From the Links to the Library
As she prepares to wrap up her career
at Northern Arizona University, Stephanie Kim leaves as the greatest golf
player in school history. The two-time Big Sky Player of the Year broke the
school record for scoring average three years in a row.
When Kim was chosen as the Big Sky
Player of the Year and Big Sky Freshman of the Year her first year, it made her
the first golfer in conference history – and the first female player, period –
to win both honors in a single season.
She won the 2010 Big Sky championship by four strokes, and was also
named the NAU Female Athlete of the Year; the next summer, she competed in the U.S. Women's Amateur
match in Rhode Island, lasting until the Round of 32.
Focusing on the fun
Through it all, Kim says her primary
goal was never about winning - the key to her success was focusing on the fun.
just try to play one shot at a time at every tournament—just having fun is the
most important part of playing," Kim says. "I really enjoy being
outside, and especially like seeing my teammates play in the group in front of
me or behind me. Whether we win or lose, we have a lot of fun. "
According to Kim, her teammates were a
key part of the reason that she chose to come to Northern Arizona University.
Born in Korea, she and her family moved to the United States when she was nine.
After a brief stint in California, her family moved to Phoenix. It was there
that she met many of her future teammates, and began to consider the benefits
that Northern Arizona University might provide her.
"When I first came to visit (the
university), it felt really good," Kim says. "The (other golfers)
were all really good players, and they were all so nice and friendly. I also
pretty much knew everyone on the team because they're all from Arizona, and I
had played with many of them in junior golf."
When Kim first joined the team, she was
the youngest member. Now, four years later, she is a staggeringly accomplished
golfer and the leader of the team. As she once looked up to the seniors on the
team, now the freshmen on the team look up to her.
Kim strives to be a role model in more
ways than one - in addition to being a record-shattering student-athlete, Kim
is also an academic juggernaut, including a three-time selection to the
National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar Team, and a three-time
Big Sky All-Academic selection. She has also received the Golden Eagle
A double-major in advertising and
photography, Kim says she has loved the experience of attending Northern
"I had a class in advertising,
really liked it, and decided I wanted to major in it," she says. "I
couldn't decide what I wanted to minor in, so I talked with several of my
professors, and decided to pursue a double major, which I also really enjoy. It
was a great process—I love my professors, and had really good experiences
working with them."
Much as she did at the start of her
freshman year, Kim dreams of someday playing on the LPGA tour. As always, she vows
to not worry too much about winning or losing. This philosophy, she says, is
one of the greatest lessons that golf has taught her.
goal is to) have fun and enjoy it out there," she says. "Sometimes
people get frustrated with the game—I used to, but learned to be more relaxed
on the course and enjoy every moment."