To understand how dedicated Emma de Groot is to golf, you may just need to look at where she came from. The UTC sophomore was born in Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, Australia, where she woke up to the sounds of the waves and routinely took a morning “paddle” out into the nearby Pacific Ocean.
“I knew I wanted to get a degree when I finish high school,” de Groot said. “And in when you’re in
So the choice was made to come across the globe, to a place she had hardly heard of, much less been.
In Chattanooga Colette Murray was getting her first opportunity as a head golf coach. She graduated from
“Recruiting is the key,”
The patience has paid off, and just two years into the program, UTC is ranked in the top 50 in the nation.
“I have 2.5 scholarships to work with, which is not going to get you anywhere,”
“When you’re an international and you want to play golf, you don’t know a lot about over here [in
De Groot didn’t know exactly where she was going except that it was far from home and she would be playing a lot of golf.
“When I’m home I go to sleep with the sounds of the waves, and here you go to sleep to sirens,” de Groot said. “I live right on the beach [in
What has never changed for de Groot is golf – and the drive to get better.
“Persistent,” is how she described herself. “Someone who’s not going to settle for anything less than my best. I won’t leave the weight room until I feel like I’ve had a workout. I’m kind of a perfectionist. I’m not going to be happy until it’s exactly perfect.”
The start to her college career was about as close to perfect as could have been expected. She won twice and finished in the top-10 in her first nine tournaments as a freshman. She earned a bid to the NCAA East Regional Tournament where she ended up two shots short of an appearance at the national tournament. Then to start out her sophomore year she won her first event of the fall in 2008.
That wasn’t enough for de Groot.
“When I made it to regionals last year and I missed out on nationals it was a wake up call,” de Groot said. “I said if I’m going to do this I’m going to do it right and not give myself any excuses for not making it to where I want to be.
“I don’t want to have that feeling again of being so close and having it slip away. So when I went home I did everything I could to get myself fit to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
That attitude is what stood out for
The team is void of captains, but de Groot has undoubtedly emerged as a team leader.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better player,”
This year the challenge has been tougher competition. Playing teams that are consistently in the Top 25 nationally has added pressure and
“I know we can beat these teams but it needs to start feeding into them that we do belong here; we just need to go out and play,”
The NCAA Tournament is a little more than a month away and de Groot has her sights set high.
“Golf wise I don’t think I’ve accomplished that much,” she said. “I want to win nationals as a team and I want to win nationals by myself.”
For a program that started just two years ago, the progress has surpassed any reasonable expectations. But for de Groot, it is just a beginning. She didn’t leave her beachfront paradise to come to
“In ten years I’d be one of the best players in the world, that’s where I wanna be,” she said. “Professionally I know I can. I can see myself being one of the best players in the world.”