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Through a Golfer’s Eyes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

From the time I was little, I loved the idea of playing a sport. One year I tried gymnastics, another I tackled tennis, and I even won MVP for my softball team when I was five years old. Each year would come and go, but I never ­discovered the sport that sparked a real passion within my soul. This was the case until not one, but two of my mother’s friends suggested I try golf. I thought, Why golf? It’s a rather odd sport for a girl my age to play. But my mother enrolled me in a beginner’s group lesson. Since that fateful day, my life has completely changed.

My junior golf career began when I was just six years old. After one day of hitting balls on the driving range, I knew that this was the perfect sport for me. I attended group lessons religiously every weekend, and my parents could see that I loved this sport more than any other. Week after week and year after year, I went to these Saturday classes. I could see my game rapidly developing: my drives got longer and straighter, and I sunk my putts more often.

At eight, I took another monumental step. I competed in my first golf tournament. Although it was the most horrifying day of golf I ever played, that first tournament made me realize that golf is something I want to pursue. Since that day, I have competed in tournaments ­regularly, enjoying the good-natured competition with girls with whom I would develop lifelong friendships.

I worked countless hours shaping my game into something that I could put into effect during tournament play. From local tournaments to bigger PGA competitions, and finally to the AJGA (National Junior Golf Association), I made my way up the golf ladder until I was the golfer my six-year-old self had dreamed of becoming.

If it weren’t for the kind advice my mother’s friends gave her, I would not be the person I am today. Playing golf is ultimately the greatest decision I have made in my life. It has taught me ­patience, acceptance, responsibility, and humility during all those hours on the driving range. It made me a better student, friend, and person, and I feel fortunate I have been able to play such a rewarding sport. Golf has opened many doors in my life, and I cannot begin to contemplate how much better my life is because of it. Golf truly is a lifelong sport, and I am grateful that I chose to embark on this extraordinary journey.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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