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Travis Pointe Country Club: Where Pros are Made
 

Post October 13, 2017
Hi Everyone!

I wanted to give you an update on my 2017 season.  I headed down to Florida in the middle of January and stayed until the beginning of May.  During that time I played in 4 National Women’s Golf Association (NWGA) tournaments.  I took 13th, 29th, 14th, and 17th place in these four events and averaged 74.2.  Overall, I was happy with the progress I had made from the previous season.  I earned a paycheck in three out of four events. 

Unfortunately, I suffered a shoulder injury at the end of March.  I learned how complicated having out of state insurance can be.  I had chosen a PPO plan knowing I would be traveling most of the year.  This didn’t seem to matter.  I’ll spare you the details, but it ended up taking 3 weeks to get an MRI.  I headed home a few days after the MRI to make treatment easier.  I made an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at Med Sport and started physical therapy that same day.  Luckily, I had no torn ligaments.  My PT explained to me that I had a hypermobile shoulder joint which prevented me from tearing my labrum, but that my posterior shoulder capsule was tight and causing the pain.  We started working together three times a week and I did home exercises everyday.  Within 3 weeks I was feeling much better and finally able to take a full swing without pain.  

I was able to start taking full swings a few days before the play off for the Volvik Championship.  Unfortunately, one 18 hole round was not enough practice to be able to compete against the girls that had been playing all winter.  I came up two shots short of a playoff for the last two spots of the final four player play off.  

At the end of May, I headed to Albany for my first Symetra Tour event of the season. As I am typing this, I still can’t believe what happened.  I had two practice rounds and went to sleep feeling great the night before the tournament.  However, I woke up and couldn’t turn my head.  I figured my neck would loosen up after I stretched it.  I had no such luck.  I tried to warm up, but was unable to take a full swing and was forced to withdraw.  It was just a freak accident that couldn’t have come at a worse time.  It was absolutely heartbreaking and made the ten-hour drive home that much more miserable.

June proved to be injury free! I played in two Symetra Tour events, one in South Bend and one at Tullymore.  I missed the cut by a few shots in both, but had gained some great experience.  The Michigan Open is one of my favorite tournaments every year and this year was no exception.  I shot 69 the first round and was one off the lead.  I shot 72 in the second round and 76 in the last round (in windy/rainy conditions) to tie for 14th place.  

I did not get into any Symetra Tour events in July.  This is because everyone is trying to finish within the top 120 on the money list to avoid going to stage 1 of Qualifying School.  Since I had conditional status, I would end up around 10th on the alternate list every week, just shy of getting in.  

This summer I was able to play in the Texas, Illinois, and Tennessee State Opens.  Texas was first, I had the lead after I shot 68 and 70 in the first and second round.  Unfortunately, I caught a couple of bad breaks and my timing was off in the last round and I shot 74 to tie for 6th.  I was proud of my mental toughness and ability to grind on the back nine after shooting 41 on the front, I came back with a 33 on the back.  Then I headed to Illinois, I shot 72, 73, 76 and tied for 15th.  After Illinois, I went to Tennessee.  For more details on that tournament, you can read my other blog post.  SPOILER ALERT: I won!!! I had been frustrated after putting myself in position to win the Michigan and Texas open and coming up short.  My swing coach kept reassuring me.  He said breaking through and winning a professional event with the field being so deep is extremely difficult, but all of these experiences were helping me get one step closer to that breakthrough.  That is exactly what they did, I was able to use them to win the three person playoff to become the Tennessee Women’s Open Champion!

In August, I got into a Symetra event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I learned a couple valuable lessons in this city.  The first one is if an Air BnB sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  I pulled up to my Air BnB and was afraid to get out of my car.  The next lesson is my mom knows literally everyone.  I was able to connect with one of my mom’s friend’s, son’s, mother-in-law. Yes, you read that correctly.  As far as the golf, I shot 77 in high gusting 30 mph winds. The next day I shot 72 with an eagle and three birdies; however I had two doubles and a bogey.  I missed the cut by 3, but was feeling good heading into Q school and was proud of my bounce back.

