It’s not the senior year that SNJGA member Hailey Stevenson–or anyone else in much of the world–had in mind. Stevenson envisioned her final months at Centennial High filled with golf tournaments, good times and plenty of quiet moments to reflect on high school before heading off to college. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, that’s all changed. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
“It’s been kind of terrible timing since just about everything in my senior year has been cancelled,” she said as people stay sheltered. “But my parents (Chad and Misty) put up a net and I can still hit golf balls and school-wise the teachers are posting a lot of things online that we can use to make up class work and help me boost my GPA for college.”
Ah, yes, college. The good news is Stevenson will be heading to college this fall. The better news is she’s heading to college on a golf/academic scholarship. The best news is she’s heading to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., as she takes aim at becoming a pilot.
And she is quick to give much of the credit for those dreams coming true to the Southern Nevada Junior Golf Association.
“All of the tournaments they ran gave all of us chances to be recognized by college coaches,” she said. “They would see me in tournaments and see my game. I reached out to Embry-Riddle and they loved my game and it ended up being perfect for me.”
She added that her dad was also a visionary when it came to golf.
“When I first started golf, dad was excited for me,” she said. “He’d say, even when I was nine, ‘you’re going to be amazing’…’this is going to help you get into college.’ I didn’t know what to think then but now I realize all the hard work is really paying off.”
She added the SNJGA program also helped her learn about her strengths, but more importantly, her weaknesses.
“One of the lessons I really learned was to not get down on myself,” she said. “My mental game could ruin me if things weren’t going well. They just kept telling me that I have to have confidence in myself. I know I’ve put in the work and I just need to believe in myself.”
She also looking forward to learning more about the game of golf–and her game–from the college coaches and possibly look at giving the LPGA a shot down the road. But, she’s also got a Plan B as well as a Plan C.
“I do enjoy business,” she said. “I’m going to minor in that. A lot of business trips you go golfing so that will help me build connections after college…whether it’s flying or in business.”
But there’s also the possibility of the LPGA Tour route.
“Depending on how my golf game progresses I’d love to apply to play the LPGA Tour,” she said. “But I know I have a lot of work to do so we’ll see.”
For now, it’s the pilot dream that has her focused front and center.
“My junior year my mom and I went to a college fair at UNLV,” she said. “One college in California had a guy talking about becoming a pilot and the way he talked about it seemed so cool. I took an introductory flight in June and I loved it and then I started taking introductory lessons.”
So while most people hear the phrase ‘the sky’s the limit’ when they think about their future, for Stevenson, the sky’s just the next step.