I’m back playing golf at SMU for my fifth and final season. It feels weird to be saying I’m coming back because, well, I never really left!
But last year, due to Covid ending our season so abruptly, I felt like I was robbed of my final season.
So, I’m coming back to finish what I started.
I want to end my collegiate time on my terms.
While last year didn’t go the way anyone had planned, I did learn a lot about life. It gave me perspective on what really matters to me and to not take things for granted.
When the season was canceled, it was a hard adjustment.
Coaches have always been telling me not to take my years at SMU for granted. They’ve been telling me that it goes fast and it can be taken away in an instant.
And just like that, it was.
It was a cruel reminder that we need to embrace every day and soak in every moment because we never really know when it could all be over.
One of many things I learned was to focus on the positives in dark times.
After COVID hit, a local church reached out last fall, looking for volunteers to help run their Payne Stewart Kids Golf Camps. I immediately jumped on board and fell in love with the organization.
A couple of months later, I asked about internship opportunities and can now proudly say that I’m the first intern of the Payne Stewart Golf Foundation — and I absolutely love my time there so far. The program puts on faith-based camps for younger kids and provides them with the right tools to play golf. We talk a lot about how to excel in the game of golf — but also in life.
This experience has been one of the most satisfying things I have done here at SMU. It’s taught me so much about the connections between my faith and golf. It’s shown me a world I wouldn’t have seen if I never took this internship.
As an athlete, I often only think about golf in terms of playing and coaching. This internship showed me that the golf world is so much bigger than that, and that you can impact the world through golf in so many different ways.
Admittedly, I wasn’t very excited about having to do an internship to graduate at first, but, after completing it, I understand why it was a requirement. I learned skills and lessons that are impossible to learn in the classroom. Or even on the golf course, for that matter.
I was able to work in a real-world environment and apply the things I’ve learned here at SMU.
I’m forever grateful that I could take part in this internship, and I’m equally grateful that SMU understands its importance even before I did.
Now, equipped with a new outlook on golf and perspective, it’s time to finish strong. I can’t wait to translate my newfound appreciation for the sport onto the course.
I’m focused on becoming the best golfer I can be, pushing myself, and competing at the highest level possible this season. I’m so excited to work with the SMU staff for another season.
We have some young coaches that have recently stopped playing, and I love their approach to things as they were in my shoes just a few years ago.
I feel like the staff is a perfect balance of experience and youth, and with them and my teammates by my side, I’m confident I can reach heights I’ve never reached before.
Last season, I made the All-Conference team, and even though that was a tremendous accomplishment, I’m really excited for what this year has in store. I had a busy and exciting summer, playing lots of tournaments. I gained a ton of confidence and really enjoyed getting to prepare myself for the next chapter in my life.
After I graduate in May of 2022, I will head to Q school and begin my professional golf journey, and I’m so excited for this next stage.
SMU has provided me with so many amazing opportunities to grow as a player and a person, and I’m eternally grateful for everything they’ve done for me.
So, let’s finish strong.
One final ride!