What makes professional golf hard?

By | LPGA, motivation | 2 Comments

There are dozens of correct answers to this question. Clearly, if it was not hard, then everyone would do it. However, I think the hardest parts are never discussed. Once you have the obvious requirements of the caliber of player one is and adequate tournament experience, there is a whole list of challenges that very few people are talking about.

I think that the hardest parts of playing professional golf are the parts that no one likes to talk about.

  1. You need support
    Obviously, you need a support system around you to be successful in any high-achieving situation, but I am talking about something different. You must have community support, club support, corporate support and financial support to be a successful professional golfer. It does not matter if you have the game if you cannot pay the entry fees. Getting out and finding a sponsor is no easy feat. If you find yourself on the Symetra Tour, you will be hard pressed to find a sponsor willing to hand out cash once companies realize that you are not given television time. So, you will be forced to get one or two part-time jobs so that you can save money to play during the season. Meanwhile, girls from other countries with stipends, girls fortunate enough to have family that have money to support them and girls who are savvy enough to find those few sponsors will be out on the course out-working you.
  2. You need to be organized
     Why does a professional golfer need to be organized? Your job is just about showing up and playing golf, right? That is not the case at all. You are now responsible for picking your tournament schedule, filing the necessary paperwork to play in events besides the main tour (30 days in advanced), filling out tax forms, coordinating your travel, scheduling workouts and practice, and meeting with potential sponsors. And please do not forget about your part-time jobs too! The reality is that you cannot afford an agent, so you need to stay on top of everything yourself. You now run a start-up small business and are responsible for all of tasks that make your company run. That includes hiring, firing and figuring out payroll. You will need to work with coaches, trainers, medical personal and caddies, all of who will need to be hired, fired and paid.
  3. You need to have faith
    Playing professional golf is going to be absolutely nothing like what you imagined it would be like, and you will need to have faith that you are where you are supposed to be. If any small bit of doubt creeps in and you feed it, you will be paralyzed. Golf forces you to fail almost every day on the course but when your quality of life and paycheck hang in the balance, it is hard to remember that you are world-class at failing. So be strong and fall in love with the game over and over again. There will be setbacks too numerous to count, but there will also be victories. Get ready for a wild ride!

The Heart of a Competitor

By | goals, life, motivation | No Comments

fsu starI love my sport. Every day that I am in the gym, on the course, or traveling to my next event is a good day. I live for the moments on the course when I visualize the perfect shot and then execute it perfectly in the heat of the battle. I have trained my whole life to be where I am right now. I have relished competition in every facet of my life for as long as I can remember and golf has never been an exception. I am competitive and stubborn to a fault. If I do not win, I’ll stay and work until I know how to succeed next time.

Possessing this drive and determination does not mean that it is singularly focused on golf. Academic achievements have to be pursued. Every scrap of energy and emotion must be poured into relationships. Nothing in life seems to be safe from my insatiable quest to give it my all. Unless you ask my mother, and she will cheekily inform you that it does not pertain to the organization level in my bedroom.

As a woman, a lot is asked of you. Women and girls have to wear many hats; their lives are in a constant state of dichotomy. Nurture a child and kill in the boardroom. Prioritize your family and chase your dreams. Be kind and thoughtful but be ruthless when seeking victory on the course.

To be a female athlete, you have to be all of it. To be a female professional athlete, you have to be all of it and more.

Somehow you have to be brave enough to believe in yourself. Little girls cannot lose that self-assurance that all toddlers have. They have to be strong enough to think that they can have their cake and eat it too. If they don’t have the gumption to try, they will never figure out that everyone else is wrong.

Life is full of a cascade of choices. Mine have led me to this moment. I am caught somewhere between 20 and 30, trying to balance all of my decisions and observing all of you reconciling yours.

Being more is hard. I’d be lying if I said otherwise.

Every day I challenge myself to be more than what I was the day before: lift more weight, run one more step, make one more putt, hit one more fairway. I challenge myself to be a better daughter, sister, fiancé, friend and competitor. Sometimes I fail, and that’s okay.

Social norms and constructs and other people’s choices have made me feel like I’ve gotten lost at times. I’ve even caught myself feeling guilty for daring to dream big enough to chase my dreams. I hope that you never will feel that. I’m on my own journey and I have my own timeline. I am selfish enough and brave enough to do everything I can to give myself my own kind of fairytale ending. My brain and my heart won’t let me be anything less than everything I’m capable of.

Character GPS

By | life, motivation | No Comments


image2Monday night I had the privilege of being the keynote speaker for a fabulous organization here in Tampa. Character GPS is a non-profit that provides character education experiences to children. The educators in this program work through a curriculum that aims to equip the kids with the tools they need to realize their innate value, have a vision for their future and give them a plan to achieve it.


