Feature: Laisne adjusts from life in France in first year at Texas

Hicks Layton

Anyone making the transition to college faces all kinds of difficulties — from making new friends to being away from family. For freshman women’s golfer Agathe Laisne, who was born and raised in Paris, France, these challenges are coupled with trials that many new Longhorn golfers never have to think about.

Laisne, the first French player to ever play for the women’s golf team, arrived at Texas with a standout resume. In 2015, she earned a spot on the European team for the Junior Solheim Cup and competed in her first LPGA major — the Evian Championship — at the age of 16. Last year, Laisne birdied her final hole to capture the European Ladies’ Amateur Championship by one stroke, and she made her second appearance in the Evian Championship.

When anyone moves to America from a foreign country, there can be a steep learning curve. In Laisne’s case, there have been several adjustments she’s had to make in her transition to playing collegiate golf in the United States.

One of them is that she is now part of a team. For most of her junior career, Laisne played for herself, without a team depending on her to perform well.

“Here, you really have to play for the team,” Laisne said. “It’s way more fun to play here because we’re not just playing for ourselves.”

Acclimating to American culture and getting the hang of things has been a difficult task, but Laisne’s teammates have done a lot to make her feel more comfortable.

“There’s always cultural barriers, no matter where you’re coming from internationally,” Texas head coach Ryan Murphy said. “Agathe has a terrific personality, and the team loves her, so I think they’ve all taken her under their wing.”

Laisne’s teammates appreciate the presence she has brought to the team, especially her sense of humor.

“Agathe is one of the funniest, outgoing and honest people I know,” junior Maddie Luitweiler said. “She makes me laugh every day. She is always smiling. She is one of a kind, she does things her own way and is proud to be herself.”

Although her teammates have helped make Texas feel a bit more like home, attending a university so far from her family and friends back in France has still been difficult to adjust to for Laisne.

“At the beginning, it was really hard,” Laisne said. “It’s been hard to come here and not have my routine with my friends and family, but I’m kind of getting used to it and it’s getting better.”

Laisne always knew she wanted to come to the U.S. to play college golf, in hopes of one day playing on the LPGA Tour. Laisne had multiple offers from schools across the country, but she chose Texas for its balance of golf and academics. Her parents were very supportive of her choice to come to UT.

Laisne has also had to adjust to the golf courses here in the U.S. In general, the fairways here are a bit larger compared to most European courses, but the courses are longer. The greens are also faster and more sloped in the U.S., so putting is more difficult.

Laisne’s best finish in a collegiate tournament thus far was a tied-ninth finish last month at the Wildcat Invitational in Tucson, Arizona. Although she didn’t get off to the start she wanted to in the fall, Laisne has some big goals for the rest of the spring.

“I hope to have a chance to win a tournament,” Laisne said. “That would be great. I also want to do well at the NCAA Championship. A win with the team would be really fun.”