Last fall, Julie Inkster spoke at the Schooner Classic in Norman, Oklahoma. While this was an over-the-top, amazing event for a myriad of reasons, hearing a role model of mine speak, then talking with her and getting a quick picture, was icing on the cake.
Julie Inkster is so inspiring to me because of everything she fits into her life. She is a mother, a wife, and a world-class golfer with effortless congeniality and poise. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to hear her speak. However, what she said only made me admire her more; “Golf is what I do; Golf is not who I am. Golf should never define you.”
What a powerful statement that truly is when you take a moment to consider it. “Golf is what I do; Golf is not who I am.” Sometimes it is hard to remember that golf is not a part of and should not be a part of your personal definition of self. I cannot count the number of times I have been introduced to my parents’ friends and co-workers and the first thing they respond with is, “Oh, you’re the one who plays golf?” Or how many times a professor or peer on campus only remembers me as “the golfer.” Now while I spend a copious amount of my time playing golf, it can be easy to start to define myself with it. What an unhappy mistake that can be. Last spring I found myself walking off the course after multiple bad rounds of qualifying, miserable and lost. I felt like my life was sideways and I was so unhappy with everything in my life, because of how I was playing. With the help of my amazing family, boyfriend and swing coach, I was able to realize my mistakes.
One night after crying because I had played badly, my boyfriend, Tyler, looked at me and asked me a tide-changing question, “If golf makes you so upset, then why don’t quit, Alex? I know deep-down you love it, but you aren’t acting like it. Stop letting a few bad days take away something you love.” What a revelation from my non-golf playing boyfriend. I was holding on to the results of my rounds like they defined me and I was using that lens to view the rest of my life through.
All these moments made me own and live an important truth; I am more than just a golfer. I have a wonderful family, a boyfriend who loves me- no matter what score I shoot, the best teammates and great friends. I love to spend time with all of them, I love to give back to my community and I love to learn. I play golf because I love it. Practice is where I find my quiet peace and where I do all my best thinking. Everything makes more sense when I can relax, think and hit some golf balls on the range. I play golf because it is fun and I hope that I never lose sight of that again.