I left for Q school ten days before the tournament started.  The NWGA tour hosts a prep tournament on the Dinah Shore course.  I shot 75-72-74 and T25.  The first day on my third hole, I walked up to the tee box, teed up my ball, blasted one down the middle and then heard, “umm, Sarah. I don’t think those are the right tee markers.”  The tour had left the ANA Inspiration tee markers on the tee boxes, as well as the NWGA markers.  Both were white and blue and both were on the same tee box about 5 yards apart.  So, I had to take a two shot penalty and tee off again.  All of this to say, I played the tournament course very well.  

Over the next 6 days, I played practice rounds on all three courses.  I started to have abdominal pain while playing in practice rounds.  It was nothing major, but enough to be very uncomfortable, especially in the 100-115 degree weather.  The pain seemed to happen after I ate, but I couldn’t figure out what food was causing it.  That was until I had Coldstone after dinner one night, I ended up with abdominal pain so bad I had to curl up in a ball and lay in the fetal position for several hours.  I contemplated going to the ER twice that night. I thought to myself, okay no more dairy and I should be fine.  

I drew the best wave.  I would tee off in the morning on Palmer, then afternoon on Player, then the morning wave on Dinah Shore.  With the temperatures reaching 115 degrees by noon, morning tee times are highly favorable.  I shot 69 in the first round on Palmer with 5 birdies and 2 bogies.  The next day, my abdominal pain really intensified.  I had eggs and toast mid morning.  By the time I got to the course my stomach was cramping so hard, I couldn’t stand up straight when the wave of cramps hit.  I also felt very nauseous.  Keep in mind; it was about 110 degrees at this point.  I knew withdrawing was not an option, but had it been any other tournament I don’t know if I would have made it to the first tee.  I started off okay and made pars on the first two holes.  The third hole was a narrow par five.  I drew my drive just a little bit too much and it hit the cart path on the left side of the fairway.  Unfortunately, this kicked my ball up and to the left even more and into the middle of a bush.  I hit a provisional, praying that I didn’t have to use it.  We pulled up to my ball and started looking for it.  My caddy moved a branch at eye level and saw my ball rolled towards her.  Since my caddy didn’t know exactly where my ball was before it started rolling, I was instructed to drop the ball.  When I dropped it, it landed and stopped on a branch in the bush.  I then had to take an unplayable lie from there and still could only punch it out.  I got up and down from there for a bogey that felt like an eagle.  However, more wayward tee shots, lost balls, and lipped out putts lead to a very ugly 79.  It was disappointing to have an upset stomach get in the way of playing good golf and to lose my 3 under start from the day before.  The next day, I played Dinah Shore in the afternoon.  I was 4 over starting the day and was thinking I needed to shoot even to make the cut.  Instead, I battled stomach pain all day and shot 76.  The cut line was indeed plus four at the end of the day and I was at plus eight.  

I had a hard time dealing with the fact that I had missed advancing to stage 2 for the second year in a row and an even harder time knowing I wasn’t feeling 100% during the most important tournament of the year.  I had been playing so well all summer and was confident going into Q school, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

In golf you have to have a short-term memory sometimes, especially when you are headed to Colorado two days after failing to meet your biggest goal of the season.  I flew to Denver and stayed with some friends about 30 minutes from the course.  After breakfast the next day, I was going to head to the course and play a practice round.  My body had other plans and I headed to the ER instead.  Being a nurse, I was convinced I was going to have surgery to have my gallbladder removed.  The abdominal pain was becoming more regular and always around 45 minutes after I ate.  The pain and nausea were so intense.  I got an ultrasound and lab work done.  My ultrasound was clear and my labs were not anything remarkable for gallstones.  I decided to give up eggs and diary for the time being and see what happened.  The next day, I played in the Colorado Open with absolutely no practice round.  If playing a course I had never seen wasn’t hard enough, the elevation change was another challenge.  I normally hit my 8 iron about 150-155, in Colorado I hit my 8 iron on a 175 yard par three and ended up past the pin.  Did I mention how much I love Colorado?  I shot 74 the first day, I hit into two hazards that day with my drives, including one that I didn’t know was there.  Knowing the course made the next two days much easier and I shot 71 followed by a 70 for a grand total of minus one.  I tied for 12th and made $2500.  I beat multiple people that had advanced to stage 2 and again had a disbelief of what had happened the week before.  Sometimes, I still feel like it was a bad dream.

