If you’ve been following my blog for some time now, you’re well aware of the profound impact my brother has had on my life and career. He is the reason I took up the game of golf at the tender age of nine. I am so grateful that he graciously allowed his seven-year-younger sister to join him in his sporting endeavors.

Despite the age gap, I was determined to keep pace with him, both on the golf course and in life. We spent countless hours strolling from one hole to another during our formative years. We discussed strategies for navigating the golf course, but more importantly, we delved into the intricacies of navigating life itself. And those conversations continue to this day.

He knows my game and my mind better than anyone else. It was for this reason that, when we were younger, we would dream about the day when I would turn professional and he could proudly serve as my caddie. Now, with his own business, that dream seemed less realistic.

Somehow, against all odds, I managed to convince him to caddie for me at the 2021 LPGA Monday Qualifier in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As part of the deal, we had agreed to play American Dunes the following day, whether I made it into the tournament or not. It was my way of expressing my heartfelt gratitude.


Ryan and I at the Monday Qualifier.

American Dunes, situated in Grand Haven, Michigan, is a remarkable golf course started by the Folds of Honor Organization. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney, in collaboration with Jack Nicklaus and the rest of the American Dunes staff, they created an extraordinary and profoundly patriotic golfing experience.

I had been following the development of American Dunes closely, eagerly awaiting its grand opening in May. It had always been a dream of mine to play this hallowed ground and pay homage to those who defend our freedom and provide us with the opportunities we cherish. So, I had imagined a sequence of moments that I longed to experience. However, what I hadn’t anticipated were the unexpected and profoundly moving moments that would transpire.

When I arrived at the qualifying site on that Monday, an overwhelming sense of tranquility, confidence, and gratitude washed over me. After all, I had my beloved brother by my side throughout the entire day. We savored the moment, just like we did in our younger years, skillfully navigating both the golf course and the stages of life. It was a rekindling of conversations we both had sorely missed.

Although I fell short of qualifying, it was far from a crushing defeat. With my brother beside me, it became abundantly clear how far we had come and the path that lay ahead. This newfound confidence assured me that these were merely fleeting moments propelling us in the right direction. And I knew that more moments would follow in the days to come.

On Tuesday morning, we set off from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven, brimming with anticipation for an exhilarating day at American Dunes. The moment I arrived, I sensed that we were in for something extraordinary. The memorial wall, staring us in the face from the parking lot, served as an unavoidable reminder that this day was not about the numbers on our scorecards, but about paying homage to the countless heroic Americans who have sacrificed so much. It was a profoundly moving experience, to say the least.


Start of memorial wall.

From the evocative names of the tee markers—Valor, Freedom, Patriot, and Bear—to the heartfelt tribute to a veteran on each hole, from sharing the round with one of the founders to the traditional coin toss, and culminating in the soul-stirring taps played at the 13th hour—every aspect of the day was teeming with profoundly moving moments that surpassed all my expectations.

I was deeply moved, not only by the moments I had long anticipated, but also by the unexpected ones that took me by surprise. My heart swelled with gratitude for my brother’s selflessness in fulfilling our childhood dream and serving as my caddie. I was in awe of the world-class experience provided by American Dunes and the remarkable company I had the privilege to share it with.

While these two days felt like a dream, it dawned on me that our everyday lives are also filled with moments of equal significance. Yet, too often, we find ourselves caught up in the hustle and bustle, failing to pause for even a moment to appreciate the profound impact these moments have on us. How remarkable it would be if we made a conscious effort to create such moments for others. Perhaps then, we wouldn’t be the only ones moved.

Coin toss.

So, as we walk our individual paths, let us not forget the magic that lies within the seemingly ordinary moments. Lets embrace the opportunity to uplift and inspire those around us, just as my brother did for me. And let us honor the heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice, ensuring the freedom and opportunities we hold dear.

In the end, it is not solely about the scorecards, achievements, or titles we accumulate. It is about the lives we touch, the connections we forge, and the moments that move us and others.

On the 18th green at American Dunes.