Mariah Stackhouse, AJGA alum and LPGA star, shared her road to success with the field at the Junior All-Star Invitational at Reynolds Lake Oconee.
The 25-year-old addressed topics like college golf recruitment, junior golf and amateur play, fundamentals, her heroes and motivation.
Stackhouse shared a lesson from a coach early in her impressive junior career who urged her to keep goal colleges close to the vest to ensure she saw all the options.
“When I was asked about college from then on, I said, ‘I don’t know … I’m open.’ I think that simple act opened my mind to other possibilities. If I didn’t have that conversation with my coach, I wouldn’t have even considered anything else.”
Stackhouse said her heart was firmly set on attending Duke, but she made visits to other schools with her mom during the recruiting process. She said she felt at home at Stanford after a day on campus and advised other juniors to choose a school based on more than just its golf offerings.
It’s easy to pick a school based on the coach or most competitive program at the time. It’s important that you pick a place that will also fulfill you as a student. Your job in college is to prove your golf game, but it’s also to grow in a healthy environment into a young adult.
In college for the Cardinal, Stackhouse earned All-America and All-Pac 12 honors all four years and helped Stanford win the National Championship in 2015.
Stackhouse also reflected on her time as a junior golfer, where she earned Rolex Junior All-America honors three times, won four AJGA events and competed on PING Junior Solheim Cup and Wyndham Cup match play teams.
“What I gained was friendship ... I found my family with the AJGA. Those same people are my buddies I traveled the world with in college and now on Tour.”
The Georgia native talked about the things from junior golf that continue to impact her today: the importance of playing in Junior-Ams with supporters of events, and the importance of finding fundamental drills which continue to provide roots to bring her more confidence. She discussed her sports role models in AJGA alumni Tiger Woods and Lorena Ochoa and most importantly, her parents who provided support more than immediate golf feedback to help her grow.
Stackhouse became just the seventh African-American player to qualify for the LPGA in 2017. Professionally, she has collected four top-10 finishes, reached the top 50 on the money list, and contended for her first pro title in 2019.
Her advice to juniors about staying the course if they also wanted to play on Tour was simple.
“If you get out there and it seems like everyone is playing better, they are. It’s a higher level and more is demanded. I think the important thing is to find a way to make yourself believe that you’ll make every putt out there every day like you do now.”
Stackhouse also helped present awards to the 20 junior golfers being recognized for their place on the 2019 Junior All-Star team. In 2019, these athletes compiled 20 wins, 54 top-five finishes, three college commitments, and 28 appearances at the Junior All-Star Invitational at Reynolds Lake Oconee.
JONAS APPEL of Encinitas, Calif. (2022)
GAVEN LANE of Argyle, Texas (2023)
ERIC LEE of Fullerton, Calif. (2023)
TYLER LEE of Addison, Texas (2023)
IAN MASPAT of San Diego, Calif. (2021)
SIHAN SANDHU of Ashburn, Va. (2024)
MATTHEW SPAULDING of Spring, Texas (2022)
HUNTER THOMSON of (Canada) Calgary, Alberta, (2021)
KEATON VO of Austin, Texas (2022)
WELLS WILLIAMS of West Point, Miss. (2022)
KYNADIE ADAMS of Gallatin, Tenn. (2022)
SARA IM of Duluth, Ga. (2023)
CHLOE JOHNSON of Evansville, Ind. (2022)
TAYLOR KEHOE of (Canada) Strathroy, Ontario (2022)
JACLYN LAHA of Pleasanton, Calif. (2023)
MACKENZIE LEE of North Little Rock, Ark. (2022)
KATIE LI of Basking Ridge, N.J (2023)
LYNN LIM of Gallatin, Tenn. (2022)
FAITH LOW of Foster City, Calif. (2022)
YUNXUAN ZHANG of (China) Plano, Texas (2022)