So now what?  I have been working out harder than I ever have and eating healthier.  I am even more motivated to work hard this off-season because I know I can compete against the girls on tour.  I am picking up shifts at Michigan Medicine to offset costs of traveling and working hard with my swing coach in Toledo.  I will continue to do this until the first of the year and then I will head down to Florida for the winter.  I have also made an appointment with my primary care doctor and in the process of having a GI work up.  However, after I stopped taking motrin and started on protonix, I have not had any episodes of abdominal pain.  So good news, I can eat ice cream again (although that’s not on my list of healthy foods ;)  )

Thank you for reading about my season so far and your continued interest in me and my golf journey! Now that I am home for a few months, I am sure I’ll see some of you at Travis Pointe.  Feel free to come over, say hi and ask me any questions you might have!
 

Post August 2, 2017

Hello all! Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to play and practice at Travis Pointe again this summer.
 I know I haven’t been around much.  This is because I have been traveling all over the country playing in LPGA Monday Qualifiers, Symetra Tour Events, and State Open Tournaments.  When I am not traveling for tournaments, I am either at Travis Pointe or in Toledo working with my swing coach Jeff Manore. 
 
I’ll start with the best news first. I just WON the Tennessee Women’s Open at Stonehenge Golf Course!! I shot rounds of 75, 68, 72 (-1) to tie for the lead with two other women.  I was two strokes back of the leader, Sam Troyanovich going into the final round.  It was an exciting, back and forth match throughout the round.  I was 3 back after the 2nd hole, and then I made two birdies in a row while she bogied. This gave me the lead by 1 after 5 holes.  Then she went on a birdie streak. I made a bogey, and found myself 4 back after 12 holes.
 
I stayed positive and played my own game.  I told myself I wasn’t going to lose this tournament for her.  Either I was going to win, or I was going to force Sam to make birdies to win.  I was also aware that all it would take was for her to have one bad hole and I would be right back in it. 
 
Unfortunately for her, that is exactly what happened.  On hole 12, she pulled a shot from the fairway and it went into the fescue.  We were never able to find it and she made a triple.  Just like that, I was only 1 back.
I birdied number 14, their signature par 3 and tied the lead. Unfortunately, I made bogey on the next hole and was one down going into the tough number 18.  It was 370 yards, but had water that came into play at 125 yards, so it requires a lay-up off of the tee. Then you hit into a narrow two tiered green that is well bunkered.  She pulled her shot into the bunker and I hit the green, but was on the incorrect tier of the green.  She hit her bunker shot to about 25 feet and I left my putt about 6 feet short.  She missed her par and made bogey.  There was a leaderboard behind the green, so I saw another player, Elsa, was already in at (-1).  I knew I had to make that 6 foot to tie Sam and Elsa for the lead and be part of the play off.  I stepped up confident in the break and made it!
 
The play off took place on number 18 with roughly two hundred people watching.  The first play off hole, Sam and I both made par, and Elsa made bogey and was eliminated.  The next time down 18, I just missed my birdied putt and tapped in for another par while Sam was on the lower tier and ended up three putting for bogey.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had won! It was such a surreal moment for me.  I had won many times in college, but winning my first professional tournament, especially in a play off with a good size gallery, provided so much validation for me.  Not only did I make the right decision to pursue professional golf, but that I can make key putts when the tournament is on the line. 
 
This week, I am playing on the Symetra Tour at the PHC Classic in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Stay tuned for an updated blog post and feel free to follow along with live scoring on the Symetra Tour website.




