As I prepare to play in the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship, my first Major on the LPGA Tour, I can’t help but reflect on how I got here. From practically growing up on a golf course to walking away from the sport and everything in between, my journey has certainly not been a traditional one.
Still, through the good, the bad, and the ugly, this sport has taken me places I never dreamed of and down paths I never would have traveled otherwise. For that, without a doubt, I am incredibly grateful.
It all started for me at a very young age. My dad is a PGA pro so inevitably I picked up a club too. I tried a lot of different sports early on, but golf felt natural. Like it’s in my blood.
As I continued to grow and develop, so did my skill level. In high school, I won three state championships and it became increasingly clear that golf was my calling.
I was engaged. I signed with Tulane to play college golf, but things didn’t go as planned. Long story short, after a year (and a hurricane), Tulane dropped the show due to budget cuts.
As I explored other schools, UNC Wilmington popped up on my radar. I ended up transferring and finished my college career as a Seahawk.
There is no question that my time in Wilmington was formative and defining. Not only do you grow as a golfer in college, but you also develop a lot as a person as you try to figure out the next step in your life.
For me, the next step was not Q-School. At least not right away. It took me a year after graduation before I began to embrace my professional golf career.
I qualified for the Epson Tour and played from 2012 to 2017. It was a phenomenal experience meeting lifelong friends and competing at the highest level. Eventually, however, I came to a crossroads.
I had been doing this for a long time, and the energy and money invested in touring made me rethink my future career path. The life of a professional golfer is difficult and expensive. The realities of training, travel and necessities make touring an expensive undertaking.
I loved golf and everything related to it. But at this point in my life, I was ready for a change.
I decided to walk away from the game and work as a financial advisor, essentially putting my college degree to good use. Still, the 9 to 5 and general work environment just didn’t feel right to me. The truth is that I missed playing golf.
Recognizing that I needed golf in my life, I became a part-time financial advisor and became more involved in the sport again.
I started teaching golf in high school, which is one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever done. Teaching other golfers like me how to push and be better was very rewarding. It rekindled my love for the sport at a time when I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be. I was teaching them, but somehow they were teaching me.
Finding my balance and adapting to my unique path wasn’t always easy, but I made it work.
The years 2018 and 2019 were roller coasters.
Let’s start with the good. In 2018, I married my husband. He deserves special recognition in this story because meeting him has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Getting married and raising a family with him was an absolute blessing that changed my life forever.
Unfortunately, she needed his strength and support more than she ever wanted.
In 2019, my sister had a terrible accident. She was confined to a wheelchair for six months; It was life changing for her and our family.
Going through the recovery journey with her (and her hard work has paid off, as she is almost fully recovered as I write this) was a reality check on what really mattered in life. We often get so caught up in our own careers and passions that we forget that family is what matters. People who love us and care about us are what we should focus on.
While this moment was terribly low for my family, it taught me a valuable lesson and helped ground me. Sometimes the highs follow the lows. During this period, we found out that she was pregnant with my son.
All these experiences made me re-evaluate and enjoy golf much more.
When I was offered a position to become an LPGA professional at the Baltimore Country Club, I jumped at the chance. There is such a quality team and membership at BCC, I am so proud to be there.
This move made a lot of sense because my priorities had changed. The way he viewed the game had changed. Above all, it was perfect for me to stay involved in a sport that has given me so much over the years and give back as an instructor.
When I qualified for the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship last year, I felt like everything had added up to this point in my career. As the event draws closer, it finally starts to feel more and more real as well.
To be honest, I don’t have very high expectations for the event. If you read my story, you probably understand why. I want to soak it all in and can’t wait to meet up with some old friends and have a good time. Having my almost 2-year-old son watch his mom make some birdies would be a nice bonus.
As I reflect on my journey, I can’t help but smile. When I left in 2017, I certainly didn’t expect to play in the most prestigious event that I have played in five years later.
On the other hand, as my story has shown me more than once, life has a funny way of working. And sometimes, you just have to trust the process.