How I Let My Love of Golf Get Overshadowed
They say that you should never regret the decisions you make in life. That’s easier said than done, especially when you are a teenager and think you know what it takes to rule the world at 18. I have not regretted the college I choose or that I decided to move back home and raise a family in the town I grew up in. However, there is one choice I made that still pangs me to this day, and that was not pursuing golf in my high school and college years.
A Journey into the past….
I went to a private high school in Pennsylvania that I highly enjoyed for the most part. I only graduated with a class of 48 people, so we all knew each other fairly well in comparison to the public school. The classes were small so you really felt like you were a part of a family.
The one problem going to a small school: no women’s golf team. My sole journey in high school golf, along with the frustrations of playing independently, is where my love of the game got overshadowed by my disappointment in no one standing up for me.
I decided to pick up golf my Sophomore and Junior year of high school. The coach of the girl’s public school team was a friend of my family’s, and he took me in as one of his own players. I practiced with his team, traveled to the matches with them and became friends with the girls. I wouldn’t have golfed #1, but for six spots I called have golfed #4-#6. I felt like I fit in and that I was a true golfer for their team.
I asked my school administration why I couldn’t just play with the public school team. The Headmaster of my school said that since we didn’t have a co-op contract with them, I wasn’t allowed to play for the local public school. My spirit broke over this because I felt like an outsider who couldn’t be placed among the golfers.
I “played” with a team that I wasn’t allowed to belong to, I was the wrong gender and not good enough to play for our boys’ team, and none of the other girls in my school had enough interest to play golf. Where did that leave me? It left me as a team of one.
At first, I was fine with this setup. I had made friends on the public school team and I got to get out of school to play golf (That was awesome). I had the opportunity to play in Districts and at all the local golf courses. The good definitely outweighed the bad for me when I first started playing independently.
However, by the end of my Junior season I began to get tired of not belonging somewhere. The girls that I became close to on the public school golf team were graduating. My school’s empty promise of getting a team together or in supporting me better just wasn’t going anywhere. I became so tired and frustrated with my position in the golfing scene that I just called it quits before my Senior year of high school.
At 18, I wasn’t the most mature person in thinking that decision out further. I lived more in moment than I did in thinking about my future. I let myself get deterred by the lack of confidence and support that I was given in playing golf for my school. Maybe I should have kept my head up, and let my love of the game outshine the lack of support that I was being shown.
My family and the coach of the public school were the only people that believed in me. Regardless of their support, it still wasn’t enough for me to continue as an independent golfer for my school.
While I went on to pursue other endeavors my Senior year of high school, this venture put a damper on my love of golf and I questioned my ability to play the game. When people make you feel like you don’t belong to something, how do you pick yourself up to play again?
Moving on: forgive and forget
Over time I was able to forget and eventually I moved on to other hobbies. In college, I enjoyed new friends, extracurricular activities and pursing my professional degree. However, I always felt jealous and a twinge of guilt when I met girls who played on the college golf team. When I saw them with their golf bags and clubs, I secretly longed for a place on their team and I found myself deeply regretting giving up the game in high school.
Looking back, I didn’t realize that there are so many more opportunities for female golfers in this era. I could have applied for scholarships through the LPGA and other avenues through various scholarship websites. I not only gave up on a chance to play golf after high school, I also gave up on myself. My regret doesn’t just come from not pursing more scholarship opportunities, but in the fact that I didn’t believe in my game enough to do more with it.
In the end, we were always meant to be friends….
But golf and I found our way to back together (It’s always been a friend who’s never let me down). I moved on from my past and focused on my future. As I got older, my game got a little better and I was able to enjoy golf like I did before.
I went on to meet my husband on the golf course and eventually got engaged on one. Everything came full circle and golf has brought me so much more than I could have imagined.
The lesson learned in the end is to not let yourself be deterred from doing something you love because you aren’t supported in doing it. Have faith in yourself and in your ability to do something you’re passionate about. For years, I thought that golf had failed me, but in reality, I actually failed it by giving up. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Be sure to not let yourself forget that, especially when you’re having a bad round of golf.