Down the Fairway: Albany Academy for Girls standout Swedick makes her college choice

Woman with golf club after stroke

Albany Academy for Girls junior Kennedy Swedick has committed to play collegiate golf at the University of Virginia.

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More than 30 college golf programs, including the likes of Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale, were extremely interested in recruiting Albany Academy for Girls junior sensation Kennedy Swedick. In the end, the 16-year-old Clifton Park resident chose a place that made her feel like family.

Swedick, who won both the NYS Women’s Amateur and the NYSPHSAA Girls Championship last season, recently announced that she made an early commitment to play for the University of Virginia Cavaliers, a perennial national power that finished 15th in last season’s NCAA Championships.

“I am thrilled,” Swedick said of her decision. “It was definitely a fun process, but I’m relieved it’s over. Now, I can focus hard on getting better over the next 18 months.”

Swedick was asked if there was any pressure making her college choice so early from so many great programs.

“Honestly, it didn’t wear on me at all. Sometimes, it was stressful seeing all those coaches, but it was more intimidating on the course than off of it. Learning about all those schools was a lot of fun, and it was a great experience. Everyone was so nice,” she said.

Her recruiting trip to Virginia sealed the deal.

“The whole trip there was incredible,” she said. “Just being on campus felt so nice. Their practice facility blew me away, and being in that team atmosphere made me feel just like family. It was a dream come true for me.”

The Cavaliers’ coaching staff showed just how much they cared about their next young recruit right off the bat.

“We had a delay in our flight down there. We were supposed to arrive around 10 p.m., but we got delayed, and the coach told us not to worry. She was there waiting for us at 11:30 p.m. The trip was blast.”

Swedick said the facilities were outstanding in every way.

“First of all, the golf facilities are only 5 minutes from campus. The building itself has two floors with a bunch of rooms where the girls can even go and do their homework,” she explained. “When it’s cold out there, they have 10 hitting bays where you can hit from inside to outside. On the practice range, they had three different types of grasses and a bunch of different targets. You could hit shots up to 180 yards from their outstanding short-game area, and they also have a great par-3 course with 6 holes that you can walk to from the golf building.”

Swedick added that the golf range is right behind the main athletic building and there is always a cart waiting to go out and practice for 18 holes.

“I’m so looking forward to being able to practice there every day,” she said.

Academics are also extremely important to Swedick, and she said UVA takes care of all its student-athletes in and out of the classroom.

“Virginia is one of the top schools in terms of academics. They checked off all the boxes I had, including academics with a great support system. They have a whole building dedicated to student-athletes to help them with their school work,” she said.

Swedick realizes that even though she has a fantastic resume, she will have to earn her playing time at UVA.

“They have qualifiers for their players every week, and only the top 4-5 girls from the qualifiers get to play in the tournaments, depending on how many girls there are,” she said. “They have an amazing schedule. Right now, they are hosting a tournament in Mexico. They do a lot of traveling, and their schedule is packed with the top schools from around the country.”

Swedick said the UVA coaching staff kept tabs on her in various ways leading up to her decision.

“I sent them some videos early on, and then coach watched me play at the U.S. Junior Girls Championship,” Swedick noted. “She saw me play a couple of rounds in Kentucky, and she also flew into the Capital District to see me play a local AJGA event at Normanside CC. I’d say the coach saw me play in person about 5-6 rounds.”

Swedick gained national attention as just a youngster, when she qualified for the national Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club.

She’s dominated the local junior golf scene and the girls’ high school ranks, winning the Section II championship two years ago before securing the Colonial Council title and both the NYS Women’s Amateur and NYSPHSAA Girls Championship last summer at McGregor Links CC.

Swedick has appeared in two national USGA events as well as several PGA Junior competitions. Twice she competed in the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship at Pinehaven Country Club.

“I relied on so many people in making my decision on where to go to college,” Swedick noted. “I talked with everybody I trusted, and they all gave me some great advice. But the one thing that all of them agreed on was that when I went down there for my official visit, make sure I could see myself being there and feeling comfortable. I was definitely sure after I made my visit.”

Swedick, coached by local teaching pro Anders Mattson, now has a year and a half before she starts her college career. There are many challenges to face in the interim, including defending her NYSHSAA Girls Championship in June at The Edison Club and then playing her final scholastic season next fall.

“I want to qualify for some of the larger tournaments. For example, this year I’m going to try to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Amateur and the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach,” she said. “Playing at Pebble Beach is right at the top of my list of courses I want to play. And I definitely would love to play at Augusta National. That’s my No. 1 place I want to play.”

I’ve seen many outstanding young players in my nearly 40 years of covering local golf. Swedick is among the very best, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her continue playing professionally like Capital Region standouts Dottie Pepper and Laura Diaz. I expect Kennedy to continue to be a force on the links everywhere she competes.


Niskayuna High School graduate Justin Klemballa has been recognized by Golf Digest as one of the Best Young Teachers in America, a biennial list of the most talented instructors under the age of 40 for the 2023-2024 seasons. Klemballa teaches at both the Forest Highlands Golf Club and Paradise Valley Country Club in Flagstaff, Arizona and Paradise City, Arizona, respectively. The graduate of the famed Professional Golf Management program at Methodist University honed his craft as an assistant at the Jim McLean Golf Schools.

The Siena College men’s golf team has been picked as the preseason favorite to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Coached by Schuyler Meadows Club head pro Steve Jensen, the Saints’ roster includes former Section II standouts senior Nolan Crowley (Saratoga Springs), senior Matt Ferrari (Croton-on-Hudson), junior Alex Kelley (Shaker) and sophomore Nick Lyons (Albany Academy). The Saints open their spring season at the Gulf Coast Collegiate in Mississippi Feb. 27-28.

The University at Albany women’s team, which finished second a year ago, has been picked third in the MAAC’s women’s preseason poll. Throughout the fall season, multiple Great Danes excelled, including 2022 Freshman of the Year Claudia Blochliger, junior Katelin Richards and rookie Lucia Esteban. Former Epson Tour standout Colleen Cashman is the head coach. The Great Danes open their spring season this weekend at the Columbia Classic in Florida.

The New York State Golf Association has announced that Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle will host the 100th NYS Men’s Amateur Championship Aug. 7-9. It will be the first time a NYSGA championship will be held at Wykagyl CC. The NYS Men’s Amateur was last held in Westchester County when Colonie’s Jay Gunning won at Knollwood CC in 1986. Gunning went on to become a longtime assistant pro at Town of Colonie GC.

Leatherstocking Golf Course Director of Golf Tim Quirk has earned Quarter Century membership in the PGA of America.

Eagle Crest Golf Club Director of Golf Scott Berliner and partner Brian Cairns made the cut at the recent PGA Winter Championship’s Senior-Junior Team Championship at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Mark Anderson has been hired as the next golf course superintendent at Catskill Golf Club.

Mohawk Golf Club will be hosting the inaugural Mohawk Golf Club Women’s Invitational July 30 (1 p.m. shotgun) and July 31 (9 a.m. shotgun). There will be 54 teams of better ball of partners competition, with the teams flighted by lowest handicap.

Reach Bob Weiner at [email protected]

Categories: High School Sports, Sports, Sports

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