There’s just something about golf that has always attracted me. While I loved basketball and played other sports as a kid, I kept coming back to golf. I really enjoyed the challenge because golf is not an easy sport. Whether it’s putting, driving or chipping, there’s always something to work on.
I owe this fighting spirit to my father, who taught me to play when I was six years old. As I grew up and got older, so did my inner drive to keep getting better at golf.
After every tournament, my father and I would talk about where I needed to improve. He was my travel companion, my caddy and my coach at the same time – so we set goals together.
Ever since I was in middle school, the goal has been to get a college golf scholarship.
I will never forget my father’s reaction when I told him I was going to Middle Tennessee State School, a school not far from our hometown of Knoxville. He was excited. That’s why he’s my biggest fan. He loves golf so much and it means so much to him to see me out there.
Although my golfing challenges and goals have changed over the years, I still call on him for help today.
It wasn’t long ago that one of those conversations involved another tough decision about my future.
What do I do now?
I had a great college experience thanks to my wonderful teammates. We even won a conference title in my senior year.
It’s great to be able to look back and think of all the great memories and years that have helped me develop my skills even further. But by the time I got out of college, I wasn’t quite sure what my next chapter should be.
Sure, I loved golf and wanted to continue. But at the same time I was realistic enough and knew how difficult it would be for a challenge. And to be honest, I just wasn’t sure if I had what it took to be successful in professional golf.
Also, I was really into the idea of becoming an assistant coach somewhere. But at the end of the day, I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I would probably regret it.
So I made a commitment and decided to go to Q-School.
My first tour
I didn’t feel a lot of pressure when it didn’t work out. In the back of my mind I knew that I could try this coaching path at any time. But before I knew it, I made it to Tier III, which allowed me to take part in the Epson Tour.
It meant the world to me, I won’t lie. It was great that the opportunity came up for me so quickly. I’ve been able to compete in as many tournaments, travel across the country and be a pro as I ever wanted to be.
This kept me going for a few years until I lost part of my professional status in 2019 and wasn’t sure what the next step would be for me.
It was time to start thinking about my future again.
Put everything together
To make ends meet, I started working at a golf course, doing basic maintenance on the car. When they allowed me to teach a few golf lessons I immediately fell in love with this aspect of the game. As mentioned, there was always something about coaching that really intrigued me.
At the same time, I also decided to get my PGA membership because I had rekindled my passion for golf and golf training.
I accomplished that in two years and started coaching on the fairways and greens in my hometown of Knoxville, which was a great opportunity for me. It was perfect because I created my own schedule as a teacher and the breaks would allow me to continue playing as an LPGA pro.
When I qualified for the KPMG Women’s Championship last year, the joy and accomplishment I felt was beyond words.
I mean, a few years ago I lost my professional status. I had no idea if I would ever play in a major tournament again. And then I qualified for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the biggest event I’ve ever been in.
Last year, my first time, was the most nervous I’ve ever had on the golf course. Of course it was great, but it was all so new to me. I don’t think I did my best so now I’m so excited to redeem myself this time.
I feel good now but I know as soon as I step back onto this course I will get the same feeling of nervousness, adrenaline and excitement. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps!
Competing in the KPMG Women’s Championship has to be the defining moment of my career so far. It was such an unreal experience. I’m so grateful that the PGA and LPGA let us do this.
Now it’s up to me to make it a tournament I’ll remember forever.