As I embark on my first full year of professional golf, I’ve taken some time to reflect on my life post-graduation. There have been some ups and downs and a big learning curve. It has been a full six months since I sat in class in one of the beautiful brick buildings of Florida State. It has been half a year since I have had the comradery of a team surrounding me day and night. Most importantly, it has been a number of weeks since I have been required to be at the gym by 6am. Which leads me to my first point:
You don’t have to be in the gym at 6am to get a good workout in.
Contrary to what your coaches and trainers have drilled into your head, you can indeed get a good workout in after you are awake. In fact, I think I have a better workout. After being awake and having a meal, working out is a lot more enjoyable. I now workout between 11 and 1. I even make time for one or two yoga classes a week in the evenings.
The scholarship checks really do stop arriving in your checking account.
Watching my bank account shrink made me realize that a steady stream of income is necessary. Even if you are playing well, golf does have an off season where there are no tournaments to make money. So, I have been doing some private tutoring in the off season. Mostly math and chemistry, just like I did in high school.
Coach won’t send you an itinerary or a pack list for your tournaments.
My first big professional trip was a lot to plan. I suddenly had so much appreciation for all the travel coordination our golf staff did for us. The tournament schedules were planned, flights were booked, rental cars were reserved, and hotels were found near the courses. Coach told us what would happen day by day and what time it would happen. She even picked out our outfits and gave thoughtful reminders of what should be in our suitcases! I had to dig out an old list to ensure I wasn’t missing any essentials before my trip.
Sitting in class was a lot smaller chunk of your day than you thought.
When I was in school, I used to think that I spent so much of my day on school work-and I did. So now that I have graduated, I should have extra time on my hands. Wrong. Unfortunately, now I have all the tasks to do that were done for me at school. That actually takes up more time than my classwork did. I have to make my own budgets, project my costs, pick my events, book my travel and find all the loose ends in between.
All those charity and booster events prepared you for professional golf.
We all did our best to arrive at required events with a good attitude but, being human, at some point we failed. One time or another, we couldn’t imagine how that event was more important than studying for a test, extra practice time, our social lives or even a nap. I learned that no matter how I felt that day, a good attitude was paramount. If I was happy, the people at the event around me had a better time and so did I. There have been plenty of instances the last few months when I have had events that I needed to attend, play in, or speak at when I haven’t felt the most excited to be present. My time at FSU where I learned how to navigate these events was so important. There are opportunities everywhere to learn, to grow and to make connections. Being fully present at these events ensures that I can take advantage of the opportunity when it comes.
You will lose your team.
This is the saddest sentence. The friendships you made will last a lifetime but after graduation, life does change. Your teammates that you spent all four years with will go off in different directions. Your teammates that are still there will be living a life you are no longer a part of. (I now stalk the leaderboards to see how they are playing and cheer them on.) However, I have made my own new team. It includes friends that I like to travel and share housing with, my swing coach, workout buddies in my yoga classes, playing professionals at my home course and high school friends. It takes a lot more people to recreate what just eight girls could do on their own, but I’ve found my new team.
There have been a lot of changes, but I love where I am right in this moment. I am excited to start this adventure and fortunate enough to have funding for the year. So cheers to 2016 and the start of my next chapter!