“We couldn’t have done it without Clippd.” How Wake Forest became National Champions

Words by
Ryan Potter, Associate Head Coach
“We couldn’t have done it without Clippd.” How Wake Forest became National Champions

How did Wake Forest’s women’s golf team win its first ever National Championship? With talent to burn, a fearsome work ethic and by following what Clippd told them. Associate Head Coach Ryan Potter shares the inside story.

We went all in with Clippd about a year ago. The product is great and I recommend it to everyone that asks me. But what sets Clippd apart is the care they provide us. For a women's golf program to get the kind of care that we get is really unusual. Clippd is just as much a part of our success as the players on our team. We couldn't have done it without them.

A case in point is the bespoke What To Work On analysis that Clippd did for us before the NCAA finals at Greyhawk. What it told us was right in line with everything that we had been talking about all year. There were, however, a couple of specific things it threw up that we practiced a lot on in between regionals and nationals. That really helped us. 

We always talk about peaking or trending at the right time and Clippd has helped us to do that. The more information you get into the platform, the more it guides your practices along the way. If you have that information and you put in the work, as our players do, it's going to help you move towards your goals. 

We play a hard sport, so you need to have that confidence inside yourself. If you don't, you're not going to last. We make sure that our players know what their weapons or their superpowers are, which Clippd shows us. That's really paid dividends for them. 

I love how Clippd highlights the good things you do. In our meetings I'll tell the players what they need to work on. But I also make sure to remind them what they do well. Just because you're good at something doesn’t mean you're always going to always be good at it, especially if you don't focus on it. So we make sure that they focus on their strengths as well.

Everyone has bought into Clippd. The players love the product and they keep working hard. That's how we’ve got to where we are. Here’s how I’ve used Clippd with the players.

Emilia Migliaccio

Emilia was our rock. She’s older, she's experienced and she's obviously been really successful along the way. She's played a bunch of matchplay and she's the reigning North and South amateur champion, so she's seen it all. It’s one of the reasons we put her out first every day. It gave her confidence, but also gave the team confidence. They all felt like Emilia was going to win a point.

Emilia has always been a really good ball striker but the biggest thing for her this year is she really improved her putting. What Clippd did for her is she could see when her Player Quality score for putting score was high, she scored well because she was capitalising on her iron play. Just having that number in front of her was big. It's the truth and you can't argue with it. 

She spent more time on the greens and she spent it doing the right stuff. Emilia realised she had to put herself in situations in practice where she had to make a four footer or had to make a 12 footer to complete the drill and walk away. 

For her to change how she does things – and Emilia always works hard, and then to get the reward in matchplay, that was really cool to see.

Lauren Walsh

I love all the girls on our team, but if I was going to say I'm happiest for one person, it would probably be Lauren because of her journey over the last year or so. She always works hard, she never has a bad day and I can't say enough about her as a person and a player. 

When we started working with Clippd last summer, she was the first person that popped into our minds. She'd been a really good player for us as a freshman, she was an All-American and she was on a team that had won a bunch of times and was ranked number one before COVID hit. 

But last spring, she really struggled with her ball striking. Her putting was okay, but it wasn't great. When we brought Clippd to her, she was really excited about the opportunity. I put all of her data in from the spring and, coupled with how we had played at Greyhawk, it meant we could have a conversation. We dived into the data and came up with a plan around what was inhibiting her from playing good golf. To her credit, she worked really, really hard over the summer. 

"Lauren loves Clippd and she's going to continue to use it as she turns professional this year"

Clippd said it was her putting that was really making a big difference. I didn’t quite see it but Charlie and Elliot from Clippd went through everything and it made sense. Her ball striking got better and that really helped, but her putting got significantly better. She holed so many putts 15 feet at the finals. It’s so cool that Clippd picked up on things that maybe we saw, but we didn't give as much credit as we should have. 

It's become part of the culture within our team that the players will ask me what I saw in the stats. Lauren loves Clippd and she's going to continue to use it as she turns professional this year. That initial talk in the summer about where her deficiencies may lie and then her going to work on it was huge. Then she saw the benefit in it and just continued on that streak and she reached the pinnacle at Greyhawk.

Rachel Kuehn

Week in, week out, Rachel is probably our most consistent player. Just knowing that Rachel's out there with you and knowing she can be good for a 68 or a 64 at times is really comforting to everybody else. She's a great putter, she's always in it and she's a great competitor. 

