olf courses are wonderful places to soak up the
beauty and magnificence of the natural world.
Lots of players take time during their rounds to look
beyond the edges of the fairways – to the woods and
meadows, where the wild critters live.
Isabella Lambert is a steely competitor on the golf
course, but she’s also fully aware what lies beyond the
manicured fairways where she plays. Thanks largely to her
father Dave, who is a licensed Wisconsin falconer as well
as a golfer, Lambert has spent a lot of time with animals –
from frogs to falcons – ever since she was a little kid.
Lambert and her family falconry connection were
among the storylines put forward earlier this summer by
the United States Golf Association’s communications de-
partment prior to the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links
Championship. After mentioning that Lambert is 19 years
old and lives in Big Bend, the USGA bio states: “At one
time, Lambert had 60 pets.”
Lambert recently did the math, explaining that her dad
once had a couple birds of prey, and the family also had
dozens of pigeons and pheasants used for training them.
She had beta fish and a little African frog, which was
supposed to live for a short time but instead thrived for
14 years. And the family has had a couple of German
Add them up and …
“It got up there for a while,” Lambert said.
Lambert said her dad got her interested in golf and in
falconry, which is method of hunting using trained birds
of prey such as falcons and hawks, also known as raptors.
(In Wisconsin, a permit from the Department of Natural
Resources is required to pursue the sport. The process
includes apprenticing under a licensed falconer, passing a
105-question exam and numerous other requirements.)
“I was brought up around falconry,” she said. “I was
used to having the birds around the house, feeding them,
going out to farm fields to fly them. So I was always kind
of with my dad doing that.”
Dave Lambert also introduced Isabella to golf at the
age of 3, “if you can call that playing golf,” Isabella said.
“He gave me some plastic clubs at Christmas, and I was
swinging well with them for a 3-year-old, so he decided
to push me in that direction,” she added. “And that’s
where I ended up.”
The place that Isabella Lambert ended up is Butler
University, where she is a sophomore on the women’s golf
team. Not surprisingly, she considered veterinary medicine,
but instead she is majoring in biology/pre-med. She said she
would like to pursue pediatrics or even neo-natal medicine.
Lambert turned into a key cog on the Butler women’s
golf team in her first season. During the 2011-12 season,
Lambert was named to the All-Horizon League first team,
earned Horizon League Newcomer of the Year honors
and finished sixth individually at the conference champi-
onship. She had the second-lowest stroke average on the
team at 79.2 while playing every event on the schedule.
Lambert and teammate Jenna Peters, a sophomore
from Kohler, gained valuable experience in May when the
Butler women advanced to the NCAA Division Central
Regional. But the Bulldogs’ season ended there.
This year brings some new challenges. Butler is moving
to the Atlantic- 10 this season, and the conference does
not sponsor women’s golf. So the Bulldog women will
instead compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
A kestrel, or sparrow hawk, gets to know Isabella Lambert.
Lambert currently has a handicap index of 0.8 through
the Wisconsin PGA Junior GC. She and her dad like to
play and use the practice facilities at Edgewood GC, near
their Big Bend home.
Lambert said she worked hard to get her game back on
track following the U.S. Women’s Amateur Pubic Links,
held at New Jersey’s Neshanic Valley GC in June. After
shooting her lowest-ever score, 70, in the first round, she
followed it with a painful 80 in the second round to finish
at 150 and miss match play by one stroke.
“My ball flight kind of got out of hand,” she said,
explaining that she hit a bunch of weak fades at the
WAPL instead of her usual draw. “But I worked on it,
and I got my draw back.”
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