As I get ready to play in the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship, my first-ever LPGA Tour major, I can’t help but reflect on how I got here. From pretty much growing up on a golf course to walking away from the sport and everything in between — my journey has certainly not been a traditional one.

Still, through the good, the bad and the ugly, this sport has taken me to places I never dreamed of and on paths I never would have traveled otherwise. For that, without a doubt, I’m just incredibly grateful.

It all started for me at a very young age. My dad is a PGA professional, so inevitably I picked up a club as well. I tried a ton of different sports early on, but golf felt natural. Like it was in my blood.

As I continued to grow and develop, so did my skill level. In high school, I won three state championships, and it became more and more clear that golf was my calling.

I was committed. I signed with Tulane to play college golf, but things didn’t go as planned. Long story short, after one year, (and one hurricane) Tulane dropped the program due to budget cuts.

As I was exploring other schools, UNC Wilmington got on my radar. I ended up transferring and finished my college career as a Seahawk.

There is no question that my time in Wilmington was formative and defining. You don’t just grow as a golfer in college – you also develop a lot as a person as you’re trying to figure out the next step in your life.

For me, the next step wasn’t Q-School. At least not right away. It took me a year after graduating before I started to embrace my professional golf career.

I qualified for the Epson Tour and played from 2012 to 2017. It was a phenomenal experience where I met lifelong friends and competed at the highest levels. Eventually, however, I reached a crossroads.

I had been doing this for a very long time, and the energy and money invested into touring made me rethink my future career path. The life of a pro golfer is difficult and expensive. The realities of training, travel, and the basic necessities make being on tour a costly endeavor.

I loved golf and everything about it. But at this point in my life, I was ready for a change.

I decided to step away from the game and work as a financial advisor, essentially putting my college degree to good use. Still, the 9-to-5 and overall work environment just didn’t feel like the right thing for me. Truthfully, I missed playing golf.

Recognizing I needed golf in my life, I went part-time as a financial advisor and became more involved in the sport again.

I started teaching high school golf, which is some of the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. To teach other golfers like me how to push and be better was so fulfilling. It reignited my love for the sport during a time when I was unsure what my next steps would be. I was teaching them, but in some ways, they were teaching me.

Finding my footing and adapting to my unique path wasn’t always easy, but I made it work.

The year 2018 and 2019 were rollercoasters.

Let’s start with the good. In 2018, I married my husband. He deserves special recognition in this story because meeting him has been one of the best things that ever happened to me. Getting married and starting a family with him was an absolute blessing that changed my life forever.

Unfortunately, I needed his strength and support more than I ever wished for.

In 2019, my sister was in a terrible accident. She was confined to a wheelchair for six months — it was life-changing for her and for our family.

Going through the recovery journey with her (and her hard work has paid off as she is nearly fully recovered as I write this) was a reality check on what really mattered in life. We often get so caught up in our own careers and passions that we forget that family is what matters. The people who love and care for us are what we should be focused on.

While this moment was a terrible low for my family, it taught me a valuable lesson and helped ground me. Sometimes highs follow lows. During this period, we found out I was pregnant with my son.

All of these experiences made me value and enjoy golf so much more again.

When I was offered a position to become at LPGA Professional at Baltimore Country Club, I jumped at the opportunity. There is such a quality team and membership at BCC, I’m really proud to be there.

This move made so much sense because my priorities had shifted. The way I looked at the game had shifted. Above all, it was the perfect fit for me to stay involved in a sport that has given me so much throughout the years and give back as an instructor.

When I qualified for the KPMG PGA Women’s Championship last year, it felt like everything had built up to this point in my career. As the event approaches, it’s finally starting to feel more and more real, too.

I don’t have wildly high expectations going into the event, to be honest. If you read my story, you probably understand why. I want to soak it all in and can’t wait to meet up with some old friends and have a great time. Having my nearly-2-year-old see his Mama sink some birdies would be a nice bonus.

As I reflect on my journey, I can’t help but smile. When I walked away in 2017, I certainly wasn’t expecting to play in the most prestigious event I’ve ever played in five years later.

Then again, as my story has shown me more than once, life has a funny way of working. And sometimes, you just have to trust the process.