At the very start, we introduced Clippd to the players. Within about a week, Rachel came up to me and said, "Ryan, I know that you really like this, but I'm not sure I'm going to like Clippd.” I explained to her that Clippd is for me to help her translate what she is doing, what we need to work on and what we're doing well. I just kind of let it rest with that.

What’s great about Clippd is that it has something for everybody. At the first tournament, Rachel and Lauren were in the van and they were looking at the three best shots and three worst shots of the day. That became a ritual for them. After they input their data, they would try to guess what their best shots and worst shots were. That got Rachel started on the journey to really enjoying using the whole interface.

Clippd has done a couple of things for Rachel. She's always viewed herself as being long, a good ball striker and a good putter. But she always felt her chipping was bad. What Clippd showed is that her short game is good enough and she’s actually an elite putter. What she needed to work on was her approach play as it’s the area of her game that can move the needle when she goes to the next level. 

"Clippd has identified things in Rachel's game that she needed to know"

You may have some misconceptions about who you are as a player, good or bad. Walking to a golf course, you need to know that you’re an elite putter. It gives you confidence. Knowing that she’s a better chipper than she gave herself credit for was also really important to Rachel’s confidence. 

Finally in the late fall, Rachel came to me and said, “I've realised that this is the area I need to work on if I want to be a great professional.” Sometimes that's hard to tell yourself, but when it's staring you in the face, I don't know if you have a choice. She's really taken that on and she's working on it. For her, Clippd has identified things in Rachel's game that she needed to know. If you don't have that data, then it's all just a guess.

Carolina Chacarra

Carolina is a great talent and a hard worker. Her and her brother both love the game and they practiced together and pushed each other their whole childhood. We're very fortunate to have her on our team. She's very coachable and just one of the kindest individuals I've ever met.

She had a great freshman year. She won a couple times, was named ACC Freshman of the Year and was an All-American. She would say that she struggled a little bit this season and I think a lot of that was expectations, which were probably more self-imposed than anything else. That's normal. Golf is hard and you have to deal with a lot of stuff. 

I would not say that she struggled. She's had a great year for us - second team All-American, All-ACC team. She may not have broken through in the win category but sometimes that’s just about everything coming together and having a great week. 

Carolina is an elite ball striker. Her and Jennifer Kupcho are probably the two best drivers of the golf ball I've ever coached. When you start like that and you're in the fairway and you're a good iron player, which she is, it makes things really easy. 

"Carolina and Jennifer Kupcho are probably the two best drivers of the golf ball I've ever coached"

The main thing with Carolina is her putting. She viewed herself as a below average putter and we've had to really work on her perception of herself and the idea that she can improve and she can make herself a better putter. 

What Clippd told us is that she hit it inside 15 feet a lot for birdie but needed to start making more of those putts if she wanted to shoot 68. We did a lot of training on that and she's gotten to where she's making four, five, six out of ten from 8-15 feet on our greens, which is probably above average for tour players. 

The difference between lipping out a putt from ten feet and holing one and getting a fist pump and moving on to the next hole, that's big for Carolina. In my opinion, it accounts for more than one shot. She has come a long way in her chipping and her putting has really improved a lot. I think she'll come back and have a really good year for us. 

Mimi Rhodes

I'm proud of all of the players but I'm so excited for how far Mimi has come this year. She's started working harder, she's started working smarter and she's got the reward.

We use Clippd a lot with her to identify the best area for her to spend her time on. Mimi is not the longest but she's always in play. She's a great iron player and she hits a lot of greens. Clippd showed us that she needs to chip it closer and she needs to stop three-putting. 

Mimi is a range rat. She loves hitting balls but I think it hit home for her that if she wants to play professionally in about a year and a half, which she does, she needs to start spending her time a little differently. And it's not on the range because that part of her game is good. 

"Clippd showed us is that Mimi should spend more time on her short game. It really paid off for her"

What Clippd showed us is that she should spend more time on her short game. We promised her that it would pay dividends and it has. She was not on the range very much this spring. She started coming to us, asking. 'What do I need to do now for my performance?' We have some drills that she could do on her own. Spending more time doing that really paid off. 

You've got to buy into the process. Then you've got to put the work in and then you've got to get the reward. I am just really happy that she got the reward. That's going to keep her going and she's going to bring that into her summer golf and she's going to come back and be a veteran and a leader and someone who has just really improved for us.

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