WESTFORD — Molly Smith, an 18-year-old from Westford Academy spent her childhood with a passion for golf. Now, she is the first woman to qualify for the Massachusetts Amateur Championship.
What is the Massachusetts Amateur Championship?
The Massachusetts Amateur Championship is held each year for the state’s top amateur golfers.
The tournament initially teed off on July 10, with Smith failing to make the cut on the second day of stroke play on July 11.
But Smith still made history. A woman has not qualified for the championship during the competition’s 115-year history.
“When I was playing it didn’t really cross my mind. I just thought of it as any other tournament,” Molly Smith said.
To Smith, her time on the field was not about “breaking barriers.” Rather, she says the game has become more diverse and is “growing more than just what people think of golf.”
“People think it’s just old white, rich guys driving around in golf carts and playing golf. I feel like recently, especially in the competitive landscape…Younger people and more women are playing,” she said.
Golf runs in the family
She first found her passion for golf through her father, Phil Smith. She practiced with her sister Morgan, and the two grew up “enjoying each other’s presence on the golf course.”
“It’s been really cool to have somebody living so close to you who has similar goals and interests. I feel like because she’s so good, it pushed me to be better,” Smith said.
The sisters played on the varsity golf team at Westford Academy together. As an upperclassman, she enjoyed playing with her younger peers and watching them improve. She believes the team “will be good for years to come.”
Her younger sister, Maddie, also joined the team during Smith’s senior year.
“It was fun to have this new dynamic with my little sister that I had never experienced before,” she said. “I feel like I can be more of a mentor, or an older leader for my little sister.”
Though Smith and her sisters will no longer play together as Smith moves on to college in the fall, she believes this transition will be “a good new step.”
“I feel like a lot of people group us together because we both love doing the same thing. We’re a year apart, we’re best friends, we spend a lot of time together,” she said.
The “rush” of golfing
Ultimately, it is the “rush” Smith gets from golfing that keeps her playing.
She added that “it’s just a cool feeling. I’ve played other sports but I never got that same feeling. You don’t have a team or other people to rely on. You’re just relying on yourself.”
This sense of self-reliance and the unpredictability that comes with golfing is “part of the fun” for Molly Smith.
“Nothing’s ever the same. Even if you play the same golf course every single day you’re not going to have the same time. You’re not going to have the same clubs in so many different ranges. And that’s like what keeps golf from getting old,” Molly Smith said.
Molly Smith to continue golfing through college
Smith will attend the University of Central Florida in the fall on a golfing scholarship. She looks forward to playing a “competitive schedule” with their team against other golf programs.
She plans to “take a shot” at professional golf in the future.
“That’s been something I wanted to do ever since I was little,” she said.