by Allie White
Hang-gliding from 2,000 feet in the air is a pretty neat feeling. It’s almost like floating down a river that’s in the sky. You are free, but you are also conscious of the kindness of the wind for holding you up.
I remember driving down to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with my best golf pal Katherine Perry to go hang-gliding. It was a few years ago- back when Katherine and I were both in college playing golf for the University of North Carolina and we had just been ousted from the match play portion of the North-South Amateur Tournament held annually at Pinehurst No. 2.
That particular hang-gliding adventure was just the start of a long list of KP and Allie golf adventures. I could probably write a whole sequel to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy we have so many good tales.
We first met when we both qualified for the 2009 US Women’s Open out of Carolina Trace Golf Club. I scrambled to snag the second spot while KP smoked everybody to win the first spot. I didn’t know her at the time, but I can remember thinking, “I can’t believe that scrawny little kid beat me.”
We really became friends as teammates during our time playing golf for the North Carolina Tar Heels. We definitely have some cool college stories… “the mechanical bull”… “the streak”… We also have some actual golfing stories too including an ACC Championship. In her senior year, KP earned a very impressive 8th place finish at the 2012 NCAA National Championship in Nashville.
College was only the start of our adventuring. This 2015 season was Katherine’s rookie year on the Symetra Tour and being pals we rode together to almost all of the events all over the country.
One lesson Katherine learned this season was that a large part of the battle of being a professional golfer is finding different ways (whether it be by plane, Prius, or hitch-hiking) to get ourselves and our golf clubs safely to far off places (and enjoy doing it!). This year those places included a stretch from South Dakota to Kansas to Arkansas all in consecutive weeks. It was a long flat drive for us! And once we find our way to the events, locating a nice inexpensive place to stay for the week can sometimes be tricky.
On the whole, the traveling aspect of pro golf is quite a challenge and it can get expensive as well (most people know what a challenge the golf part of pro golf is!). This year alone, KP spent about 130 days and nights on the road at or traveling to a tournament. The amount of time away from home and loved ones is wearing. I know that for me, without Katherine, I would not have been able to make it to nearly as many events.
We started in California where we found out how fun golf in 45-degree, 25 mph, sleet can be. We continued on to many other places including, a much too small cabin in Asheville, North Carolina (it looked bigger when I booked it), 1:00 AM Northern Lights in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and a 60 ton 45 foot stone buffalo on the dirt roads of Kansas, among many other places…
So why is KP great travel buddy anyway? Funny? Good taste in music? Why? Plain and simple, she is a real Carolina Girl and a really good golfer too. With 4 Top 20’s, one Top Ten, and Two US Open appearances for the 2012 ACC All-American, she could just be a good golfer, but she is, more importantly, an exceptional friend and family member. KP is an old school, easy goin’, hard workin’, Carolina All-American Golfin’ Woman.
The offseason is a crucial time for us Symetra Pro’s to work on our games and hopefully improve to LPGA level for next year. This offseason, Katherine has not only been improving her game and working out, she also babysits more kids than I thought existed, and waitresses on the side in order to make sure she will have the funds to play again next year.
Thus, it doesn’t surprise me at all that such a great gal just got engaged to an absolute stud! (Who, according to legend, made an exceptionally romantic proposal in beautiful Central Park, New York, New York).
Fiancé, Kevin Hamski is cut from the same good stuff as Katherine. A top notch Ohio guy now living in the Chapel Hill area, Kevin has spent many vacation-less years working in the golf industry. When he was young he worked as a mini-tour caddy and later he became a GM at Wildwood Green in Raleigh.
Kevin (Kevy Poo as I like to call him… sorry Kev!) and KP, have been dating since Katherine’s sophomore year and I couldn’t imagine a better couple. Kevin has caddied for KP in both her US Opens (he has 15 seconds of ESPN fame to prove it). Whenever I see them both walking down the fairway together I always get a big smile because everything in the world just seems right- they look so happy together.
And so, I can’t wait to go dance at the wedding reception! In the meantime, KP has the 2016 Symetra Tour Golf Season coming her way. Follow her scores next year on symetratour.com and feel free to check out Katherine’s GO FUND ME Account at https://www.gofundme.com/cw163w and give Carolina’s All-American Golfin’ Woman a monetary boost in her golf endeavors (pro golf really is a costly business to get started!)
Go KP! Good friends and great golf adventures are hard to beat… Thank you for being “the wind beneath my hang gliding wings”!
Allie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.