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Shannon Fish: My Story

on 17 July 2012.

Hi, my name is Shannon. This is probably the point where, under different circumstances, I would shake your hand and tell you what a pleasure it is to meet you. For the next several months you’ll have the opportunity to learn a lot about me and what it takes to play professional golf.

What you’re reading now is the first of my monthly columns for Texas Links, in which I’ll take you along on my journey to the LPGA Tour. This summer I’m planning on playing in some state open champions and Symetra Tour events. The goal by the fall is to land at LPGA Qualifying School in Daytona Beach, Fla., and earn my card for the LPGA Tour for 2013.

Every month, I’ll report back with stories about the tournaments I played in and the people who helped get me here. During my junior, amateur and college careers, I had some of the best mentors in the game. Those include my mom, Yvonne, a mini-tour veteran and member of Champions Golf Club; the late Dick Harmon and the iconic Jackie Burke Jr.

I’ve been playing golf for about 16 years. It all started with the STPGA Little Linksters program when I was six. I also played on a T-Ball team, competed in gymnastics and cheerleading. When I got to junior high, I decided to get serious about golf.

I’ve lived in Spring, just north of Houston, my entire life. I played high school golf at Klein Oak, where I won just about every event I played in from my freshman year until the fall of my senior year. That’s when I decided to graduate early and accept a golf scholarship to the University of Texas.

My four years in Austin were the most memorable and incredible of my life so far. I earned a degree in government and competed in Division I sports, during which I met loads of talented athletes and developed lifelong friendships.

I also experienced a lot of change at Texas. There was a coaching change. I went through a slump and lost my love for the game. I regained it my senior year and was selected as a member of the All-Big XII team for women’s golf.

After college, I put my clubs away for a year and focused on the LSAT exam and law school. I wasn’t sure where my life was going, but after graduation I was sure it would have nothing to do with golf.

Little did I know I would wake up on a beautiful Texas day and actually want to go to the golf course. I still think my family was as shocked as I was. Then it began: adrenaline started to flow, a smile graced my face and once again I was happy and grateful to be practicing.

That day last July is when I began my long journey to the LPGA.

I spent last fall in Phoenix playing the Cactus Tour. I regained a competitive edge with four top-five finishes and a victory at the Penny Pulz Open at Palmbrooke Country Club. While in Phoenix, I auditioned the Golf Channel’s Big Break. Much to my surprise a producer called me six weeks later and told me I was selected for the show. I remember thinking, “Wow, my life is really about to change.”

And change it has.

Other than coming away from the Big Break with 11 new friends and a recent appreciation for those who have dedicated their time putting together and producing a reality show, I gained a heightened admiration for the importance of the saying, “Take one shot at a time.”

I realized that clichés become clichés because 99 percent of the time they are 100 percent true. You might think that focusing for 18 holes is a daunting task, but trying to take the focus of 18 holes and put it into one shot left me with an unnerving force I wasn’t sure how to handle.

Life after Big Break has been a whirlwind, but trying to balance a competitive career and quasi-celebrity status has been an exciting undertaking. I’ve been blessed to receive letters and messages with incredible words of encouragement and inspiration from friends, family and complete strangers.

These days I try not to dwell on my early exit from the show. The past, however, has helped me appreciate the present. I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. I know great things are in store for me, and ultimately I hope and believe I will be in the right place and right time.

With that, it’s time for me to get back to the practice tee. I’m preparing for the Texas Women’s Open at The Lakes at Castle Hills on June 20-21 in Lewisville. Be sure to check next month’s Texas Links to read more about my journey to the LPGA Tour. Thanks for the taking the trip with me.

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