I have signed my National Letter of Intent to play golf for the Cowgirls of Oklahoma State in 2013 Go POKES!
I haven’t posted anything in a while, so I decided the night before sign my NLI I would write a little about this past year which has been both amazing and frustrating. We also decided to change this blog up a little and both my dad and I have been messing around with different formats.
This year could have been a little better but may have been much much worse without changes. An injury at the later part of 2011 made my family and I look at my golf program much much closer. From a new trainer to a new therapist , to even coaching/instruction everything was looked at and changed. I set 2 scoring records this year, my stroke average was lowered and I even added 2 more holes in one to total 5 for my golf life. Those changes did there job.
From trying to qualify for a few LPGA events , to finally winning the California State Fair nothing compares to the Junior Ryder Cup the year
Oh Freddie said I have his swing ………
So as a get ready to look forward to helping my future teammates, school and community I look back to see how hard I had to work to get where I am at today … I wouldn’t change a thing!
LETS GET BUSY!
The Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach and an assistant coach were killed Thursday night when the small plane that carried them on a recruiting trip crashed in Arkansas. The deaths of Kurt Budke, the head coach, and Miranda Serna, an assistant, came a decade after two Oklahoma State men’s basketball players and eight others died in a plane crash near Denver while returning from a game at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
The pilot, Olin Branstetter, 82, a former Oklahoma state senator, and his wife, Paula, also died in Thursday’s crash. They were aboard a single-engine Piper plane about 45 miles west of Little Rock, Oklahoma State officials said.
Our condolences go out to the players, friends, and most importantly families affected by this tragedy. You are all in our prayers.
Before I write about the process and reasons for my college CHOICES I wanted to give a little history of my golf game. I needed to put into context some of the reasons I do what I do …
When I was 5…..
I hit my first golf ball, and at 6 I competed in and won my first ever golf tournament. Since that time I have won over 150 times and I still care more about the process then my score ….
Well I won that 4 hole nail biter by 5 strokes. From the start, playing in golf events I felt how awesome the feeling of winning was. I felt in real time I could expect to win if I prepare and work hard in advance of any competition. Would you believe for that first event ( 4 holes) my dad and I prepared for a whole day.
My dad and I carefully laid out : where to hit the ball, why the ball should be placed there, how high to tee the ball on the with my driver custom driver … how to check driver tee height…where to walk … why I should walk there …. how to write down each yardage to the flag …how and why to write both the club choice and result . My dad wrote the carry yardages on the back of each club so that when I used the yardage book my ever watchful dad gave me I could keep track of each shot. That homemade yardage book (I still have it) he had spent a late evening putting together I used that first event to chart my shots. My dad had even attached a list of “rules / etiquette” for play on the back of that yardage so I wouldn’t distract the other players. That first event at Los Positas Golf Course was in some ways a test run for how I play today. I was taught to not worry about winning or score, but taught in order to score well you must worry about why each shot should be made, then the how takes care of itself. Its about the process. For the record the 3 years I spent playing in their events I always finished ***First*** while paying against the older kids. (***Except one time a grandfather of a player actually told his granddaughter what my score was and had her write down one less**** ) To date I have won over 150 times in 2 countries, so I think I did pretty well
I have many teachers who all have helped me understand it’s more then golf
When I had just turned 8 my dad and I met Dr. Robert Neal and his soon to be wife Karen Harrison at a golf event at Doral. Dr. Neal is the CEO of Golf Biodynamics and the person responsible for building my golf program. In essence he is the architect of my golf swing. Dr. Neal’s system of evaluation has helped organize how I work on my strength and conditioning because its based on my golf swings strengths and weaknesses in real time. Rob also helps my local instructor Rick Rhoads manage my swing. Karen helps build the strength and conditioning programs based on Dr. Neal’s evaluations, and this past year they helped my training partner and great friend Joel (a former Mr. Kenya) and I work harder than ever together in order to get me faster and stronger. When I go Florida I get to learn from Bobby Cole. Bobby among other things was the one of the youngest ever to make the cut at the Masters. Lastly on the swing side twice a year I get to visit with Ben Doyle at Quail Lodge.
My dad helped built for me a library of golf experience that combined has over 200 years of combined knowledge. I go to the library of golf every time I speak to one of my instructors
College choices how, when, why… its all about the process when they are awesome
In my freshman year of high school I contacted five colleges expressing an interest in their programs. The first school and coach I contacted was Oklahoma State, and Coach Young. OSU was the second program to send me an introduction package with the first being Indiana State. The school last of the five was Texas, with the rest of the list including UCLA, The University of Arizona and USC.
