Fullerton College’s star golfer continues to improve after years of dedication

Jared Chavez

Coaching an experienced player that has a sophisticated approach is every head coach’s dream job. That is how Fullerton College women’s golf coach Naveen Kanal feels about redshirt freshman Chelsey Gutierrez.

Hornets' golfer Chelsey Gutierrez placed first at Monday's round at Coyote Hills after shooting a 78 (40-38).
Hornets’ golfer Chelsey Gutierrez placed first at Monday’s round at Coyote Hills after shooting a 78 (40-38). Photo credit: Blare Parke

“She is studious, judicious, and meticulous about her game. Her preparation is mathematical and that helps because now we are talking about nuance and we’re talking about the intricacies,” Kanal said at Monday’s golf event where Gutierrez placed first among six other schools. Gutierrez has taken first three times out of the six tournaments at this point in the season.

As easy as Gutierrez may make her success seem, she has spent years practicing and developing her craft. She began golfing at the age of ten and has played plenty of competitive rounds to prepare her for college golf.

“I’ve been playing for nine years and I’ve been pretty competitive about it for nine years as well. I was more competitive in high school, so I think that’s what helped my game the most,” Gutierrez said. She graduated from Troy High School in Fullerton, California, but couldn’t play her first year at Fullerton College because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gutierrez later explained how after missing out on a year of golf, she is glad to be back and participate with the Hornets. She also mentioned that she’s worked to improve certain aspects of her game since the pandemic to prepare her for college golf.

With Gutierrez’s accomplishments with the Hornets, the team has progressed and refined certain aspects that they have been focusing on now halfway through the season.

“I think we’ve made a lot of progress. A lot of our players have been starting to do a little bit better, and even like last week we made an improvement and moved up one place amongst the league,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez's family has enjoyed getting to be a part of her journey.
Chelsey Gutierrez and her parents Lynn and Chad have enjoyed getting to be a part of her journey. Photo credit: Jared Chavez

Since joining Fullerton, her growth as a competitive golfer has made many supporters proud, including her parents, who attended Gutierrez’s performance at Coyote Hills.

“She played probably, I would say, well over a hundred tournaments,” Chelsey’s father, Chad Gutierrez said. “She’s had her share of wins and share of losses, so it’s always a new thing and you see them develop almost every single time because they’re presented with something brand new on the course.”

Despite having the busy schedule of a student-athlete, the Gutierrez family still has managed to spend a lot of time together.

“I spend every practice, waking up and getting her ready, and, you know, just being on the course for everything. I walk all the courses just to see her play. That’s my passion,” Chelsey’s mother, Lynn Gutierrez said while wearing Fullerton College’s supportive gear.

Gutierrez plans on working on her putting and chipping this season.
Gutierrez plans on working on her putting and chipping this season. Photo credit: Blare Parke

Not only is Chelsey making a statement on the golf course, she is also very impressive in the classroom. She is majoring in economics and is a tutor for calculus II and economics. With her hard work being presented everywhere, coach Kanal believes she would fit well with top UC schools and private universities.

Due to the women’s golf season nearing the end, the Hornets will be relying heavily on Gutierrez to continue her success during the future tournaments, with the Orange Empire Conference Finals beginning on Nov. 1.