Devan Andersen: From a senior's perspective
With the 2005-2006 season just around the corner, this year’s University of Texas women’s golf team will look to their fellow teammate Devan Andersen, this year’s only senior, for guidance, advice and assistance.
Although being the only senior on head coach Susan Watkins’ 2005-06 squad and acting as the team’s role model may seem overwhelming, it is a responsibility that Andersen is delighted and prepared to take on.
Devan is known for being extremely driven and intimidating on the course and at times even mocked by her teammates for looking “mean” when wearing her infamous sunglasses during competition. She is unmistakably one of the team’s most generous and fun loving people off the course.
Starting at a young age, Andersen began following her dad around the Club de Golf Santa Anita thinking she was “just as good he was,” hitting from the back tees and practicing on the range for hours. This initial love for the game introduced to her by her father, continued throughout high school and is what brought her to UT to play golf.
With Andersen’s background and talent, she is more than qualified to act as the role model for her fellow teammates. Her never-ending positive attitude and inner strength are just two of the many qualities Andersen possesses that will help guide her teammates to make good decisions on and off the course.
Andersen feels a sense of obligation to set the right example and be a strong leader for the new freshman class.
“I definitely feel I am a role model for teammates, and I try to guide them on te right path," Andersen said. "So my responsibility is to be that someone to look up to."
Even more so, Andersen knows what it takes mentally to play the game of golf. Whether it be to control her temper, keep a present state of mind, or realizing there are good and bad days in golf, she knows exactly what to say to get her teammates motivated.
“Golf is so mentally exhausting; it’s trying to keep an inner strength and a positive attitude toward everything,” said Andersen. “The underclassmen need to realize there is always something to look forward to and never let one bad shot throw you off.”
In fact, right before Andersen takes her deadly swing, she remembers a quote that her father taught her, a spinoff from Harvey Penick’s famous quote, “Take Dead Aim.” He used to say that since her initials were D.S.A, she needed to take “Dead Solid Aim,” and he would write it under the brim of her hat so that she would never loose her focus or drive.
Taking her dad’s advice, Andersen has developed into one of the best short game players on the team. Although she is accurate off the tee and is considerably long for her size, she relies a lot on her consistent short game skills to get her on the green. That may be why everyone on the course knows that if Andersen has a choice of club, it is going to be her eight iron.
“My team kind of makes fun of me because I have this thing with even numbers. So if I had to choose my favorite club it would always be my eight iron. Everyone, including the coaches, know that," said Andersen.
“I have just developed a lot of confidence with it. I warm up, cool down and hit all my fancy chip shots with it. And I just like the look of it.”
Whether she uses her beloved eight iron, or her focus and drive, Andersen hopes to produce more top finishes in the tournaments she participates in this year. Along with playing well individually and hopefully earning All-American honors, she could not be more enthusiastic or motivated to bring home a National Championship.
In addition to being excited about her senior year and her future matches, Andersen is very excited about the new freshman class. The new team chemistry helps the players have fun, and also encourages everyone to perform their best in team-centered competition.
“I think a lot of our attitudes and personalities really get along well, so I think we are going to have great team bonding,” said Andersen.
“Everybody has a positive look and the same drive, and I think that is really important.”
Even though the intensity of the sport can be draining and exhausting, the Longhorns have fun by playing games and matches among each other to lighten the mood and enjoy each other’s company.
Andersen claims that no matter what competition, or what event, the Longhorns are comfortable and confident with one another. She also feels each person’s individual competitiveness only encourages the other to be a better player.
“Even when we are competing against each other for qualifying spots, as much as we want to beat one another, we want the other to play just as well,” Andersen said. “The competitiveness is great.”
Andersen and her team have great potential this year. The opportunity exists for the Longhorns to go all the way. Although this is her last season, this may not be the last time Andersen dons a burnt orange uniform.
“I definitely want to stay a part of the golf team, because they are my second family here in Austin. So I am hoping to be their manager next year and then in the following year, I’ll definitely take a shot at the professional ranks.”