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Far from Ireland, golfer Sarah Faller gets into the swing of things at DU

Sarah Faller helped the Pioneers capture their eighth consecutive Sun Belt Conference crown in May and was DU’s top performer at the 2011 NCAA west regional, finishing 18th overall. Photo courtesy DU Athletics

Sarah Faller always remained steadfast in her goal to play collegiate golf in the United States.

Landing at the University of Denver, however, probably was a long shot, given a couple of Faller’s initial impressions of the Mile High City.

A native of Galway, Ireland, a historic locale on the Emerald Isle’s west coast, Faller at first was under the misconception that Denver was the name of the state, and not the name of the Colorado capital. Even more disturbing for the aspiring golfer was the snow that greeted her when she first visited campus — a winter wonder Faller never experienced back home.

But it didn’t take Faller long to get her geography ironed out. And after moving to Denver and joining the women’s golf team, the cultural nuances proved more vexing than the winter weather.

“I had a very thick Irish accent and nobody understood a word I was saying,” Faller says. “I’d say, ‘Can I get a lift to practice?’ and they would just look at me funny. They would answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to questions that were not yes or no. That was probably the hardest thing. And getting used to how loud people are. They are very enthusiastic all the time. Ireland, it’s kind of a laid-back, sarcastic and dry sense of humor. Over here, it’s not quite the same at all. I had to figure it out and learn what is funny and what’s not.”

Faller is the one having all the laughs these days on the course for the Pioneers.

After taking up the game at 13, Faller traveled for a year after high school before enrolling at a golf academy in Florida.

Because there really is no equivalent for NCAA athletics throughout Europe, Faller was eager to find a place where she could continue her golfing career while earning a degree. And when Faller arrived at DU, head coach Sammie Chergo made an instant connection with the Irish golfer.

“One thing about Fally, she almost works too hard at things,” Chergo says. “Sometimes we have to kick her out of practice or encourage her to do other things. She’ll work so hard it will almost be a detriment. She has gotten into art, photography, and I think that has really provided some balance for her. Late this spring, she played her best golf for us. She was our low person at the [NCAA regional], and she’s improved every year. I think what makes going into next year so special, she’s not satisfied with what we did this year.

“I could go on and on about Fally. She’s the most caring, and so passionate about golf, and passionate about DU and she’s grateful for the opportunity here. That’s the kind of kids we want to have in the program.”

Faller made an instant impact with the Pioneers program, earning a spot in the lineup as a freshman when DU put together a program-best fifth-place finish at the 2009 NCAA championship.

Faller, a finance major with an art minor, has turned in two solid seasons since then. She helped the Pioneers capture their eighth consecutive Sun Belt Conference crown in May and was DU’s top performer at the 2011 NCAA west regional, finishing 18th overall.

Although the Pioneers finished out of the top 10 at the 2011 regional as a team, Faller is expecting to lead the Pioneers back to their customary position on the national stage when her senior season begins.

“Denver was perfect for me,” Faller says. “I think next year is probably going to be the best year here. Last year was definitely sort of a learning year. But I think we are going to take that experience and have a better season next year. I know I want the team to have a lot of success for my senior season.”



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