Updated: August 06, 2020 10:41 PM
Created: August 06, 2020 02:40 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- There's a big push to bring more Native Americans into golf.
A local organization is helping to make that happen.
They held an all-Native tournament for youth, and now some New Mexico teens are going to get some national exposure.
Shandiin Harper, 17, is one of those teens.
"I put in about five to six hours every day," she said. "That's from maybe being at the range for two hours, chipping and putting, for another two hours on course which takes about two-four hours. It really depends on the day."
The Farmington native goes to Piedra Vista High School, and plays golf seven days a week.
She won, in her age group, the first ever Notah Begay III all-Native National Golf Tournament, securing her spot in a national tournament in the fall.
"I love how much work you have to put in and the feeling you get when you win because it's an Individual sport, so it makes it, the feeling of winning so much better," Shandiin
Clint Begay, director for NBD3FIT, said over 30 Native youth played in the qualifying tournament over the weekend. Begay added that it's encouraging to see so many play-- especially when looking at some of the challenges of playing golf.
"It's a hard sport to play because financially it's expensive, and then the other thing is some of these kinds live in rural areas, we had a kid coming from Zuni, New Mexico and his nearest golf course is Gallup but that's not always in the best shape, so he travels to Grants, which is a couple hour drive for him."
They had to limit the competition to just in-state players because of the state's 14-day quarantine rule, and allowed just one spectator per player.
Shandiin is looking forward to playing in the televised national tournament in Louisiana in November, and being role model for other young Native golfers.
"Just do it-- because it's really a fun sport and you don't want to miss out on it."
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