Ariel Chang stands out for UDM women’s golf

In the world of collegiate golf, the University of Detroit Mercy has an upcoming golf champion in its midst, and her name is Ariel Chang. After a season of breaking records and achieving the prestigious title of Detroit Mercy’s single season school record holder in scoring average, Chang’s golf journey is nothing short of inspiring. 

Ariel’s journey into the world of golf began as a youth.

“I started golfing when I was 6 years old and began competing when I was 9,” Chang said. “My first impressions were that it was pretty fun, something I could do with my dad, and a way to spend quality time together.” 

Chang goes on to explain that from her father she learned that “golf is such a frustrating sport, and my dad always told me that you know someone better by playing golf with them. I didn’t fully grasp that until I got older.”

Chang’s coach, Jordan McArleton, spoke of his experience working with her in a positive light.

“Ariel is a fun and lively person and was very welcoming about me joining the team as the coach,” McArleton said. 

He went on to emphasize Chang’s pivotal role as the team’s best player, predicting that she would leave a profound mark on his careers at Detroit Mercy. 

Reflecting on her growth as a golfer, McArleton said, “Ariel has become smarter about the way she practices, learning how to maximize her game during practice sessions.”

Taylor Kondel, a teammate of Chang’s, offers insights into her personal growth off the greens.

“I have seen her grow a lot since then, not only as a golfer, but as a person too,” Kondel said. “She has grown so much as a person and a leader for this team. She keeps us in check and really cares about all of us.” 

Taylor also spoke on Chang’s role as a face of unity within the team, demonstrating her commitment to her teammates’ well-being both on and off the golf course.

“When Ariel and I are off the greens, we are always laughing,” Kondel said. “She loves making jokes and making all of us laugh constantly. She always knows how to make everyone around her smile and she is always in a good mood. She is insanely friendly and has an amazing personality. She is an amazing friend.”

A massive milestone in Ariel’s journey was her 2023 victory recently at a tournament in Youngstown tournament a few weeks ago – her first career win. Kondel, her teammate, expressed the rarity of this achievement. 

“Winning a tournament in collegiate golf is an accomplishment very few can claim,” Kondel said. “I was overjoyed for her.” 

Of the victory, Chang said, “It was an incredibly surreal moment for me. The last four holes I played were nerve-wracking, but I had to learn to calm my nerves and employ breathing techniques out there.”

Chang’s impressive achievements and accomplishments at UDM, such as breaking records and holding titles, bring recognition and pride to the school.