Oftentimes, athletics serves as a vehicle to help high school students get the chance to go to college to further their education, but in Addie Evans’ case, it was the other way around. …
Oftentimes, athletics serves as a vehicle to help high school students get the chance to go to college to further their education, but in Addie Evans’ case, it was the other way around.
The Cartersville senior has always put academics first. Her success in the classroom led her to pursue a biochemistry degree at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. Evans then took the opportunity to continue her golf career with the Majors.
“It really wasn’t something I was looking at to begin with,” Evans said of playing collegiate golf. “I was looking at smaller schools and realized I had the opportunity to play golf, so I took that opportunity.”
Canes golf coach Reggie Perkins said they first discussed the possibility of Evans competing at the next level during the area tournament at the end of her junior season.
“She said she would love to have that opportunity, but the academic aspect of it was the main part,” Perkins said of the conversation. “She was able to get the academic scholarship and find a school that she wanted to be a part of and felt like she could grow. It turned out to be great that they had the opportunity for her to join the golf team, as well.”
To be clear, Evans plans to take playing in college seriously, even with her academic requirements. In fact, part of the reason she fell in love with the sport was that it challenged her mentally.
“I had played softball and soccer before, but then I left that to focus more on academics. My dad said I could play golf and it would balance well with school,” Evans said, adding that she started hitting the links as a freshman. “I really liked it, because it’s a mind game — a majority of it is all in your head. You have to go out on the course and play, but you also have to make sure you don’t psych yourself out. … I really enjoyed that aspect of it.
“I came to love golf right off the bat, because it came slightly easy to me. I guess you could say I had kind of a natural gift. I also found it frustrating at times, because you have to work hard to get to that certain level.”
Perkins has seen firsthand Evans make the move from raw talent to being able to harness her strengths on the course. He sees no reason why she can’t continue to improve during her time at Millsaps.
“She goes out and works, but she enjoys playing golf,” Perkins said. “She didn’t hit it as far, obviously, when she was younger. Now, she hits it a long way. As she gets into college, she’ll be able to play more; she’ll be able to get out on the course more. I expect her to continue to get better. She’s greatly improved over the past few years.”
While the women’s golf roster for Millsaps currently lists just three players on its website, Perkins expects Evans to be able to fit in well with her future teammates.
“She’s always helping the other girls on the team around the course, helping people from the other team,” he said. “She’ll be a really good teammate, and she’s going to do whatever you ask. Coach [Andrew MacBean] is going to be glad to have her, because she’s going to do exactly what he asks her. She’ll put in the extra work that needs to be done in order for her to be successful.”
Evans credits a portion of her success to the strong support group around her. They came out in numbers to witness her signing ceremony, and she knows they’ll continue to cheer her on even when she’s roughly six hours away.
“It was really great to see the people I’ve been friends with and my family come out to support me,” Evans said. “It also reminds me that I have people behind me at all times. When I get frustrated with my golf game and I’m not playing well, I have people behind me to support me to better improve.”
It also helps that Evans knows exactly what she needs to do to be able to play at her best moving forward.
“I look to improve my short game, definitely,” she said. “I want to control my driver a lot better than I have. … Just playing a safe game but also getting to the point where I can take the risks that I want to and still have a good score.”
There aren’t many kids self-aware enough to understand how they can better themselves. It shows a level of intellect and maturity in Evans beyond her years.
In a lot of ways, it should come as no surprise that she can serve as the poster child for why it pays to put an emphasis on education, because without the academic scholarships, Evans likely wouldn’t be playing college golf.
“It always starts in the classroom — doesn’t matter what sport you’re involved in,” Perkins said. “Everybody has to take the classroom seriously, or they won’t get that opportunity to continue to do what they love at the next level.”