For most of her life, Arden Louchheim was a dual-sport athlete in golf and ski racing.
Arden first discovered an interest in golf at just three years old after her family moved to Park City and rented a house on a golf course, which gave the preschooler plenty of chances to hit golf balls, a skill she quickly discovered she was not only good at, but enjoyed. “When you’re a little kid you don’t get to hit stuff very often, so I thought that was fun,” she said.
Ski racing came just a couple years later, in kindergarten, and by the time Arden was in elementary school, she was succeeding in both sports. Thanks to the support of club pros and coaches on the golf course, Rowmark Ski Academy coaches on the mountain, and her parents—whom she credits with a no-pressure approach that drove her interest in both sports—Arden excelled. By the time she was an upper schooler, she was regularly playing in tournaments against the nation’s top young golfers, had joined the Rowland Hall’s girls golf team, and was competing for Rowmark. And though Arden was successfully juggling both sports, alongside her academic responsibilities, over time it started becoming clear that her long-term interest lay in golf. “I knew golf was what I should be doing and what I love the most,” she said. And because Arden wanted to play golf at the college level, she didn’t want to risk a racing injury derailing that goal. “I didn’t want to do anything that could mess up the rest of my golf career,” she said.
Arden has been the player every coach dreams to have on their team. She is dedicated to the game, dedicated to the sport, and inspires everyone else around her.—Brianna Coopman, coach
So Arden made the difficult decision to quit Rowmark after her sophomore year to focus on her golf game, using the time previously spent on the slopes for golf-specific workouts, which target different muscles than ski conditioning does, and golf practices. As she worked, Arden dropped her score significantly—a welcome result as she began contacting schools of interest. With her parents’ help, said Arden, she made a list of schools she’d like to attend, narrowing them down not only based on their women’s golf programs, but also on their size and school pride. Though her family helped her make sure her choices were achievable, said Arden, some of them still felt like a reach, including the NCAA Division I University of Nebraska–Lincoln, which remained in the golfer’s top-three schools during nearly the entire recruiting process. “It felt for a long time that Nebraska was a dream,” she said.
But over time, by highlighting her achievements, determination, and team-positive attitude, Arden built a relationship with Jeanne Sutherland, head coach of Nebraska’s women’s golf team. They first emailed and talked on the phone, then Coach Sutherland came to watch Arden compete in a tournament and ended up offering her a spot on the team. In July, Arden headed to Lincoln for her first visit and immediately felt a connection to the golf team and coaches, and—necessary for the aspiring journalist—Nebraska’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. At the conclusion of their trip, her parents asked her an important question: Would you want to be here with a broken leg?—meaning, if you couldn’t golf, would you still want to attend the school? For Arden, the answer was an enthusiastic yes. Later that month, she verbally committed to Nebraska, and this week she signed her National Letter of Intent, making her an official Husker.
“Arden has been the player every coach dreams to have on their team,” said Brianna Coopman, head coach of Rowland Hall’s girls golf team. “She is dedicated to the game, dedicated to the sport, and inspires everyone else around her. When I heard the news she was signing with Nebraska and the Big Ten Conference, I could not have been a prouder coach. Nebraska will be lucky to have her, and I have full confidence she will excel at both golf and academics during her time there. Congrats! Go, Cornhuskers!”
To celebrate Arden’s decision to golf for Nebraska, we asked her a few questions about her athletic journey. The following interview has been lightly edited.
Congratulations on signing with Nebraska! You’ve long wanted to play golf for a large university; in 2020, you even told HER Fairways, “I would love to play for a D1 women’s golf team at a school with a lot of school spirit and a football team.” How does it feel to know you’ll be attending and competing for a Big Ten school next fall?
It still doesn’t totally feel real. If you compare Nebraska to what I said in the HER Fairways article, it literally checks every box that I had for a college and more. Not only does it have a strong golf program, a football team, and school spirit (for all sports, not just football), it also has one of the best journalism schools in the country, which is what I want to major in. I feel so incredibly lucky that I get to go to Nebraska next year because it truly feels like it is the perfect place for me.
There have been so many people who have put in time and effort to help me achieve this goal.—Arden Louchheim
The recruitment process is a long journey. How did you feel when you received the offer from Nebraska?