I always try to jump at any opportunity to give back to my community and speaking to this group of girls for The Centre for Girls downtown was very special. I was amazed at how engaged and empowered they were! I spoke to them at their graduation from this multiple week skills course and it was clear they had been working hard. The room was full of girls with big dreams and realistic plans on how to get there.


Some of the dreams included a licensed psychologist, a neurosurgeon, a professional dancer, and a graphic designer- just to name a few. Hearing these girls dream about their futures made me smile.image1 (00000002)


I was able to give a 10-15 minute talk to these girls, who as I found out, were already plenty inspired! I hope to link in a video of my full speech, but I wanted to include a small excerpt:


“I consider myself lucky, I got to fall in love with golf again and I now appreciate that it can be taken away. Your body can be damaged, your dreams can be taken away. But no one will ever be able to take your education from you.


I’m going to surprise you all a bit. Yes, I am a professional athlete. Yes, I was a standout athlete in high school and was featured in newspaper articles. Yes, I was even nominated for homecoming queen my senior year of high school. But I was also the only girl on math league in middle school. I also took more than a dozen AP classes. I was the girl sitting in the front of the class, raising my hand when I knew the answer and I graduated as Valedictorian.


My ability to compete as an athlete might one day get taken from me, but my finance degree and my academic accomplishments will be there to help me find a new dream and a new career.


Don’t be afraid to be smart and to admit that you like getting good grades. Don’t be afraid to be one of the only girls in an advanced math class. You can be cool and have fun and still set yourself up to chase all of the big dreams that you can come up with. And on that note, happy dream catching to all of you!”


I know from the girls that came up to chat and take pictures afterwards, that I was able to keep their attention. I hope that my words were encouragement to them as they continue to grow and head to high school. I also look forward to being able to continue to do what is asked of me by my amazing home town as I chase my dream to be on the LPGA and look for sponsorship.

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By | life, motivation | 8 Comments

IMG_0315I think that Q-School is a lot like the Hunger Games, 288 girls enter and only 60 come out. Unfortunately, I was not one of the 60 this year. I did not shoot the scores that I needed to advance. While this has been heart-breaking that things have not gone according to plan, I learned a lot. I learned that I have the game to be out there, but I have some work to do on controlling my thought processes under stress.

Due to some crazy circumstances, I played without a caddy this week. While the situation was less than ideal, I think it will be for the best. I am going to play mini-tour events this year, the prize money has been significantly increased, which makes this a more feasible option. I think that playing more professional events where cuts are on the line will have me better prepared for next year. After all the experience I will gain, when I do get status, I will be unstoppable.

My next step is to plan out a desired schedule of professional events and Monday Qualifiers for the LPGA and hopefully find some sponsorship or private backing. I will be getting a part-time job to help cover some of the costs. This route is different than I had imagined, but with some flexibility I can still make my dreams a reality.

My plan was not the same as God’s plan for me this week. But I know that I am right where I am supposed to be and I will get exactly where I need to go.

Inside the Ropes at the Coates Championship Qualifier

By | LPGA, motivation | 3 Comments
On the first tee!!

On the first tee!!

What an adventure I have had the last two and a half weeks! While I was playing at The SALLY, where I shot 74-74-74-74 to finish alone in 5th place, I received the most exciting news! I had been awarded the amateur invite into the LPGA qualifier for the first event of the season…. I was beside myself with excitement about this opportunity to play with LPGA professionals and see what the tournament set-up would look like.

When I arrived to practice at the course two days before the qualifier, I was in awe. The ropes were up, the grandstands were set, and there were merchandise and concession tents everywhere. This was it. This is what playing professional golf is. I tried to soak it all in and still maintain my composure and focus.

When I stood on the first tee, I felt out of my element. The women I was playing with were seasoned professionals, they had professional caddies and my rhythm felt off. The officials expected your caddy to ask about lift-clean-and-place and procure a pin sheet. My first few holes showed my nerves. I hit my shots and my putts tentatively, leaving my ball short in the blustery conditions.

Finally, I realized that it was still just golf, even if it was an elevated setting. I relaxed and swung aggressively and suddenly I was out-driving my competitors. I began to have looks at birdie and played my last 13 holes at one over par. A 77 in tough conditions left me T33 out of 84 women.

The best part of this experience for me was being able to see that I have the game to play on the LPGA. I competed against women who have LPGA tour cards and showed that I belong out there! I am now more motivated than ever to fight every day to get better in anticipation of Q School in the fall. Now I can objectively say that I have the game to compete on tour.

Warming up before the event.

Warming up before the event.


Why I Play Golf

By | goals, life, motivation | One Comment
Julie Inkster

When posing for the picture, Julie picked up the trophy and threw it at me and said, “Here, practice winning!”

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.