When did you begin playing golf and how did you learn?
Ever since I could walk, I have had a set of clubs in my hand. My first set was plastic and I would chase the ball around the house for hours– hitting it down the hall, down the stairs, and through the living room. Around the age of ten I decided I wanted to compete. So I began taking lessons from our pro, Brian Thornton, at Meridian Valley Country Club, where I would go every other Saturday to learn the fundamentals (grip, posture, and how to “stick the finish” like Tiger Woods). To, me two weeks felt like a lifetime to wait to go show Brian how much I had improved.
Tell me about one of your most treasured lessons on the golf course.
The most important lesson is how to be mentally tough. Golf can be a hard game, full of challenges– and no matter how hard you practice, problems will come along. So do not let one bad shot or a bad break define your round or tournament. Stay in the moment and focus on how to make the best of whatever situation you may be dealing with.
What have you learned about yourself through the game of golf?
That I can always be improving. Tiger Woods once said that he only hits four good shots on a good round. I interpret that as a chance to improve on all the other aspects of my game. Golf is a game that can never be mastered. However, it can be enjoyed simply for the reward of each individual shot.
What do you enjoy most about the game of golf?
Without question, I love that everything that happens to me when I am on the course is “on me”. Both good and bad, I call the penalties on myself no matter how bitter it may seem. And I expect anyone I play with to follow the same mindset. You take accountability for your actions.
What are your plans for after high school?
Following high school, I plan to earn my way onto a roster of a four-year college and compete on the traveling team, while earning my degree in business and marketing. After two years of marketing classes and involvement in DECA, I have found that “business” can take on many different forms. There are millions of ways I can make money while following my passion.
What advice would you give beginning golfers looking to take up the sport?
The most important thing I would tell an upcoming junior golfer is to be friendly with your playing partners. So much stress is relieved during the round when you are talking with your fellow golfers about your common interests, rather than keeping to yourself or trying to figure how you’re going to beat the other guy or gal in your group.
What has been the greatest lesson you have learned by participating in WJGA?
There are several lessons WJGA has taught me. First; time flies, so enjoy every moment of it. Second; play your own game. It is nearly impossible to play the game people want you to play as opposed to the game you know how to play. Last (but most of all); there are many people around you that want to help you succeed, but you need to ask for their advice and be ready to listen. This includes the rules officials, walking scorers, and tournament staff. I wish I had the WJGA rules officials with me at all my other tournaments, they are great teachers.
What is your favorite golf course in Washington?
It is impossible to narrow it down to one course because of the different climates we have in our state. For Western Washington, my favorite is Gold Mountain (Olympic Course), because the course has a lot of risk/reward shots. Central Washington… it would be Rope Rider. I love the tall trees and mountain feel. My Eastern Washington choice would be Wine Valley, with the cool bunkers and rolling grass lands.
What has been the highlight of your golf career?
Hands down, it’s having been a spectator at The Masters. Augusta is a place that can’t be described, it must be experienced. From the incredible beauty of Amen corner to the elevation change from 10th tee to the green and the angulation of every green. There is not one pine needle out of place; TV simply cannot do it justice. I look forward to returning someday as a player. As far as my playing career, it would have to be a couple months ago when I went two under the last six holes of a two-day tournament to win the Southern Nevada Junior Championships in Las Vegas. I really felt “in the zone” and that is a great place to be.