a familiar face and catch up.” 

Of all the Irish imports to America in recent years, Coulter’s signature was held in higher regard than most. A serial winner back home, including back-to-back Irish Girls Close titles, Coulter arrived to Arizona as the number seven recruit in the entire country.  

A tenacious competitor, her reputation had preceded her but while prominence breeds expectation, Beth’s never considered it a burden. Rather, Coulter takes it as a compliment as she looks to replicate the heights of her glittering career back home at Arizona State. 

“I’m not there yet,” Coulter says. “I probably haven’t hit the ground running as I would’ve liked but with this kind of thing, you just have to find your feet first and I probably still haven’t quite got to that space yet, but I’m getting there. 

“I feel like my game will come with experience. I definitely haven’t produced my best stuff – I’ve seen glimpses of it which is nice – but I feel like I just need a bit more time to adapt.” 

Coulter’s game would eventually click into top gear at the PAC-12 Championship in Arizona where her second-place finish behind world number one Rose Zhang was the best showing from a Sun Devil freshman at the event since Linnea Strom won on debut in 2016. 

“It was really cool to have my first Pac-12s at home,” Coulter says having shot 73, 70, 68 for a five-under tally. 

“I’ve been waiting to have three rounds come together like that for a while. I felt really confident in my game and even the second day after shooting two-under, I was saying to Dad back home that I can go lower tomorrow. 

“I played really solid on the final day. It was so nice to play well at home in front of the other athletes who came out to support, and all the ASU staff as well. 

“In the spring we’ve really come into ourselves and now I know what to expect in the post-season which is quite nice.” 

As Coulter continues to adjust to new courses, new grasses and lightning fast greens, the other piece of the puzzle involves getting to grips with the demands of the college curriculum, a big step up from secondary school where the Kirkistown Castle star is beginning to realise she had it better than good. 

“Life on campus can be tough – trying to juggle your studies with the golf,” Coulter explains. “I definitely found it hard in the fall because in school back home, I’d say they were quite lenient with me!  

“They gave me a few extra days, or they’d say ‘that’s fine, you don’t have to do that’… that’s why I loved school so much! I was missing so much of it through camogie, playing for maybe three teams at once, and obviously missing things for golf.  

“I loved it – people were always asking what I was doing and how I was getting on and I was only there maybe three days a week… 

“Over here it’s very full on! It’s good that this semester you get to pick your schedule. Last semester some of my electives were tough and it’s just about establishing relationships with your professors.  

“Then on the road you have to be ahead. Sometimes it’s tough – you maybe play 18 holes, you practice, you’ve quick time to shower and have dinner and then it’s, ‘OK, I’ve to do this homework here’.  

“You’re figuring out how to stay on top of all that, tricks to getting ahead but thankfully we’ve lots of help with advisors, mentors and tutors… you’ve access to absolutely everything you can imagine to help you along the way.”  

Coulter’s teammates are a constant source of comfort as she continues to adjust to the rigours of third level education and life on the road. 

“The team… Oh my God, it’s just hilarious,” she laughs. “There’s eight of us on the team. We’ve three freshman, we’re always laughing, we’re always joking, we’re really loud. “We’ve a range of personalities, four Europeans and four Americans. And it’s not just about the golf. We go for brunch and dinner, we go hiking.  

“The coaches are great too – they’re all really sarcastic which I love. It was tough at the start because they didn’t really understand my accent with how quickly I spoke but we’re fairly into it now – not as many problems with that I’d say so I guess I can just focus on the golf!” 

And where better to knuckle down to the grind than Arizona State University, where it’s not just the Sun Devil students striving for improvement but those who’ve reached the very pinnacle of the sport, including recent Masters champion and ASU alum, Jon Rahm. 

“The facilities are out of this world – there’s not a shot you can’t hit out there,” Coulter gushes.  

“It’s so fun having all the boys and girls there at the same time. We’re always having matches against each other, playing the loop. We have the big long table, 12-15 foot long and everyone, including the coaches, we’re all having lunch together. It’s just a really nice hang out spot.  

“You can spend your whole day out there. You can do your homework, recover, go to the gym – it’s just really nice, and it’s so cool to see the people you’re exposed to. 

“You’ve all the LPGA Tour pros – Carlota Ciganda, Mel Reid. Jon Rahm’s been there. Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau, Olivia Mehaffey’s been there. All the alums coming through.  

“It’s great to be able to see what they do and try to use those things to help with your own game. It’s an amazing environment and it’s massively motivating.” 

Coulter’s PAC-12 debut in numbers 

  • 73, 70 & 68 (-5) 
  • 2nd – Coulter’s runner-up result at the PAC-12 Championship was the highest for a freshman since Linnea Strom won in 2016 
  • 68 – Final round one of just five final day rounds in the 60s 
  • 3.87 – Scoring average on the par-4s was the second best of anyone 

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.