By: Anya Alvarez
This year, I began my first year playing professional golf on the tour. Playing golf on tour can be a lonely experience. One thing many people don't realize is how isolated the tour is from the real world. When you are gone two to three weeks at a time, maintaining relationships at home can seem impossible. I worried when I started playing professionally how I would create a sense of normalcy on the road, and if I would have meaningful friendships.
I also worried about this more because I would be competing every week against 143 other women. And sometimes women in a competitive atmosphere can be, well, jerks. You've seen it on television: Women competing for a man, or competing on a design or cooking show for some big prize. I saw it in high school when girls were trying out for cheerleading and just how cutthroat it was. They would sabotage each other, and I never understood it. If I was going to win, it would be because I was the best, not because I hurt someone in the process to get there.
Another thing I have noticed over time is how women are each other's worst enemies. I often find myself wary of how close I will get to another woman out of fear that she is putting on a mask, and what she will say behind my back.
This is what worried me when I turned pro: Would the girls be nice? Would I actually be able to make friends?
So far I have been pleasantly surprised at how well women treat each other on the tour. You see girls on the range helping a fellow competitor fix her swing. You'll have girls there to give you a hug if you had a bad day on the course. And because many of us are just starting with no money in the bank, you will rent a car together, share a hotel, and perhaps even share a bed just to save a few bucks. In my last event, my roomie cooked me a delicious dinner. One needs these friendships on the road in order to be able to survive emotionally out here.
We are all grinding and all pushing to be the best we can be. One week we may make a cut and a big check. But then we might not make a cut in our next three events and be living on pennies. The friendships out here can help you through that rough spot. Perhaps another player went through the same rough patch and has valuable advice to give.
There is a true sisterhood out here. Sure, there are some cliques. And there are some girls you certainly don't want to be friends with. What's been refreshing about this tour is seeing girls who can be competitive, yet friendly and encouraging to other players.
I value the friendships I have created on this tour and feel blessed that every week, no matter where the tournament is, I will have a group of friends waiting for me, that I can laugh, cry, smile and be competitive with.
It is possible to foster relationships and still want to kick that person's butt. However, being the best doesn't mean that you have to create enemies in the process.
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