Augusta, GA is home to The Masters Tournament. It is also 30 minutes from where I was born and raised by a frequent golfer known as “Fairway Freddy” by all his friends. Needless to say, my golfing career started early, as I was one of two six-year-old girls at a golf camp for boys, which then grew to help form the inaugural girls’ golf team for my high school. As a child, I was fully convinced that I was going to be a professional golfer in the LPGA, and though that most certainly did not happen (and will not because I am mediocre at best), I still gained many life lessons through the sport.
Humility and Humbleness
There is nothing more humbling than taking a back swing and watching your ball roll only 20 feet ahead of you—or worse: missing the ball completely. You can earn a great sense of humility by starting out a sport and being laughably bad, but the lesson continues even as you grow better. Although I am much more experienced than when I was six-years-old, I still continue to learn in golf. The same can be said about my professional career, where I am still learning how to be better through my mentors and bosses.
I grew up playing many team sports, which taught me invaluable lessons on working together, communicating, and being a team player. But through golf, I learned about independence. It was the first sport I played where if something went wrong, it was 100 percent my doing, and the blame couldn’t be placed on anyone else. This also created a self-awareness and self-determination within myself.
The game of golf gave me critical problem solving skills. The amount of times I have been caught between a rock and a hard place—or really a tree and a sand trap—is more than a few. However, those challenges taught me to think of strategic ways to still get my ball on the green. These skills followed me into life and the workforce. Thinking strategically in a quick moment is a quality that I pride myself on having, and it all started by getting stuck in a multitude of places that weren’t the fairway.
Focusing in the Quiet
When I was a child, keeping me quiet for an hour was an almost insurmountable task. I learned how to become quiet on the golf course out of respect for other golfers, but then I began to enjoy the silence because it allowed me to focus. Golf teaches you how to make your own quiet. Not only are there outside noises to distract you, but even louder are your inner thoughts and self-criticisms. Learning to focus, despite the presence of self-judgements and fears, is an enormous challenge. But once you learn to work through outer and inner noises and make your own quiet, no challenge or job is too difficult to tackle.
Persistence and Determination
I learned very quickly that I was not going to become a golf champion overnight, or in a week, or even in a year. It takes self-determination to improve yourself and practice, practice, practice. Golf taught me how to make small goals for myself in order to work towards my long-term goals. I use this every day in my professional life. Large improvements are never made overnight; they are made from a multitude of little improvements that steer us towards our bigger goals. This sport truly gave me a different perspective on my work ethic and my determination, which has served me very well thus far.
Playing golf helped me develop crucial skills that are necessary in the business world. I have to give a big shout out to my parents and to all of the people at the Waynesboro Country Club who helped me become a better, more developed person through the sport. I believe that participation in all sports and organizations help to develop skills in children, but I am grateful that I had the opportunity to let golf mold me.