It was over a year ago that I thought I would be competing in my last first golf tournament. A wave of emotion suffocated me as I geared up for my final fall season. I worked on cherishing every minute of it and I cried at our final tournament of the season, even though we had a full spring season ahead.
Fast forward a year later and that wave of emotion wasn’t doused with sadness, rather it was filled with gratitude. Last week, I competed in my first golf tournament for Ulster University. As I mentioned in my last post, I am so lucky and happy to have this opportunity to continue to play competitive golf and to help inspire young people the way it captivated me when I was little. But this feeling of gratitude that engulfed me after the tournament was vastly different compared to the gratitude I had when I left as an accomplished Siena Saint.
At Siena, we always knew how we were going to get to our tournaments; we showed up at the team van bright and early and off we went. Our methods of transportation here required a bit more planning and sorting out than just a text message of saying what time our departure was. Organizing a ride to Enniscrone (pictured above) was more tedious than expected as we learned that players drive to tournaments, not the coach. In the end, it all worked out and Dom and I made it to the tournament and acquainted ourselves more with our teammates and the program.
Prior to my first round, I didn’t have that excitement or nervousness that I did before an event when I played for Siena. I just wanted to go out and enjoy the round as it came. I wasn’t mentally prepping on the range and I didn’t listen to music prior to my round; a pre-round routine I grew accustomed to in college. The round and entire tournament felt different and in turn I didn’t have my best showing. I let go of that competitive edge I carried with me all throughout my college career and I focused more on the process; enjoying the course and the feel of links golf. Although my debut tournament as a master’s student was not nearly the performance I wanted, I realized I can’t dismiss that competitive drive just yet. Even though I had so much fun walking the course and admiring the views I now know I must continue to practice effectively and maintain that competitive spirit, which I intend to still have, just at a lesser level.
I can say I have a greater sense of gratitude after this first tournament because I played horrific. That sounds contradicting I’m sure, but it allowed me to recognize my gratitude for this game and for the bigger picture. I’m thankful to have realized I must keep my competitive mentality and I cannot completely dismiss it just yet. I’m thankful to have learned I can maintain a competitive mindset while simultaneously enjoying links golf. I don’t have to be solely competitive and abandon the enjoyment of playing the course. And since Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, it only feels fitting to take a step back, reflect, and give thanks for my golfing ability, even when I don’t play well.
Cheers to everyone for the support, I look forward to continuing to share my Northern Irish adventure with you!