I was four years old, and this was when I was first introduced to golf by my grandfather. I was given a mini set of golf clubs that were “Peanuts” themed, and was taken to the driving range for the first time.
I was now eight years old, and played my first round of golf with my grandfather at The Legacy Golf Course, what is now my home course. I was also taken to my first golf lesson. At this time, I did not have any drive to improve and after a few months, I stopped taking lessons.
At this point, I had played a few times a year, but still had no drive, until…..
My grandfather recommended I be signed up for a PGA golf camp at my home course. I was somewhat reluctant to go, but I had nothing else to do. On day one of the camp, something just clicked. I don’t know what it was, but all of the sudden, I wanted to hit my shots perfect. When I couldn’t it pushed me to practice and try. I resumed lessons, and began working towards improving.
I played in the PGA Jr. League as my first competitive events. I thought I was pretty good, but looking back, it was rough. However, I did make the all-star team. It was a very eye-opening experience to see golfers who played as well as they did. In the fall of 2018, in pursuit of a better swing, I switched golf coaches.
This was my first year fully competing. I started the year by playing middle school golf for Greenbrier Middle School. I thought I was going to be one of the best and shoot +5. (Remember I had not played any individual stroke play events yet). Let’s just say, I didn’t shoot +5…. I shot +16…. and middle school golf is played on nine holes.
This was rattling for me. I realized I wasn’t as good as I thought I was, and I needed to work harder.
I ended the middle school season making it to regionals with the team, and helped to lead the team to placing third in the state!
The next step for me was Sneds Tour (the Tennessee junior tour). Before my first event, I knew I could do well, but just wanted a top five in my first event. By making a clutch putt on number nine, I won.
This was followed by a close second place finish, two more wins, a tie for first where I lost in the playoff, and three more wins including the Tour Championship.
I thought I was pretty good, but what I failed to realize is I played in the 10-13 division, which means I played nine holes from the front tees. I was hitting the ball 230 yards at the time.
My first large event was held at Two Rivers Golf Course in Nashville. I was very familiar with the course and felt I could win easily due to the awesome summer season I had completed.
The problem, I had just turned 13 which put me up a division. I placed 16th by shooting 90, 79. Eye opener…
This was an interesting year for everyone, but for my golf game as well. I was planning on playing many events in the spring, but these were cancelled due to the pandemic.
My first event was a three-day event at Greystone GC in Dickson, TN. I did not perform bad, but it was not good. This trend continued until the end of June.
At an event at the end of June, on day two, hole nine, I experienced extreme right sided abdominal pain which forced me to withdraw. Little did I know, I would not tee it up again until September.
The pain did not go away. I was checked by multiple doctors for things such as appendicitis or a hernia. I had an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI. In the end, it was found that my psoas muscle was extremely tight and needed loosening.
In this time, I met my trainer, Jillian Keeler, who I work with to prevent things like this from happening again.
I finished the season lack-luster, but I will be back in 2021 better than ever.