My Experience at Q School 

Post 9/26/2016

 
As some of you know, I recently completed Stage 1 of LPGA Qualifying School.  I arrived to Mission Hills six days before round one started.  I was able to play each of the three tournament courses twice.  This was very helpful to adjust to the playing conditions of each course and get a feel for what I wanted to hit off of each tee box. 
 
This also allowed me six eighteen-hole rounds, which I was unable to complete the week before I left due to injury.  When I was working with my swing coach, I felt a sharp pain in my right ribs.  I had that moment of panic that any athlete knows so well.  How was this happening?  I played contact sports from the time I was 4 and never had a single injury.  It was devastating.  I knew I had to compete against 349 other girls in a week and a half and it was going to take my best golf to make it to the second stage.
 
I went to the chiropractor and he suspected I had torn an intercostal muscle.  His solution was the obvious and also seemingly impossible: rest.  After finding this out, I had a decision to make.  Try and play through the pain or rest and have a chance, but no guarantee that it would feel better.  This was a very hard decision.  On one hand, I knew I could handle the pain, but that my body was trying to protect itself and therefore compensating and unfortunately not producing straight golf shots.  On the other hand, it was a real possibility that I could rest for this week, get out to California, swing and reinjure myself.  Even worse, I could still have pain and now be in the same spot that I would have been, except for the fact that I hadn’t practiced in a week.
 
I didn’t like either of those solutions, so I went to an orthopedic surgeon.  He had a different diagnosis.  He believed it was a pinched nerve in my back and that’s why the pain was sharp and intense, but wasn’t constant and didn’t occur with every swing.  Unfortunately, his solution was the same as the chiropractor: rest, ice, and Aleve.
 
So that is what I did; I rested.  Well kind of.  I chipped and putted all day.  I didn’t take a full swing for a week.  I was thankful that I could still work on my game and instead of being down on myself, I took it as a sign that I needed to improve my short game.
 
I left for California with one 18 hole round under my belt.  I felt mostly better, but about every ten swings, I would still feel that all too familiar knife like pain in my side. 
 
I played my practice rounds with a few different friends.  During practice rounds, especially in the 110 degree weather when rounds can last 5 in a half hours, it is easy to lose focus.  We decided to get skins games and match play games going to remain focused.  This also allowed me to see how I was scoring.  It seemed that the short game work had paid off.  I shot 4 rounds out of 6 under par including a 69 followed by a 67 the next day.  I felt prepared on all the courses and I was excited for the tournament to start. 
 
I started on the Palmer course, I shot a 71.  I was not striking the ball that well, I hit 9 greens.  However, I was able to limit my bogies with my short game. I had one bogey and two birdies in total on the first day.  I was happy with this start, to have my first round of Q school under par was a great start.
 
The next day I had an 8 o’clock tee time on the Player Course.  I thought it was weird that my alarm was going off when it was still dark out.  I looked down at my phone and saw my mom’s name.  My heart sank.  She and my dad gave me the news that my grandfather had passed away.  He had been in hospice, but when I left he was seemingly stable and he promised he would be there when I got back home.  I was sad for myself because I would never see him again, but I was glad that he was no longer suffering.  I went out to the course and dedicated my round to him.  I started off with three birdies in a row. When that third birdie went in, it gave me goosebumps.  I am pretty sure I was the only one with goosebumps in the desert that week.  I cooled off a little bit and bogied 4 and 5, but ended with another solid 71.  After two days ,I was tied for 20th.  I was still in a great position and felt proud of how I played after the news I had received that morning.
 
The third round, I had the last tee time around 2 o’clock on Dinah Shore.  This meant I was top three in my wave.  My reward? I got to play at the hottest part of the day.  This also meant I had plenty of time to wake up and think about grandpa and receive calls and texts from people expressing their condolences.  I am not one to make excuses, but that day I could not hit a solid golf shot.  I was not thinking about golf, I just wanted to get home and be with family.  I shot 41 on the front, the highest 9 hole round I had had all year.  I regrouped on the back nine and told myself not to give up and that grandpa wanted me to be at Q school.  I was able to recover with a 38 on the back for a grand total of 79.  I hit four greens that day. After after a long stressful day of golf, I was deflated.  I figured I had missed the cut and was going home early.  However, when I got in I learned that I had made the cut by 1 and was among the 130 players that would advance to the fourth round.
 
