Wallin stays humble, but golf game speaks volumes

Amy Bond has a good feel of what to look for when recruiting a golfer to Florida State. Fundamentals and personality are at the top of the list. But in a sport of individual stars she is also seeking those with a team mindset, an attribute Beatrice Wallin displayed when she was part of Sweden’s national team.

“I watched Beatrice be one of the leaders on her national team both by score and personality,” Bond said. “Everybody flocked to her. As a golf coach, it’s very much an individual sport but in college we have to make it a team sport. So those were the two big pulls, her personality and her overall golf game … I just felt like she was climbing and hadn’t even come close to reaching a peak as a player.”

Bond’s instincts years ago were right. Wallin was visiting Florida and playing in an amateur tournament with her friend, Frida Kinhult, and visited Florida State. They had met Bond and some U.S. coaches during tournaments and the “why not?” recruiting visit became two visits before a decision for both to attend FSU.

“I just had a great feeling for Tallahassee,” said Wallin, now a junior. “The coaches were great, the team was great, the feeling around campus. I felt like it was the perfect fit.”

Kinhult has gone on to play professional golf, averaging 70.6 in her two years at FSU (2018-20). Wallin’s scoring average is right there at 70.4 this season (improving on prior averages of 72.77 and 72.24). She has won two of the five tournaments in 2020-21 with four total top-10 finishes, and Bond said Wallin’s scoring average is among the best in the nation this season.

Next up for Wallin is the four-day ACC Championships, which begin on Thursday at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. Wallin is humble, often saying she has been “good” this season, but confident she will play well. And that’s also reflective of who she is and what courses she has played. 

When asked about the challenges the course in Greensboro presents, she begins to discuss the difficulties of playing the redesigned Seminole Legacy Course. Wallin says Seminole Legacy “challenges your short game and your driver” but is fun regardless of the conditions. Two holes that are among the trickiest at Seminole Legacy are No. 5, a 185-yard par-3, and No. 8, a 320-yard par-4 where she says the green is “potentially reachable.” When she won the Florida State Match-up at Seminole Legacy in late February, she shot 66-68-70.

Wallin embraces the challenges of a great course and even a prestigious tournament. In 2020, Wallin played in the U.S. Open and shot 75-75 in her two rounds. 

“I try to appreciate it while I’m playing it, but when you’re at the event you just try to do the same thing as you normally do,” Wallin said. “The practice round, you do what you normally do, and you see it as a tournament, and you’re there to compete. And of course you want to win. And I try to do both. But sometimes it’s a little hard to appreciate all the things because you really want to win. So you’re focused on playing golf. It’s been awesome. And that was my first major U.S. Open. So it was huge. And it was a lot of fun.”

A few weeks ago, she played at Augusta National with Bond watching along the way.

“She’s always been a really good ball striker, but she’s really worked hard on her golf swing and making it consistent, being repeatable,” Bond said. “And then along with that, she’s become a really good putter. I was amazed two weeks ago at Augusta, to watch her putt, to have perfect speed and good line. It was one of those things, I was like, ‘Wow, I’m impressed.’ ”

The positive impressions of Wallin go beyond the golf course. Earlier this week, she was named the Golden Nole on the women’s golf team for her work on the course, in the classroom and in the community. 

“She leads by example,” Bond said. “When she has something to say, you want to listen because she doesn’t talk very often. She’ll goof around, always has a smile on her face. When she says something, you want to listen because it’s big. She has something important to say. 

“She’s killing it in the classroom. If all goes accordingly she will graduate on time next May. She’s really put the work in the classroom and on the golf course. She encompasses what I consider the total student-athlete right now. And that’s why we voted her as the Golden Nole winner because she’s been one of the players that’s made the biggest adjustment academically and athletically.”