“Wow, I can’t believe I’m here.”
I’d argue that every athlete feels this way at some point during his or her career.
For me, that moment came during the 2018 British Ladies Open.
I was in the playoffs, working towards the quarterfinals in one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the world.
Behind me was my brother, who caddied for me the entire tournament.
Having my brother there for every step of the way was an experience I’ll never forget.
He has always been one of my biggest mentors and is one of the reasons I made it there.
Daniel is four years older than me, but we did not have your stereotypical brother-sister relationship. It felt like he was my teacher almost, and I was his student.
Everything my brother did, I did. I wanted to follow in his footsteps. That was especially true when it came to sports.
We lived next to a small golf course while growing up. It was just a 6-hole course, but my brother and I regularly went out there to hit balls together.
While most older brothers would get annoyed or irritated that his little sister was following him around, Daniel didn’t.
He was always willing to help me improve in whatever I was doing.
And I’m beyond grateful for that.
Daniel helped pave the way to my athletic success. If it weren’t for him, I would have never taken that next step in my golf career.
As I grew older, I fell in love with the mentally challenging aspect of golf.
This made me want to play it more and more.
When I first started golfing, it was just one of many sports, and it was far from being my favorite.
I played soccer year-round, skied in the winter, and golfed in the spring.
It’s not that I didn’t love golf. I just liked soccer and skiing more at the time.
Especially skiing captivated me as a teenager. I found myself on skis for the first time when I was three years old. It’s just one of the things we do in Norway.
I competed on a national level until I was 15 when I made the full transition to golf.
While competing on that national stage, I absolutely thought my future was in skiing – clearly I was wrong about that.
One winter, I competed at the nationals and had high expectations. But when I didn’t perform up to my standards, it took a toll on me. So, I distracted myself with golf to get my mind off of it.
And that’s what kind of initiated the switch.
That spring, my brother was preparing to move to the United States and play golf at Coastal Carolina. And just like I had done the first 15 years of my life, I wanted to follow his footsteps.
His journey to the US was my motivation.
Golf isn’t a big sport in Norway, which made it tough to reach that next level.
Sure, there are some great players and trainers; it just isn’t a very popular sport which made resources slim.
The best way for me to improve my skills was to attend a school in Oslo, the capital of Norway. And it was exactly what I needed.
Everywhere I looked, there were more golfers, better players, and phenomenal trainers.
Moving there was a challenge though. I didn’t know anyone, and I didn’t have my family around.
But I knew it was the right thing to do.
During my time in Oslo, I had the chance to represent Norway in various international tournaments. This was a huge break for me.
In fact, that’s how the University of Alabama found me.
When I played in the 2017 Girls British Open Amateur Championship, I played some of the best golf of my life and finished second.
Then, just a few days later, Alabama got in contact with me. I was honestly surprised. One of the top college programs in the country had an interest in a kid who grew up over 4,000 miles from their campus.
I never expected a prestigious program like that would want me. It made all the hard work I put in worth it. And I couldn’t wait to tell my brother.
Like always, Daniel had some great advice. He said to make sure the Alabama coaches would give me the best four years I could get.
So, when I came on my official visit, I wanted to make sure the coaching staff was the right fit for me. That was the ultimate factor for whether or not I’d commit.
And once I got to know the coaches, along with their values and goals, the decision was pretty easy.
Alabama, here I come.
The whole move to the United States still seems pretty surreal. When I stepped off the plane as an Alabama golfer, my dreams were coming true.
But no doubt, it’s hard being away from family. Sure, I’ve lived away from home before, but never like this. Now, family is not just a quick trip away.
After the first few weeks of school, when the excitement and adrenaline wore off, the homesickness started hitting me.
There is a seven-hour time difference between Alabama and Norway. My family and I talk as much as we can, but it isn’t easy.
This is why I’m grateful that I took my brother’s advice. It helped me find the right school with the right people to help me battle my homesickness.
I have the best teammates and coaches who surround me with all this positive energy.
At the end of the day, I’m incredibly proud of being here and can’t wait to really get into it.
As I look around and take it all in, I’m often thinking the same thing as I did in 2018 when my brother was caddying for me.
“Wow, I can’t believe I’m here.”