They say, “There’s no place like home.”
I say, “There’s no place like Memphis.”
Having grown up here, being raised in this city, and now representing it as a golfer for the university is remarkable. Not everyone gets the chance to have the kind of school pride that comes with playing for your local team.
I had a lot of options on the table when it was time for me to make a decision. Today, I can’t be more excited to be a Tiger each and every day.
Landing at Memphis
My “journey” to Memphis is a funny one because, well, I grew up here.
And let me tell you, the thought of staying home and going to school here wasn’t necessarily my number one choice at first.
My parents were supportive of whatever I wanted to do, but they were the ones who insisted I at least take a look at Memphis.
And you know, after everything they’ve done for me through the years, visiting the ‘local school’ was the least I could do.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the visit completely changed my mind.
The moment I stepped onto campus, I was blown away by what the University of Memphis had to offer. I’ve always seen it, but I’ve never really seen it, you know?
Taking a campus tour and getting up close and personal with the faculty, facilities, and student body opened my eyes to the opportunities this school could offer me.
The icing on the cake was when I met and talked with Coach Beth. The relationship in golf between a coach and the player is crucial. You have to feel comfortable and confident that your coach can take you to the next level, and you can communicate honestly and healthily with one another.
With Coach Beth, I knew I could.
That sealed the deal for me.
I was here, I was home, and I had a great coach that could take me to heights I couldn’t get to alone.
I’ve been a Tiger ever since.
90 percent mental
In sports, the mental game is such an essential factor. Everyone knows that.
But in golf, I’d say it’s the primary factor.
It’s such a graceful sport that it requires you to not only be at your most attentive, but also you’re most relaxed. Have you ever tried to be super focused but very relaxed at the same time?
It’s almost impossible!
The coaching staff here at Memphis has really worked with me on that.
We talk about the mental game, the hurdles I have to go through, and ways to cope. They even give me literature on the topic — books like “Mind Gym” that really helped.
I’m so fortunate to have coaches who understand the game beyond its technical or physical aspects.
Not only do they acknowledge the mental side, they embrace conversation on the topic. It creates a positive and welcoming environment where we can say what we want and focus on being our best.
Thanks to this environment, I’ve been able to have the success I’ve had.
It’s made me not just a better golfer but a better member of this community. The University of Memphis is pretty big, but after spending a few years here, it feels like we’re in a small town and just one big family on campus.
The tough times
Overall, things have been great here, but it’s not just positive progress.
Like everyone else, we’ve had our ups and downs, especially during these pandemic years.
The first year wasn’t the hardest, in my opinion; it was the year after.
Trying to understand the rules, having them change, and being uncertain of what would happen next. It was hard to stay focused, train with passion, and be optimistic about the season ahead.
We got through it as a team, and we took it all in stride.
But it was tough.
It’s still tough, to be honest.
But, we’re Memphis tough, so we keep going and take our lessons from our challenges!
The final chapters
My time here at Memphis has been an absolute blast and came with a ton of personal growth.
Every day has been a privilege, and I’m so fortunate to play the sport I love in the city I’m from.
I might have another year or two left, so I’m nowhere near saying goodbye, but I’m happy to know how special these years are, and I intend on making the most of them.