Through relentless hard work, determination and tireless recruiting, Christie Martens has firmly established the Iowa State women’s golf program as one of the nation’s best.
Postseason appearances, including a school-record five-straight NCAA Regional berths (2010-14), and top-25 teams have become the norm in the Martens era. The Iowa State administration affirmed Martens’ outstanding coaching abilities by signing her to a contract extension through 2015 in May of 2010.
In 2014, Martens led her ISU team to the pinnacle of collegiate golf when the squad advanced to its first-ever NCAA Championship. It marked the first time a team from the state of Iowa made the NCAA finals since the regional format was introduced in 1993.
The Cyclones placed 23rd at the NCAA Championship and were ranked in Golfweek’s national top-25 at season’s end.
Martens, who is in her 11th season as the head coach with the Cyclones, saw the first signs of her rebuilding project come to fruition in 2009-10. The Cyclones finished fourth at the Big 12 Championships and qualified for the NCAA West Regional, the school’s first postseason appearances since 1996.
Martens and her Cyclones trumped the 2009-10 campaign with a record-shattering 2010-11 season, as Iowa State achieved its highest ranking in school history (No. 15), won three tournament titles and recorded 11 of the top-12 18-hole team scores in the program’s history. The Cyclones as a team averaged 297.6 strokes per round in 2011, an average of over five shots lower than the old school mark set the previous season.
Iowa State was the No. 1 seed at the 2011 Big 12 Championships, qualified for its second consecutive NCAA Regional berth and finished the season ranked in the nation’s top-20 to cap off its record-setting season. Martens was rewarded for her efforts, earning 2011 Big 12 Coach of the Year honors and NGCA Central Region Coach of the Year accolades.
Iowa State qualified for its third-straight NCAA Regional in 2012, as the Cyclones tied for fourth at the Big 12 Championships.
In 2013, Iowa State made its fourth-straight NCAA Regional appearance and finished third in the Big 12 Championship, the best placing by a Cyclone team in Big 12 Championship history. ISU finished the season ranked in the nation’s top-30.
One of Martens’ star players, Punpaka Phuntumabamrung, capped off her outstanding career by earning Big 12 All-Tournament honors for the third time by finishing runner-up medalist at the 2013 Big 12 Championship, the best individual placing by a Cyclone in Big 12 history.
The 2014 Cyclone team made it to the NCAA finals by tying for sixth at the NCAA West Regional. Two Cyclones - Sasikarn On-iam and Chonlada Chayanun - earned all-tournament honors at the Big 12 meet and were named First-Team All-Big 12 by the league’s coaches.
Chayanun tied for seventh at the NCAA Championship to record the best finish by a Cyclone in NCAA postseason play and broke the single-season stroke average mark at 73.38.
A key ingredient to Martens’ success at Iowa State has been her ability to surround herself with outstanding players. A total of 10 Cyclones have earned All-Big 12 recognition 14 times in her Iowa State tenure: (Louise Kenney-2005; Jessica Shin-2006; Pennapa Pulsawath-2010; Laurence Herman-2010, 2011; Phuntumabamrung-2010, 2012, 2013; Prima Thammaraks-2011; Victoria Stefansen-2011, On-iam-2011, 2014; Cajsa Persson-2013 and Chayanun-2014).
The Cyclones have broken virtually every team scoring record under Martens’ watch, including shattering the school mark for best 54-hole score of 857 at the 2011 Mountain View Collegiate. Her teams have won four tournament titles and produced three individual medalists in her ISU career while annually playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules.
Martens has established herself as an outstanding recruiter on a national and international scale. Martens has been instrumental in getting highly touted international players like Pulsawath (Thailand), Phuntumabamrung (Thailand), Thammaraks (Thailand), On-iam (Thailand), Chayanun (Thailand), Stefansen (Denmark), Herman (Belgium) and Persson (Sweden) to enroll at Iowa State.
Iowa State golfers have also succeeded in the classroom under Martens, as 15 Cyclones have gone on to earn academic All-Big 12 honors 31 times.
As an assistant at Purdue from 2001-05, Martens helped lead the Boilermakers women’s team to a 22nd-place finish at the 2004 NCAA Championship. Purdue finished in 12th place in 2003 and 16th in 2002. In Martens’ first season in West Lafayette, Ind., the Purdue women’s golf team placed fourth at the 2002 NCAA Central Regional and second at the Big Ten Championship. The Boilermakers were fourth at the Central Regional and Big Ten Championships in 2003. In 2004, Purdue finished fourth in the Big Ten and sixth at the NCAA Central Regional.
Martens earned a bachelor’s degree in learning and organizational change from Northwestern University in 2001. A three-time academic all-Big Ten honoree, she captained the 2000 Wildcat team, which was the first NU women’s squad to advance to the NCAA Championships. The former Northwestern record-holder for 54-holes, Martens placed among the top-10 finishers at the 1999 Big Ten Championship. She received the Walter K. Smart scholarship at Northwestern, recognizing a student-athlete who achieves in both academics and athletics.
Martens, a native of Dixon, Ill., played in the 2000 U.S. Women’s Amateur in Asheville, N.C. The former Christie Hermes, Martens and her husband Bobby, were married in Oct. 2005. They have a daughter, Norah and a son, Lucas.