First a good karma story that kind of goes with the school choice issue.
In February of 2011 I attended an event in Murrieta California. I needed a place to hit balls off grass after an event and the place I just happened to find was the place Ricky Fowler made famous. The picture on the left was taken after I had had all my grips changed…
You try and see what your mentors saw
Having never seen Texas, I went on a visit that amazing campus and coach in March of 2011. A very low pressure visit, and having had never seen anything like that campus and facility before, I was very impressed. I wanted to help ‘light up the tower” I decided I should play at the same place as my friend Ben Crenshaw did if I could make that work. Lighting that Tower became my long term goal and that seemed very cool.
After September 1st 2011 I had some great conversations with both with UCLA and USC. I decided with input from both USC & UCLA (a kick ass team) coaches those schools might not be great long term fit for me. The conversations I had with both coach’s was just great really informative and honest. So my list of schools was temporarily down to 2, Texas and Oklahoma State. I thought I needed a PAC 12 option, so, after receiving some interest from Coach Melissa at Arizona State during an event we decided to take an unplanned trip to Phoenix. That trip to Phoenix required an overnight drive, a drive my dad was not too pleased about. So after scheduling, and cancelling, and scheduling again, we decided to go on a road trip to ASU. Arizona State funny enough had not even been on my first list. At the time we put the list together they only had 2 players on their roster and we decided we didn’t want much to do with that. So to make a long story really short…my visit with Coach Mellissa went great.
It’s funny the emotional havoc these trips play on both player and parent. This mental “theater” is just amazing. From the trip up the tunnel at a meaningless football game, to meeting with an athletic director or academic coach’s its all pure theater. This recruiting theater is meant to garner an emotional response, and make no mistake the ASU trip did just that. Although ASU has an amazing coach in Coach Mellissa, who has both an amazing track record and family lineage in coaching (her mom even has an NCAA tournament named after her) it’s her ability to recruit that has few equals. Coach Mellissa has the ability to make a recruit feel like she is the only kid in the room. She is very honest about her passion for her program and its ability to change your life, but plain and simple she is one of the best recruiters we ever saw. So if only for about 24 hours, it’s true the kid that wanted to go to other schools, never even thinking about ASU was seriously thinking about being a Sun Devil…REALLY no, not really
So here we are today committed to Oklahoma State. How did that happen?
After finding UT the better of what I had seen I really didn’t need another college option I thought. But a funny thing happened while debating with my dad about the need to travel to Oklahoma after verbally committing to Texas. I was asked by 2 of my coaches to look a OSU again if I could. They were both impressed with the process OSU used in finding student athletes and were more impressed with coach Bratton and that amazing facility. It was their opinion a culture of success going back a decade or more would help me reach a bit higher and that culture was something missing in any of the choices I made so far. So, I asked my dad to reach out to coach Bratton and see if he would meet with us if we went to Stillwater. Having agreed to meet we went off to see Stillwater Oklahoma, or as my dad says ” 2 plane flights and an hour drive away” we got to see what all the fuss was about.
While on the flight to Stillwater I remembered reading an email after I had made my commitment to Texas public from coach Bratton. He had congratulated me on my choice of Texas and wished me well. That email stuck in the back of my head because it was the only unsolicited note I got about my choice from a coach. Although the Ole Miss coach wrote me an awesome email after finding out from me I wasn’t going to go there, and both the coaches at UCLA and USC sent me great notes, coach Bratton’s email was a little different. It’s funny though, I remember one coach who shall remain nameless that during my process told me ” don’t worry if they were your friends before this process they will be your friends after if they are “real friends” so don’t feel bad about coming to our school” Well except for coach Bratton the rest of the coaches just deleted me from Twitter and Facebook, stopped returning calls and moved on. So much for the friend theory its all about perception . I also reminded my dad that at the PGA Junior, and the US Junior Girls, coach Bratton watched me a lot, even going so far as to fly to Indiana after a trip to Europe (I asked around) His email messages were always positive, and in fact required I respond with any question I might have. He kept me engaged and interested in what he sent. He wanted me involved in the process of what ever he was sending , not a parent or coach. More importantly he responded to my calls and questions with an small email note without delay. He could write a book with a Blackberry, those thumbs move at lightning speed. If he missed my call he made sure to let me know when to contact him by email. So I felt I owed coach Bratton at least a conversation if not a serious look at his program. My dad happily made contact and we decided to visit.