The final round was played on Dinah Shore for everyone.  This had proved to be the most challenging of all three courses for everyone that week.  I had an 8 am tee time and was hoping to put up a solid round and have it be enough to advance to stage 2.  I started the front nine a lot like I had done the day previously.  I went out with a 40.  I knew that was unacceptable, I had shot 67 six days earlier. Where did that swing go?  I looked at Taylor (my caddy) and said, “I’m not giving up, it’s time to play some golf.”  I think I just needed to hear myself say that out loud.  I had 3 birdies on the back nine, the first birdies I had in 27 holes and shot 34.  I was holding my breath and was happy that I had given myself a shot at qualifying for stage 2.  However, at the end of the day when all the scores were counted, I ended in a tie for 93rd place.  Only the top 90 moved on.  I missed earning full symetra tour status and the chance to play for LPGA status by one stroke.

In that situation it is only natural to start racking your brain thinking about that one lip out, that simple up and down you missed, the wrong club you hit on a par three, or any other shot that wasn’t hit perfect.  That’s the toughest and best thing about golf, there is always room for improvement.  The other thing I like about golf, is it is cut and dry.  When we qualified for tournaments in college, it wasn’t what style of play the coach liked best, or who was better at offense or defense, it was go out there and show me what you can shoot.  The top 5 will play for the team.  Well, with that being said, in this tournament the top 90 and ties advanced, the bottom 260 did not.  While I might have been the 93rd and only one shot away from advancing, I was not in the top 90.  Someone had to be there, unfortunately it was me. 
 
Finishing so close to having full status, confirmed what I believed to be true.  I’m not that far away.  I can compete against these girls. The good part about finishing so close to full status is, I will have status on the Symetra Tour and I will be high up on the alternate list.  At the beginning of the season, everyone with status is sent the schedule and allowed to sign up.  The guaranteed tournament spots are offered to the top 140 players, with the highest status wanting to play in each event.  From there, they will make an alternate list of the girls with lower status.  I will only need a couple of girls not to show up or to drop out in order to be able to play in these events. 
 
 If I get into a couple early events and make the cut, I would be able to play a full schedule from there.  This is because the tour has what they call a reshuffling of cards.  After the first 10 events, the results of each tournament are calculated and the top players are given more status, while the players who have not made cuts are given worse status.  
 
It’s a lot of jargon and complicated formulas to fully understand how the Symetra Tour works.  Basically, I will sign up for every tournament, hope that I get in and then play my best.  That is all I can do for now.  In between Symetra Tour events, I will play mini tour events, state opens, and Monday qualifiers for the LPGA.  I am looking forward to this season and am happy with how I played ,given the adversity I faced.  For my first time at Q school, I played well under pressure and saw a lot of improvements in my game.  That was the first time I had shot back-to-back rounds under par and I did it twice while I was there.  I will continue to work with my swing coach and move to Florida with the snowbirds to chase the warmer temperatures when it is too cold to golf here.
 
I look forward to a great season and am so thankful for all of your support!

 

 

Q School

Post 8/15/16

 
I have been asked a lot of questions lately about how to play on tour.  The answer? I have to play really well when it counts.  When does it count? Qualifying School.  No, it is not a school, it is a tournament that consists of three stages.  Depending on what tour you played on and how well you finished on the money list the previous year determines which stage you will be exempt into.  For rookies like me, I have to start from the bottom and work my way up.  The only other way to compete on the LPGA or Symetra tour is to receive a sponsor’s exemption or to win or place second in a Monday qualifier.  There are Monday qualifiers for most LPGA events; however, there is usually only one Monday qualifier for the Symetra tour per year.
 
Stage one begins August 25th and goes through August 28th and takes place in California at Mission Hills.  Last year, there were two courses at Mission Hills that 250 competitors played on and after four rounds, the top 60 advanced to stage two.  This year, there are three courses (the Player, Palmer, and Dinah Shore) that we will each play once.  There will be a cut before the final round played on Dinah Shore.  It is not clear yet, whether the tour will allow 60 or 100 players through to the second round.
 
