Rasmussen takes over as Ridgefield girls golf coach

Jo Rasmussen got her Connecticut coaching certificate in 2014. Three years later, she finally has a place to use it.

Rasmussen was recently named as the new head coach of the Ridgefield High girls golf team, which begins its 2017 season next month.

“I feel very honored and grateful that [Ridgefield High Athletic Director] Dane [Street] trusted me with this position,” said Rasmussen, a personal trainer who owns Fitness Works in Westport. “This is something I have wanted to do for a while. I know the Ridgefield team struggled last season, but I think we are going to be much improved this year.”

Usually one of the FCIAC’s better teams, a young Ridgefield squad won just one of 12 matches last season and failed to qualify for either the conference or state tournaments. But with nearly all of their players expected to return — Casey Snow was the lone senior in 2016 — the Tigers should be more competitive this spring.

“I’ve met with the captains (seniors Maya Christianson and Lauren Coughlin) and spoken to each player individually,” said Rasmussen. “I told them that one of my goals is to win all of our home matches. We need to become a team that is hard to beat on its home course. That’s the first step.”

Ridgefield’s two best players last season were a freshman (Alyssa Maiolo) and a sophomore (Caroline Bunt). Maiolo made the All-FCIAC West team and Bunt received All-FCIAC honorable mention.

“It’s nice having so many players who are returning,” said Rasmussen. “And from what I’ve heard, there may be some new players who could also be a big help.”

A native of Singapore who moved to Westport in 1987, Rasmussen began playing golf in 2000, when she was 40 years old. “A friend said that I needed a hobby, and I decided to try golf,” said Rasmussen. “I’m the type of person that once I commit to something I am all-in. That’s how it was for me with golf.”

Rasmussen has gone on to win eight club championships at H. Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield and four club titles at the Longshore Golf Club in Westport. She has also competed regularly in both the Connecticut Women’s Open and the Connecticut Women’s Amateur, and she qualified for the US Senior Women’s Amateur in in 2014 and 2016.

“As I quickly found out, golf requires strong focus and determination. I call it the 15th club — the psychological and emotional part,” said Rasmussen. “I think I can help the Ridgefield players with that part of the game, which is so important for success.”