My Three Biggest Pieces of Advice to Junior Golfers,
1. People Over Performance
If there’s one thing that I could never stress enough, it’s that you matter more than your performance. When you talk to high school and collegiate coaches, they will all say they pride themselves on having their golfers be better people in the community. Below are some tips for the golf course to be a good competitor and person to the others around you, as well as some warning signs that you may want to watch out for…
DO: Have friendly conversations with your competitors; Help out competitors in searching for golf balls or rules questions; Support your teammates during team competitions; Keep a calm composure throughout the round (don’t show too much moodiness)
DON’T: Slam or break clubs; Inappropriate language around competitors, coaches, or teammates; Wear your emotions on your sleeve (especially when you’re having a bad day); Not help out your competitors when they ask you for help dealing with lost balls or rules
During the majority of my junior golf years, I was raised by a single mother who worked countless hours to make ends meet. Even with her working tirelessly to provide for me, tournament junior golf is still really expensive. Tournaments can range anywhere from $30-$300 per tournament, plus lessons to progress in one’s capabilities that’s probably another $200 each month, memberships to golf courses which are monthly payments, and lodging/food when you go to golf tournaments, so that’s another few hundred each time you travel. Needless to say, junior golf is extremely expensive.
When I turned 16, I was working two jobs to pay for the extra things that I wanted, but also to help my mom out with a couple bills every so often. I worked some days as a cart cleaner at one of the local golf courses, and my other job was at the front desk of a local golf facility. Through these jobs, I was able to ease the burden of golf tournament payments off my mom and I was able to afford all of my tournaments for the last two summers of junior golf. I may have not played in all the tournaments that I wanted to because I was on a minimum wage budget, but I felt pride in all the tournaments that I did play because it was my hard work that put me in the spot to play. I’d put the work in my golf game when I had the free time after work or on my days off, but I’d also put the work into both my jobs so I was able to play the sport I love.
Junior golf goes by extremely fast! It feels like yesterday I was playing my junior season of high school golf. After completing high school early and taking extra college classes to get ahead, I am now in my junior year of playing collegiate golf for one of the best Division 2 golf teams in the country. Take my advice, savor all the memories in junior golf that you can. This may be the last time you play golf tournaments with some of your best friends and play some of your favorite golf courses.
The other big note about enjoying the experience is don’t let the recruiting process get to you if you’re thinking about playing college golf! The process can become really stressful if you make it, but it can also be one of the most fun experiences. Take everything in you can about each school you look into, keep a variety of options, and don’t let it get into your head. Everything works out in the way it’s supposed to.
- Carson-Newman University: Finished in a tie for 14th at the Agnes McAmis Memorial.
- Farragut High School: Finished in the top five of all of her high school matches throughout 2019 with a 78 while landing in the top 15 of each tournament she played in... Two-time All-District and All-Region selection while landing on the Prep Xtra Team and 5Star Preps first team in 2018 and 2019... Landed in the top 20 at the State Tournament in 2019 and 2018 with ties for 11th and 18th, respectively... Represented Tennessee and the United States at the Scotland Junior Golf Invitational in the summer of 2019... Part of an Admirals district championship team from 2016-19 and won the region championship from 2017-19... The Admirals also brought in titles with the 2017-19 5 Star Preps, 2018 Cats and Dogs Invitational and 2019 Golf Capital Invitational while taking runners-up for Large Girls Class in 2017 and 2019.