Overall, I felt so extremely grateful. Grateful to the Nebraska coaches, Coach Sutherland and Coach Zedrick, for their belief in me; grateful to my parents for their undying love and support; grateful to my coach for all of his guidance with my swing; and grateful to everyone else who supported me on this journey. There have been so many people who have put in time and effort to help me achieve this goal, so it was really amazing to see not only my hard work, but also everyone else’s effort, come to fruition. I also definitely felt some relief. I learned and grew so much from the recruiting process, but it was long and stressful, so it was nice knowing that I had finally reached the end of it.
You've had a successful golf career at Rowland Hall, including helping to lead your team to back-to-back 2A state championships, earning top 2A medalist honors for three consecutive seasons, and being named team MVP twice. What moment as a Winged Lion are you most proud of so far?
I am most proud of the team’s back-to-back state wins. It is really fun to win individually, but it is even more rewarding to come together as a team and achieve our goals as a unit. In the 2021 season I believe we only won state by three strokes, so we knew going into the 2022 season that we needed to practice hard to make sure we defended our state title. Watching all of my teammates come to practice motivated me every day, and seeing all of our hard work pay off with a large margin of victory at state in 2022 is a moment I am very proud of.
As previously mentioned, you’ve achieved so much already as a Rowland Hall golfer, but because girls golf is a spring sport for the UHSAA, you still have one more season to play before graduating. What are your hopes and/or goals for your final season as a Winged Lion?
My two main goals for the season are for the team to defend our back-to-back team state titles and for me individually to gain my fourth state title. My goal going into high school was to be a four-time state champion, so it would be really cool to achieve that goal with a win this year. Other goals I have include setting a new personal best for 18 holes, and maybe even trying to set a 2A record. My 67 in state last year was my personal best and set a Rowland Hall record, and I would love to try to lower that even further.
Tell us about the skills—both academic and athletic—you built at Rowland Hall that you'll be taking with you to Nebraska.
Rowland Hall played a massive part in achieving my goal of playing D1 college golf. Academically, Rowland Hall is a very challenging school, and while balancing golf and school was difficult, it taught me to be disciplined and to manage my time well. I learned to budget the time I had each day for practice, homework, workouts, and social events so that I could excel in academics and athletics while still enjoying time with friends and family. Additionally, the discussions that we have in classes like history and English helped me gain comfort expressing myself clearly and concisely. A lot of the recruiting process is emails and phone calls with coaches, and the speaking skills that Rowland Hall taught me benefited me greatly in these conversations with coaches.
Rowland Hall provided me with a place to grow as an athlete.—Arden Louchheim
Athletically, Rowland Hall provided me with a place to grow as an athlete and to experience team golf for one of the first times. Golf is largely an individual sport, and there are only a couple of team tournaments per year, so getting the chance to play with my classmates representing my school every year has been an incredible experience for me. Additionally, our school’s ski academy, Rowmark, is a very competitive program and the athletes are expected to hold themselves to the team’s high standards. These expectations instilled in me at a young age the responsibility, work ethic, and focus needed to be a member of the team. Once I built these habits, I was able to apply them outside of ski racing, and they have served extremely useful in my golf career, and my life as a whole. I have been at Rowland Hall since kindergarten and I take a lot of pride in this school, so getting a chance to use my athletic skills to represent the school is an opportunity I am very thankful for.
What do you think golf has taught you about yourself?
In my opinion, golf is one of the sports that most closely resembles life, so it has taught me so much about myself as an athlete but also just as a person. First and foremost, golf has taught me that I am a competitor. I love the feeling of adrenaline that comes with a must-make putt or a drive on a tight hole where I have to hit the fairway. The opportunity that competition provides to showcase every skill that I have worked so hard on is my favorite part of the sport. Golf has also taught me to be very, very resilient. In golf, progress is not always linear, and learning to fight through a single tough round or a couple weeks of rough play has made me a stronger golfer and person who is more prepared to face adversity.
Is there anything else you want our community to know about your athletic and/or academic journey?
I am so thankful for the support that Rowland Hall has provided me. Golf tournaments, as well as Rowmark events, required me to miss a lot of class, but my teachers were always so understanding and supportive. I have had math teachers take time out of their lunch breaks or free periods to go over material I missed, and history teachers who allowed me to sit in on class periods other than my own to hear lectures that I was not at school for. The faculty and staff’s willingness to be flexible in order to allow every student to achieve their full potential is not something that I take for granted, and my success is a direct result of the support that I have received from Rowland Hall. I am very proud to be a Winged Lion.