Grace R. | Golfer, 19 | Pittsburgh PA
Meet Grace, GR8-1 new Brand Ambassador.
Q. Grace, you seem to have committed to golf at a very early age. Can you share with our community how the game has impacted you on a personal level?
A. I got into golf in 7th grade. I started caddying at the Pittsburgh Field Club and began playing several years later on my high school team. Ever since then, golf has had a huge impact on my life. Golf has always been very relaxing and has pushed me outside my comfort zone. During my junior year of high school, I had a head injury which forced me to sit on the sidelines during some of the most important matches of the season including individual qualifiers. It was then that I realized how much I loved the game. Coming back from that injury was a long process, but I was rewarded this year with many PRs and with our team being able to go to States.
Q. I’m sure there were plenty of choices for you. How did the Penn State decision come about?
A. This past summer I went back and forth between playing in college or going the golf management route. With only 17 schools with accredited PGM programs, my options were very small compared to what other teens had when applying to colleges. During the spring of my junior year many golf courses were delayed in opening due to COVID so I came up with the idea to interview different golf professionals to get their opinions on different PGM programs. I was also really fortunate to have an amazing golf instructor starting my junior year of high school that helped guide me through my search for colleges and my career path. I first researched golf professionals on Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers list and then cross-referenced them with PGM programs I was interested in attending. I scheduled all of my interviews in advance in February and then each Friday during March and April, I would sit down and talk with different alumni. The interviews helped me decide what I wanted my future to look like and led to something I was not expecting - to form relationships. From those conversations, I have met several of my current mentors, and I soon began to realize a PGM degree was not my best academic path. Instead, it was clear I should major in business and play collegiately. Professional after professional stressed the impact of playing collegiately. I quickly started recruiting and did so into the fall. After our team went to the state championship, my parents took me to visit Penn State to tour its PGM facilities, to make sure I had a good idea of what both academic paths offered. Upon meeting the director of the PGM program and touring Penn State's impressive facilities, I quickly fell in love with the program and the campus. The next day I applied to Penn State and its PGM program and have since been accepted and have committed to going to Penn State as the next lady lion in my family.
Q. I read somewhere that one of your missions in life was to grow the game. How do you plan on doing so?
A. After working with The First Tee, I really believe in living each day with purpose. I have a real passion for growing the game of golf and a firm belief that it should be available and able to be enjoyed by everyone and not just those of us that are good at it. Making golf accessible to younger generations so that there is a way for them to practice is a solution that would make a big impact on golf. Going into the golf industry, there are so many opportunities to grow the game and being able to get my business degree, sports management minor, along with my PGM accreditation at Penn State will give me a solid foundation to do so. A first step that I would like to take in college is to become a mentor to a couple of younger girls who do not have access to a home course to play regularly.
Q. What is your definition of success?
A. My definition of success is working hard at doing something you love.
Q. It would be great for the GR8-1 community to get to know you. Can you share a little about yourself and your background?
A. I am a senior at Fox Chapel High School and will be attending Penn State next year! Some of my hobbies include hiking, biking, kayaking, photography, and playing the violin. Unlike most teens my age, I did not start golfing competitively until my freshman year of high school.
Q. Can you share some of your hopes and dreams?
A. My dream is to be able to work on an event management team for the PGA Tour/USGA or to teach at the collegiate level.
Q. GR8ness is?
A. GR8ness is making an impact while spreading positivity.