After making the cut in Stage 1, players advance to Stage 2.  The second stage takes place in Florida at the end of October.  The top 60-100 from stage one will play against Symetra tour players that fell outside of the top 80 on the money list the previous year.  This stage is more competitive because you are playing against players with at least one full year of Symetra Tour experience, as well as Q school experience.  Stage 2 is similar to Stage 1, there are three rounds and then a cut will be made before the fourth round and the top 60-100 will move on.
 
At the end of December, stage three will also take place, also in Florida.  Here, Symetra tour players that finished inside the top 80, but outside the top 10, will meet the players that advanced from stage 2, along with LPGA players that finished too low on the money list to keep their cards.  The top 10 players on the Symetra Tour, from the previous year, will automatically earn their LPGA tour card for the upcoming season.  Stage three is 5 rounds.  The top 20 will earn full status on the LPGA tour.  This means that they will be able to play a full schedule on the LPGA.  Players that finish 21st through 40th will earn conditional status on the LPGA. Allowing them to play a split schedule, playing in events on both the Symetra and LPGA tours. 
 
The higher you finish, the more status you earn.  Since each tournament has a maximum of around 140 players, the more status you earn the better.   This is because it is the ranking system that is used to determine which players will have first priority for the tournament.  From here, the tour makes an alternate list should one of the players not be able to compete. 
 
I leave for Q school this Thursday the 18th.  I will play each course with a couple friends before the official practice rounds start on the 22nd.  Wish me luck!
 


Workouts 

Post 7/14/16

 
Some people have asked me what I do to workout.  The answer depends on when you ask me.  I get bored easily with workouts and I like to change my routine so I stay motivated.  It also depends on if I am at home or on the road.
 
When I am home, I take TRX classes.  TRX stands for total resistance exercise.  It is a suspension-training tool that uses your own bodyweight to develop strength, balance, flexibility, and core stability simultaneously.  All of these are great for golf.
 
I also weight train.  I have two different workouts that I call “A” and “B”.  When I am not traveling, I like to do my “A” workout twice a week and my “B” workout twice a week.  This mainly consists of core, hamstrings, quads, and glute exercises, the main ingredients to a powerful golf swing. 
 
Some people love running, I am not one of those people.  Also, the thought of being on an elliptical for more than 10 minutes is so boring to me.  The best cardio I have found is swimming.  It is a great total body workout with the least impact to my joints.  We used to swim for college golf workouts and I still use it as my cardio training.
 
When I am on the road, I enjoy using resistance bands.  They travel well and provide a good workout without making me too sore afterwards.
 
The most important thing I could tell anyone trying to improve his or her swing would be to stretch routinely.  Not only is it important to stretch before hitting golf balls, but also at the beginning and end of the day.  Without flexibility, your body will not be able to get in the right positions during your swing.  Stretching for five minutes a day can greatly increase your flexibility.  The hard part is, just as quick as you gain flexibility, you can lose it as well.  Consistency is the key.  Coupled with stretching, I like to use a foam roller.  You can get these at any sporting goods store.  They are terrible and wonderful all at the same time.  They work on any knots and sore muscles to help speed recovery and ease muscle soreness after tough workouts.    

Post 6/1/2016
 

Hi! My name is Sarah Hoffman. I have been a member, well my parents have been members of Travis Pointe, since I was five years old.  This summer the board has granted me access to the golf facility to practice for LPGA Qualifying School in August.  The goal of this website is to allow everyone to see how my practice is going, what events I am playing in, and any other fun stories I think the TPCC membership would find interesting while preparing for Q school.
 
First things first, how did I go from 2 hole junior golf champion to receiving a sponsor’s exemption into the Volvik Championship at that very same course?  I played junior golf every summer growing up at TPCC.  I remember looking forward to the Wednesday mornings, we would always get a mini clinic from Mike and the assistants, learn a new golf rule, and then came the chicken fingers, which I always looked forward to. I really enjoyed junior golf, but I invested much more time into basketball and soccer. 
 
