Kelly Grassel is just like any typical college student. Except, she spent her childhood on the golf course. Except, she was a high school state tournament golfer. Except, she is now a Division-1 college athlete. Except, she is on her way to becoming a professional golfer. This "normal" girl found her passion on the golf course at Sand Creek Country Club and returns to her roots to practice her swing whenever she can.
Grassel and her family – who are all avid golfers – did not live in Sand Creek, but just a few miles away in another Chesterton subdivision, but that was not a problem.
“We have been members for as long as I can remember - since I was very young or possibly even before I was born!,” Grassel explained.
From toddler to college graduate, Grassel has dedicated her life to perfecting and competing in golf. Her father knows a lot about the sport, teaching his two sons who both still play, and then Kelly. Her mother also joined in the love and plays regularly.
“I started with plastic clubs a toddler,” she said. “I looked up to my brothers and they were very helpful and encouraging in my development as a person and player. My family has been very supportive of my golf and they are a blessing.”
Her father first started teaching her the ropes at a young age, and she began competing at age eight. As a junior golfer still, Grassel took lessons from the Sand Creek instructors and participated in their kid’s programs.
Since then, she has returned to the club to practice, using the indoor facility every winter. Even during her time at Chesterton High School, where she was a member on the school’s team, she played at Sand Creek on the weekends and everyday after school. Over the past four years when she is home on break, in the winter she is at the indoor facility and in the summer she is out on her home course.
“Sand Creek is my second home. I'm extremely fond of it; I grew up there. The course is very well designed and very challenging, in a good way,” she said. “I have always enjoyed the people there and am thankful for the support of my golf over the years.”
Those at Sand Creek have watched her rise from toddler to high school champion to now playing for the University of Florida.
“I don't remember a moment where I thought ‘Wow, I'm good, I could do this.’ I also don't remember when I decided I wanted to play in college, I think I always knew I would,” she said.
Admittedly, there have been doubts here and there, she said, but the desire to just getting to the next level, to keep competing and improving was the natural path she traveled.
“I just always wanted to go to the next level. That's how I am now, I'm about to turn pro and it seems natural for me that I would,” she explained. “Honestly my greatest goal is to share the love of God that has changed my life so much and help others through the game of golf.”
This summer Grassel is looking forward to heading back home to use the Sand Creek facility and seeing her old friends on the greens.
“Practicing and playing at Sand Creek has been very helpful to my growth as a player, because they have a quality practice facility,” she said. “I seriously loved growing up there and have great memories there. I would love to be able to give back in some way, especially if I make it on tour.”
When you see Grassel out there with her blond hair pulled back in a ponytail, she will look intimidating, with the serious look of desire for improvement and perfection on her face. But, go ahead and say ‘Hi.’ Though the game is work for her, golf is always fun.