U.S. WOMEN'S MID-AMATEUR
Herrick Has Designs on Women’s Mid-Am Trophy
September 14, 2016 | Erie, Pa.
By Ron Driscoll, USGA
Olivia Herrick paused briefly as she basked in her victory Tuesday afternoon in the Round of 16 in the 30th U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.
“I have anxiety right now about turning my phone on and opening my email,” said Herrick, 28, of Roseville, Minn., who started her own graphic-design company 15 months ago. “I love all my clients, but it’s hard to step away. I’m a one-woman shop and if I’m not working, work’s not getting done. I can’t just take a PTO day.”
Such is life in the ranks of the Women’s Mid-Amateur, where players juggle competitive golf with work, family and other responsibilities. Along with her fledgling business, Herrick coaches a high-school golf team and is a member of the board of the Minnesota Golf Association, which is made more time-consuming by its planned merger with the Minnesota Women’s Golf Association (MWGA).
“It’s fun to see women who have the same drive as me,” said Herrick, who defeated Liliana Ruiz, 2 up, in the Round of 16 and takes on Amanda Jacobs on Wednesday morning at The Kahkwa Club in the quarterfinals. “It’s an awesome group of people who are united by this common interest. But here [at the Women’s Mid-Am] in particular, you’ve made a lot of sacrifices to get here. Every time you decide to practice, you’re taking time away from something else you could be doing. It’s a conscious choice to commit to golf.”
Herrick strengthened her connection with the game at Drake University, where she went on to become a two-time Missouri Valley Conference individual champion.
“I didn’t play too much golf growing up,” said Herrick, who coaches the girls golf team at Mounds Park Academy in St. Paul. “My interests were diversified – I also played varsity soccer and basketball. Once I went to college and golf was the only thing I was working on, I kept improving because I still had this hunger for it. I wasn’t burned out at 18 years old.”
Herrick worked full-time for four years at Mounds Park after graduating from Drake, leaving there last July to start her design firm.
“As soon as I get back to my room tonight, the first thing I’m going to do is open my computer and work for a couple of hours,” said Herrick. “I love my work; I’m very passionate about it. It’s not a chore to me.”
Herrick’s golf exploits include several victories in events conducted by the Minnesota Golf Association as well as the MWGA and the Minnesota Women’s Public Golf Association. The three organizations are working toward a 2017 merger, and not surprisingly, Herrick is deeply involved as the tournament schedule is revamped.
“Most of my time this year has been spent on our tournament committee, because we will be creating all new tournaments next year,” said Herrick, who won what is likely to be the final Minnesota Women’s Golf Association match-play title in late July. “It’s exciting, and I like to bring my perspective as a mid-amateur and a competitive golfer.”
Herrick sees both challenges and opportunities in her role on the state board.
“We have to figure out how to engage the woman who only plays on a Saturday, the woman who gets a babysitter so she can play, the person who’s retired and plays every day, as well as the elite college players,” said Herrick. “Minnesota has a spectacular junior golf association. We have almost 1,900 juniors playing tournaments multiple days a week throughout the summer.”
Herrick played more golf than anyone on Tuesday at Kahkwa, winning her morning match in 20 holes over 2004 champion Corey Weworski, then surviving her seesaw battle with Ruiz on the final green.
“I think we were both fading a little bit, to be honest,” said Herrick. “It’s a long day and I kept trying to drink water, pep-talk myself and muster the last of my energy to make it through.”
Herrick’s father, Tom, walked with her the entire day, and she soon realized that she needed to pick her spots in interacting with him.
“It’s nice to see the occasional thumbs-up,” said Herrick. “He gets a little nervous, so I try not to look at him too much. But he loves golf and he loves me, so I think he’s pretty excited right now.”
Among the benefits of earning a berth in the final eight of the championship: Herrick is exempt into next year’s Women’s Mid-Amateur at Quail Creek Country Club in Naples, Fla.
“I’m really excited to not have to qualify next year,” said Herrick. “It was this little beacon I was thinking of as I was starting to wear thin on energy.”
Taking 2017 Women’s Mid-Am qualifying off her schedule will surely give Herrick more time to address those pesky design projects.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.