Athlete Sarah Hoffman is playing in her first professional golf tournament this week and it’s in her own backyard. Also, the tournament sponsor, Volvic, is her individual sponsor.
Hoffman was a multisport standout in Saline High School athletics, excelling in soccer and basketball as well as in golf. During her senior year she had to make a difficult choice and she decided to accept a golf scholarship at Grand Valley State University.
She studied nursing at Grand Valley and became a registered nurse. After receiving her degree, she worked for two years at University of Michigan Hospital in orthopedics. Two months ago, however, she resigned from her position to try to make it on the professional golf tour.
She said that she resigned to “chase the dream.”
“I will be 26 next week,” Hoffman said. “I don’t want to be 27 or 28 and still regretting or still thinking about why I didn’t go and do it.
“I can always fall back on nursing and I will keep my license current, but I think if you have an opportunity and a chance to do something that not a whole lot of people get to do, why not try?”
She demonstrates a lot of confidence. Unlike some golfers who take time adjusting their stances and take numerous practice swings, Sarah just steps up and whacks the ball, often with drives over 260 yards.
Both of Hoffman’s parents, Randy and Jan, are avid golfers. Sarah began playing at Travis Pointe Country Club when she was five and played every summer.
She is now looking forward to her first professional tournament, being held at that same course. She definitely has a home field advantage.
“I think that any time you know the course it works to your benefit,” Hoffman said. “So, yeah, I know the course better than anybody else.”
She will also enjoy an abundance of fans. Many family and friends will be coming out to watch her compete.
“I’m feeling good about the tournament,” Hoffman said. “I’m just going to enjoy the moment and be thankful for it and see what happens.”
Sarah’s parents are understandably proud. On Monday her dad carried around her clubs on a practice round while mom watched from the sideline and took some photos.
Jan said that she has really enjoyed Sarah’s competitions and sort of missed it when Sarah was a full-time nurse. Playing at such a high level, she said that Sarah has developed friendships with women golfers all around the world.
The LPGA Volvic Championship was organized by Ann Arbor resident Keith Karbo. Perhaps because many women are currently vying for spots on their country’s’ Olympic teams, the response from international golfers has been phenomenal.
Most of the top 100 woman golfers in the world will be participating in the tournament. Ticket sales have approached 6,000 and more than 600 volunteers have registered to help out. Active and former military personnel will get in free.
Part of the purpose of the tournament will be to raise awareness of the services offered to military families through the National Network of Depression Centers. The tournament will also contribute to the ChadTough Foundation.
First round competition will begin on Thursday May 26 with first tee times at 7:30 a.m. Rounds two and three will be Friday and Saturday.
Local artisans at Motawi Tileworks will be providing a unique trophy.