When I met Sydney Rogers almost four years ago, I was impressed by her drive. It was clear that she had a mission to learn to play golf and she was going to do it no matter what, even if it was pouring during her lesson. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of watching Sydney develop into a young woman of integrity staying firm in her beliefs while also learning to laugh at herself and relax.
When you first started golf lessons with Coach Glen, you were a dancer, what changed?
I started lessons with Coach Glen the summer before my freshman year with the intent of making the golf team and I did. Actually, I played golf for Seminole Ridge for all four years of high school.
I was still dancing that year but I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I was burnt out and it was not financially feasible for me to progress in dance. Golf is different. In dance you memorize steps but with golf you need to feel your swing, knowing is not enough, making it more personal.
What’s it like working with Coach Glen?
I liked Coach Glen from the start. He provided all of the information for me to have a solid foundation. I also liked that he drives you to be golden, he wants you to develop discipline in your practice, in your mindset and he gives you all the facts you need to do it. He is a good match for me because he is tough when I need it. When I get frustrated, he can put me in the right headspace to get back on track and succeed.
What’s the hardest part about golf for you?
Definitely, the mental side. I have not perfected that. I have a hard time getting out of my head. I usually go into a round with high expectations and then when I don’t meet them, I let the negatives take over my headspace as I play. I am only now starting to make some progress but it is a struggle.
I have discovered that I play better during high school matches than I do in individual tournaments. My best round happened this year in a match at Winston Trails where I shot 44 over 9 holes. I seem to be more relaxed in those situations and freak out when the round is only about me but I am not giving up. I plan to continue taking lessons because I want to play this game for years to come. I am open to walking-on in college or playing intramurally.
What advice do you have for junior golfers?
In general, I say "Don't be afraid to try. Take opportunities that are offered because they could completely change your life."
For golf, "Practice. Put the work in or you won’t see the results. Coach Glen can only offer you the information but you have to use it. I like the drills a lot, especially practicing without a ball. Take the time each day to work on feeling the swing and it will pay off. It will make the difference in your technical game."
Speaking about technical aspects, why is biotech of interest to you?
I have been helping to raise funds for the Children’s Miracle Network for several years; last year alone the Seminole Ridge Dance Marathon raised over $63,000. Through that effort, I have learned that life is not about what you gain, something small we do for others can have a lifelong impact.
I have always enjoyed science. In one of my labs, I was able to study colon cancer by analyzing DNA samheples. I learned my way around the lab and started to become fascinated by the practical applications of what I was learning. I could be on a team that cures cancer or develops a treatment that makes it no different than the common cold. So many possibilities and being a part of it would definitely change the quality of life for the “Miracle Kids” and so many others.
If I can start putting the puzzle pieces together at Clemson that would be a dream come true.
Are there other puzzle pieces that make up who you are?
I am a part of the National Honor Society which is a great academic accomplishment but I really enjoy the community service aspect of being a member. I volunteer for Beaver Golf every chance I get because it is so cool to witness the kids progress in their game and take it to the next level. It is also a lot of fun to squirt them and make them laugh.
Best Buddies is another group that I enjoy. I get paired up with other students at the school who may have intellectual and developmental disabilities. I learn so much from them as we develop our friendship.
Last, but certainly not least is First Priority which allows me to connect students to Christ and a local church by hosting fun events like “Friendsgiving.” This group is especially important to me because I was invited to attend a youth group in my freshman year and my life changed completely. I am so grateful and I want others to experience the same joy that I have.