WHAT I SAW AND FELT
While we walked the OSU facilities at both Karsten Creek and OSU, you could really see that coach Bratton was showing me what they could do to make me a better player, not what I could do for them. When I visited with his players you could see they cared about winning, but cared about each other getting better as well. They spoke of how their games had improved since getting to Stillwater and how coach Bratton had helped change how they “thought” about their own play. Those players felt coach Bratton in combination with the facilities would make them better players and better people. When one of my coaches visited Oklahoma State and coach Bratton, he came away with a feeling that his program was simply built to help its players succeed. Don’t get me wrong, other programs do some of the same things, just this one gave you the resources and opportunities if you want to play golf at a very high level. They took away all the excuses . OK .. so enough said its an awesome place
One more thing about coach Bratton … He took the time to meet with my local coach Rick Rhoads for few hours so he could see firsthand who had played a role in shaping my golf game. He did that during an event in the bay area in which his team was playing, so I am sure it was not the easiest thing to do.
Ok so why did I write all this stuff. Why did I let people see inside my choice? Partially because I could, I love to write. But I also did this because others were starting to control a narrative that was less then helpful. Was this about what someone didn’t do… no it was defiantly not. It was about what some people did do and its about the process that has many many rules. Who can call who, when you can be emailed, twittered, facebooked and even talked to. I let people see why I changed my mind about schools, really because changing your mind for the right reasons is ok. I wanted to let people know the guilt trip you get from SOME coaches about changing your mind is only there to stop you from doing just that. I spoke to some awesome coaches who believed in their programs and saw some great schools. There are some who think that a change of heart shows you as a bit stupid or naive, I was called both as was my dad. (I have a long memory about that kind of thing, I’m still young) Still others think once you verbally commit that’s it no more looking, not true either for some. Here is a truth, over 140 girls changed schools as either freshman, sophomores or juniors last year alone in Division I Women’s golf. Cal as an example has 3 girls who were transfers from other schools including their top 2 players. All those 4 year opportunities are 1 year at a time and don’t have to be renewed. So before somebody goes a bit overboard I would suggest changing now is a lot better than changing later, and changing to a place you just loved is better then staying at a place you like. Its not about who might help you do laundry, its about a passion for doing what you love where you love to do it. Its for me about maybe graduating. WE WILL GET THIS DONE …
AHHH I feel better already
GO POKES IT’S SOON MY TIME !!!!!!!
When I started writing this blog with the help of my parents it was mainly to learn to write. In the future I was sure that added with some interesting thoughts people would find some of what I say interesting. So as I try to write about my trip to the University of Texas I hope I write this in a way that lets the reader know how excited I am that one of the top womens golf programs in the country let me see the what, where , why, when and how they get the job done.
After the Rolex Championship in 2010 at Hilton Head South Carolina my parents, coach’s and I put a short list of schools together to contact about me playing golf in college. The purpose of our list was not only to let each school know I was interested in playing but allow us to spend time looking how each of the chosen programs built a team. At the time I thought I might help a team win a national championship or at the least compete at a higher level but I was going to college. I was not going to college to be a doctor or a lawyer my career choice I hope might be to play golf for money. I knew I wanted to raise the level of my golf game and college was the next stage for growth as a player and person . So we put a list together that started at 5 schools and now is at 3. So here we go about visit number 1 to the University of Texas …..
First though…. Why at first did the University of Texas make my short list…. What some people outside or even inside our group didn’t realize is that one of my all time favorite golfers who I met when I was 8 with his friend Scotty I corresponded with since that first meeting 7 years ago. Both my dad and I reached out often in that time for guidance in a very simple way. From Christmas cards and letters to phone conversations and even a putter (complete with putting advice) he sent when I was 10, Ben Crenshaw is someone who I wanted to be like . Think of it this way Tiger had Jack on his wall, I had Ben complete with an autographed Masters flag and letter on mine .
I may not have wanted to win the Masters, but I did want to play and act like Ben. What some people forgot, or at least don’t speak of as much, was that Ben Crenshaw from 1971-1973 while playing University of Texas was a 3 time NCAA individual Champion. That record of success at the NCAA level Tiger did not even equal let alone anyone else. That remarkable record of 3 NCAA individual championships I looked at as personal goal and not only for what was done but where it was accomplished. Although not the only reason wanting my picture on the same wall as one of my favorite players made me at least look at the University Texas. A respected coaching staff in place for at least 3 years, a world class facility including one of the top Sports Science programs in the country were the last of the criteria used in making up our list of schools. So there is the why they made my list ……here soon to follow is the reason they vaulted to the top ….. oh and next stop Oklahoma State….