Savannah Gentry is a Youth on Course member from Kansas City, Missouri. She first became interested in golf when she was 10 years old after a golf academy opened up next door to her school. She was a very athletic kid and bounced around from sport to sport, so when golf became an option for her she jumped at the chance to give it a try! She found that she had a “drive for the game” and quickly started competing as a member of the Kansas City Junior Tour.
“Ever since I started playing I thought competing with kids my age was just something that would be a fun thing to do and experience, and I’d get to play more courses in my area. I enjoy the competitive environment whenever I play. Something about it keeps me on my toes and I enjoy meeting new people. My favorite thing about golf is the overall respect for the game and others, and integrity. Doing the right thing.”
Savannah says that she has learned many valuable lessons through golf, and the connections she’s made through the sport have opened doors to numerous opportunities.
“I am very appreciative of what Youth on Course has given me. I’ve learned to take advantage of opportunities, and see how lucky I am. Bringing people out to the course and getting them involved – I’m paying it forward. Seeing the impact of something as simple as my time was really cool to see that it helped so many people.”
Through her relationships with the Kansas City Junior Tournament (KCJT) Director and the Director of her local First Tee chapter, Savannah has been able to volunteer as Junior Ambassador for the KCJT and give back to her community. Last year she organized and hosted a mini-golf fundraiser, inviting her entire class and their families.
Another big goal for Savannah in 2019 was to help get her high school team to State – something she says hasn’t happened at her school in 5 years. Though her team was able to accomplish this goal, it didn’t exactly play out how she’d pictured it.
“This past year during districts, I was having a pretty solid round when out of nowhere I got hit in the head with a golf ball from about 8 feet away. I broke my jaw and had a concussion and I was out for the entire season. It was one of the biggest things that has happened to me, and one of the hardest things. Our team goal was to get to State, but I was disqualified since I didn’t finish my round. Seeing my teammates advancing to State without me was a big mental struggle.”
During her 6-month long recovery, Savannah says that she wasn’t feeling herself and those around her took notice.
“Golf is the one place that is my space. But after the injury, my friends and family noticed that I was distant and lost motivation.”
Her community rallied around her to build her back up. Her friends, teammates and even girls from other high school golf teams were reaching out to wish her well. Family trips to the golf course became a regular thing, and with every outing her sister Madeline (also a YOC member), her Mom (who specifically took up golf to help Savannah) and Dad (though not a golfer, a wonderful spectator!) reminded Savannah why she loved golf.
“Coming together as a family this summer was such a great experience to get back into golf with them, after dealing with the concussion. It’s been some of the best times of the summer, spending time with my family [on the golf course]. It goes to show how quickly something can change, but I was able to see how many people were on my side and how many people had my back. It was humbling to see how many people in the golf community were there for me. It seems like I have so many people in my life rooting for me.”
Savannah says golf is her biggest passion. She looks forward to continuing her high school golf career, competing at a high level, and aspires one day to work in the golf industry.
“I want to continue to be involved in the golf industry going forward. I’m looking forward to see where golf can take me. Without Youth on Course or The First Tee I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today.”