Grace Rose found her passion for golf on the High Point Golf Club course in Nicholasville where her grandad, Paul Rose, lives.
When they were growing up, Grace, her sister Ashlee and brother Travis and their cousins played golf on that course every summer. The three siblings loved the game so much they each became high school and college golfers.
This fall, Grace will begin her sophomore year as a member of the University of Kentucky women's golf team. Her sister Ashlee, seven years her senior, also played golf for UK. Brother Travis, a junior, competes on the Eastern Kentucky University golf team.
Grace, whose family moved from Lexington to Nicholasville when she was in fourth grade, won the state tournament representing West Jessamine High School. Grace, who won the Player of the Year award as a senior, had played for West Jessamine since seventh grade; that year her team, which included Ashlee, captured the state championship.
"I went to the state tournament every year but one," Grace said.
Like her older siblings, Grace hoped to play college golf.
"I always wanted to come to UK," she said. "I also looked at the University of Louisville, which hurt my heart, being a UK fan."
Her freshman year on the UK golf team, which plays both a fall and spring season with post-season competition in the spring, was challenging.
"In high school, there was no qualifying," Grace said. "There were only five girls on my team, so I always knew I would play and I always knew I would play (at the) No. 1 (position). It was relaxing and easy going."
At UK, however, the team travels to each tournament with only five of its nine golfers.
"College golf is very different," Grace said. "It's very competitive. I had to fight this year to travel to most tournaments. I had to work for it."
Grace made every travel squad but one, which gave her an appreciation for the players who stay home while the rest of their team competes in a tournament. UK plays both SEC and ACC schools in tournaments that may have as many as 12 teams participating.
"Now, I'm playing against the best golfers," Grace said.
Instead of hoping to win a tournament, she sets more realistic goals such as placing in the top 10. At the regional post-season tournament this spring, Grace finished 41st.
Such strong competition has helped Grace practice her golf with a purpose.
"I don't just go out and hit a bucket of balls," she said. "When I'm practicing now, each swing, each stroke, has a purpose."
The UK golf team uses the University Club of Kentucky on Leestown Road as its training headquarters. In winter, they practice chipping and putting in the indoor facility there; in addition, they open the garage-style doors and enjoy the heated interior while hitting golf balls out onto the greens.
During the school year, the golfers work out with their trainer at 6 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Throughout the summer, Grace swims with her brother-in-law, a triathlete, and plays in as many golf tournaments as she can. She also plays a lot of golf with her brother Travis and his teammates, who often are on the course from sunrise to sunset.
Before she graduates from UK in three years with a degree in early childhood education and possibly pursues a master's degree and counseling career, Grace hopes to make the All-SEC and All-American golf teams.
"That would be awesome," she said.