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How did I get here?
By Anne Marie Goslak

 

Have you ever woken up and asked yourself, "How in the world did I get HERE?" As I approach my mid 40's, I seem to ask myself that daily.

Do you remember when you were in your twenties? You had it all figured out. You knew exactly what you'd do for a living, who you'd marry, and where you would live. I thought I knew, but somehow, along the way, I was re directed, like a bad flight out of Newark.

At the end of the day, when I look in the mirror, I do not see an LPGA super star. I don't even see a world famous teaching pro. I see an executive director of a nonprofit who teaches life skills to children. It's not all bad. Actually it's pretty amazing, but I never thought I'd be doing this.

I was 'supposed' to be on tour. I grew up, a child prodigy, shooting in the 70's by the time I was 13. I won the National Junior Invitational at age 14, with scores in the 60's. By the time I was recruited to Wake Forest, I was averaging under par on any given day.

So what happened? Well, Wake Forest was a lot harder than high school, and playing on a team was more challenging than practicing alone. Someone should have told me that college golf is NOT a team sport. Your 'team mates' want to beat you. And that coach you loved? Well, they got rid of her and replaced her with someone new. College was a tumultuous time and it showed in my scores.

My final round of college golf was in GA. It rained, I played poorly and the girls on my team fought all the way home. As I approached my dorm, I chucked my wet golf shoes in the trash and vowed never to play golf again.

I kept true to my word and did not pick up the clubs for a while. I took a summer job at a country club til I could figure out what to do next.

One day a member walked in to the pro shop and discovered that I had played golf for Wake Forest. He told my boss he wanted to play golf with me. I declined, telling him I did not play anymore.

My boss looked at me as if I had just shot the president. He leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Get some *#^% clubs from the bag room. Put these shoes on, and tee it up. You never tell a member "NO"! And Anne Marie, one more thing if you don't break 80, you're fired."

So with that not so gentle nudge from my boss, I stepped back into the world of golf. I shot 78 that day with a chip in on #18. With that humble start, I fought my way onto the mini tour, to the LGPA Q School, and various Open qualifiers. I learned to enjoy competition again, but eventually found my true love, teaching.

So here I am, many years later. My dream has come true, but it was not the dream I thought I wanted. I have the privilege of helping people achieve their golf goals and I run a nonprofit for children. The First Tee of the Triad has introduced hundreds of children to life skills and values they so desperately need. I may not ever get on the Golf Channel, but I love my job. Sometimes, I look in the mirror and ask myself, "How did I get here?" and I thank God.

-Anne Marie Goslak