In my sophomore year of high school, I was convinced to play golf instead of soccer for Saline High School. My senior year, state championships were held at Grand Valley State University and the golf coach came out to watch me play.  Afterwards, we set up an official visit in which I was offered and later accepted a golfing scholarship. 
 
Grand Valley really pushed me to become a better golfer. I am naturally competitive, being the youngest of four siblings, probably has a lot to do with that.  I was the 5th player on the team my freshman year and I knew I had a lot of work to do to become more of an impact for my team.  With a lot of hard work and dedication, I was able to win my first tournament my sophomore year and won the two consecutive tournaments after that.  I earned All American honors my last three years, won 11 tournaments (tied for the most of any golfer at the time), held the second lowest scoring average in D2, and was in contention for National Player of the year my senior year with a 5th place finish at Nationals.
 
After nationals, I had one more year to finish my nursing degree.  During this year, I got a job working as a home health aide and between that and nursing school, I had little time for golf.  I graduated in August of 2013, and while pursuing professional golf was on my mind, I had already taken a year off of competitive golf and had no money to even think about playing golf. I decided to look for a job close to home and live with my parents to save money.  
 
I took a RN night position on the Orthopedic Trauma Unit at the University of Michigan Hospital.  During this time, I played in amateur tournaments.  I remember a couple of occasions where I would work 12 hours and then drive straight to the golf course for a tournament, often times staying awake for 24 hours at a time.  While doing this, my love for golf only grew stronger.  I always had to split my time between work and golf, or school and golf.  I wanted to see what would happen if I made golf my full time focus.  So in February, 2 years after starting at U of M, I gave my two weeks notice and made plans to move to Florida.
 
Within days of leaving U of M, I was on the road to Windermere, Florida, to live with my great aunt Frances.  After church that Sunday, she introduced me to the song leader.  He called Bryan Mogg on the spot, the teaching pro at Waldorf Astoria Golf Club, and asked if he could do anything to help me.  I later called Bryan and he set me up with a tee time. 
 
One week after quitting my job, I was on Waldorf Astoria playing my first round since September.  I quickly realized there was a foursome in front of me.  I held back and hit multiple drives and shots into the green so I wouldn’t rush them.  Then on number 12, they waved me up onto the green.  I hit the best shot I had hit all day and when I drove up to the green I immediately recognized Don Shin the president of Volvik USA and Se-Ri Pak the Hall of Famer.  I recognized Don Shin from the press conference in October announcing the Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe.  Between that press conference and this chance meeting I had emailed Don my golf resume and asked for a sponsor's exemption.  He told me my resume was impressive, but that they were not sure how they were going to do the sponsor's exemption, but that I should look into the Monday qualifier.  In other words, thanks but no thanks. 
 
When I introduced myself, I reminded Don of who I was and he asked me to join them for the rest of the back nine.  They were playing the tips, so I did as well.  I ended up shooting even on the last 6 holes with them.   Don Shin was impressed and we scheduled a meeting. 
 
That meeting lead to a Symetra Tour sponsors exemption in California.  Within two weeks of quitting my job, I was playing on the Symetra Tour.  I got notice 48 hours before the tournament started.  I immediately made travel arrangements and flew out the next morning.  My only practice round was the Pro Am I played in the day before the event.  With less than ideal conditions and little practice, I only missed the cut by four.  This was very motivating to me, I knew with time I was only going to improve. 
 
Throughout the weeks, I developed a better relationship with Don Shin and at the end of April, I was given the news that I would receive the sponsor's exemption into the Volvik Championship.  I had my first press conference in May where Volvik announced me as their sponsor’s exemption and I was asked to say a few words.  I cannot thank Volvik and the Travis Pointe Membership enough for the role they have played in making my dream a reality.  I know my story is nowhere near over, and I am excited to see what God has planned for me for the rest of this year. 
 
Thank you for your interest in my story so far, I will be posting about my thoughts after playing in the Volvik Championship soon!

 

 


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