Rachel Kuehn’s introduction to the game of golf came earlier than most. Her mother Brenda who was a Wake Forest University All-American and a 1999 Wake Forest Sports Hall of Famer, played the 2001 U.S. Women’s Open when she was eight months pregnant with Rachel. As Kuehn grew up, she played many sports, but started playing golf competitively when she was just seven years old. While competing, Kuehn found out about LPGA*USGA Girls Golf and the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour through friends.
“My town doesn’t have a lot of female golfers,” Kuehn said. “When I’d go to the Peggy Kirk Bell tournaments and different events, I was surrounded by girls that had the same interests as me. It was fun and I’ve created friendships and relationships that I know that will last me a lifetime. [These experiences] really has shaped me into the person and player I am today.”
Kuehn continued to find success on the golf course where she earned many accolades. However, all golfers can have bad days on the course. Kuehn noted a piece of advice she received from her Mom after a difficult round that she still carries with her today.
“[My Mom] said, ‘Half of the field doesn’t care how you do and the other half is rooting against you. So, you have to be your own best friend on the golf course,’” Kuehn said. “As a person who is hard on herself on the golf course, I took that to heart. Because she’s right—most people aren’t rooting for you. You have to be in the right mindset to be trying to build yourself up on the golf course and not tear yourself down.”
Kuehn later committed to play at Wake Forest University for the Women’s Golf Team. Despite COVID-19 cutting her freshman season short, Kuehn made headlines after winning her first collegiate start at the Annika Intercollegiate. She continues to be one of the top amateurs in the country where she recently claimed back-to-back major wins at the North & South Women’s Amateur and the Ladies National Golf Association (LNGA) Amateur.
“I’m really thankful to be out and have the chance to be competing again,” Kuehn said. “Now that tournaments have started to pick back up, I definitely missed that aspect of golf [during COVID-19].”
Her win at the North & South Women’s Amateur earned her an exemption to the U.S. Women’s Amateur taking place on Aug. 3 – 9. When it comes to preparing for tournaments like the U.S. Women’s Amateur, Kuehn said you have to prepare both mentally and physically.
“You want to be confident in hitting the ball, know that you’re hitting your putts on line and that you can read the greens,” Kuehn said. “[However,] if you are mentally prepared for long days, a long week and you’re confident in your golfing abilities, it sets you up to have a great week.”
As for future golf aspirations, Kuehn said she love to try to make All-American again and hopefully compete for a National Championship with the Wake Forest Women’s Golf Team. On the individual side, she would like to play at a U.S. Women’s Open and maybe play professionally. With the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) cancelling Wake Forest Women’s Golf Fall season, Kuehn said she is hoping to find a way to get in one or two professional events this Fall. She will also be a part of the U.S. Team in the Arnold Palmer Cup this December.
Over the years, Kuehn said some of the biggest life lessons she has learned on the course have been honesty, patience and resilience. For females that are considering hitting the links, Kuehn said to remember that golf is just a game.
“You’re supposed to have fun,” Kuehn said. “If you’re not enjoying it, you’re not doing it right. You have to practice and your practice is going to pay off in the long run.”