Sophomore women’s golfer Annie Collom hails from Davidson, N.C. Last season, she earned All-Patriot League honors after finishing in the top 10 of the conference championship.

Golf is different from a lot of other sports.

It’s a sport steeped in tradition, sportsmanship and ethics.

It’s really important in golf to have a sensibility of sportsmanship and to be courteous to the people you are playing against. When I was little, those were all things that my Dad really stressed to me. When you play golf, you dress this way and speak this way and shake your opponent’s hand at the end. It’s an essential part of the game.

It’s definitely unique in that you try to get along with your opponents as you’re playing with them. I’ve met so many of my friends from playing rounds of golf with them. The relationships that you build with your opponents are pretty incredible things. I still keep up with girls from my junior tournaments, and I’ve met good friends in college tournaments that maybe I wouldn’t have had the chance to get to know if I was playing against them in basketball or some other sport.

There is a graceful way to win in golf. If you know exactly what the girl you’re playing against is shooting and knowing that you have to beat her in order to win, you’re still going to go look for her ball if she hits it in the woods. You’re going to try to help her find it, even if it might be better for you if you don’t. You want to win fairly. If you don’t look for her ball, then why would she look for your ball.

A big aspect of golf is your scorecard. Your opponent keeps your score throughout the round, but it’s kind of on you to announce your score after each hole. I’ve called penalties on myself that I know nobody else saw, and I’ve had other people do that too and then announce a score that was higher than I thought it should be. You definitely try to uphold the standards of the game and raise yourself to that standard.

Golf is a unique sport, and the people that play it competitively have a different outlook on a sport mentality. You go in and say “Yes, I’m playing with these people, but I’m not looking to intimidate them or get under their skin.” A round is supposed to be the same for everyone and who you play with shouldn’t affect it. It’s not like basketball or football where the defense makes an impact on the offense.

If they hit it close to the hole then I want to hit it closer, you still get that competitive aspect, but it’s done in a respectful way. When she hits her putt then you congratulate her and it’s a sincere respect.

That’s how I learned to play the game of golf. And it’s why I love playing it more everyday.