Golf Really is My Life

February 3, 2016

 

smash

/smaSH/    

verb

1.    violently break (something) into pieces.

"the thief smashed a window to get into the car"

synonyms:    break, shatter, splinter, crack, shiver; informal bust         

"he smashed a window"

2.    move so as to hit or collide with something with great force and impact.     

"their plane smashed into a mountainside"     

 

This describes how Ashlii ‘Smash’ Thompson plays golf. Thompson’s instructor gave her that nickname, when she was five years old, due to how hard she would swing her club and how far she would hit the ball. And people have been calling her “smash” ever since.     

 

Thompson lives and breathes golf and it has been that way since she was two years old. Her father, Glenn Thompson, started playing golf in the air force at a young age and it is a passion and talent that he has passed on to her.     

 

“He introduced it to me and it is something that has just stuck with me. I couldn’t imagine life without it.”

 

 And imagine she cannot.  Thompson, 20, grew up with golf at the epicenter of her life. Being homeschooled up until college, she has worked her life around her golf schedule. It allowed and continues to allow her to enhance her talent.     

 

She had her first golf lesson at a young age.     

 

“When you are younger it’s just getting the basics down and starting to formulate a swing, you also have to fun too when you are just starting out as a little one.”     

 

Thompson still carries the idea of having fun with her now. Her motto is “If you’re not having fun, why do it?”

 

 “Anybody I come in contact with, anybody I play with and my teammates, I am always like ‘Have fun out there’.”     

 

Thompson, who is majoring in sports management and also wants to minor in coaching, has even integrated golf into her future plans. She ultimately wants to play pro and if that doesn’t work out she wants to coach, whether it is at a college level or a swing coach.     

 

If she decides to be a swing coach, she would like to be in a PGA program. However, she also wants to use golf as a platform to help share her faith and minister the word of God.     

 

She credits her success as a student and an athlete to time management. When traveling to places like Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, managing time is critical for Thompson. Not only that, but golf matches are played during the week, which can impact her studies.     

 

Even though Thompson was homeschooled she hasn’t felt hinder by not being in regular school. She describes her childhood as “a little boring” but that it was also a “fun childhood.”     

 

Growing up with two younger brothers, who didn’t play sports, she didn’t have someone to share her worldliness with; however she was okay with playing golf by herself. It gave her the opportunity to do more within golf, to meet new people and to develop into the person she is today.     

 

It also gave her the chance to focus on her love of golf, which allowed her to be able to advance to regionals her freshman year. For her, going to regionals was an amazing and humbling experience. It was scary for her being there as a freshman but she used it as a learning practice.   

 

 “It was a one-on-one experience. Being there and just having a caddy, because he was there with you the entire round. The rest of your team isn’t there. “

 

 She also said it gave her the perfect opportunity to study for finals.     

 

“I was out there by the pool in Florida. You can’t go any where out there without having a pretty good view.”     

Thompson has also gained valuable skills such as etiquette and sportsmanship. She believes that athletes need good sportsmanship. She describes golf as a humbling sport and a game of integrity, and that it “puts a lot of good aspects into your life.”     

 

The biggest valuable skill for her was playing on a team, since golf is mostly an individual sport.      

 

“Because I was homeschooled, I had never played on a team. So to learn how to act with a team and having team members that back you up or just someone there to talk to, that was really cool.”     

 

Though Thompson was able to go to regionals, her most memorable match was in the Fall 2015 semester, at the Lady Bearcat Invitational where she shot her career low, 72-68/150 -4, and set the school record for individual lowest round and the 36-hole round.     

 

Thompson lived in California for eight years, where she played on a par-three league, which was the biggest thing for her when she was younger.     

 

“That’s what kept me consistent [playing golf] and kept me going. When I got here [North Carolina], that’s when I kick started playing and taking it more serious.”     

 

She enjoys living in N. C. and has had more opportunities.         

 

Even when not dealing directly with golf, Thompson still has golf on the brain. For her, a perfect day would be sunny, 72 degrees and on the course playing. The same could be said for her perfect lazy. She even does most of her thinking on the golf course.     

 

“That’s where I go when I’m mad, when I’m sad. Or if I just need to get out there by myself and just think. Golf really is my life.”     

 

For Ashlii ‘Smash’ Thompson swinging through life on a golf course is all that really matters.

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