April 7, 2010
By Brendan Corsones
Sports Information Student Assistant
It would be rare to find someone who, at one point or another, did not dream of one day becoming a professional athlete. The problem is, very rarely will these dreams ever be taken seriously.
Many of us have these stories of scaling back our expectations, which makes it all the more special when a young athlete seriously says they dream of a career spent playing the sport they love. It would still be difficult to believe them, but after a decorated four-year career at a prestigious Division I university such as Notre Dame, it is easy to buy into an athlete’s dreams. It is easy to believe Annie Brophy, who hopes to carve a career as a professional golfer.
Brophy has enjoyed some of the greatest success that Notre Dame has ever seen on its golf team. Her career stroke average ranks third all time in program history, and has been honored as All-BIG EAST Conference three times, gunning for a fourth during her senior season. She certainly has the pedigree of a golf star, which lend credence to her claims about her future.
Speaking of graduation, Brophy says, “As of now, I’m planning on turning pro. I want to go down to Arizona and start on the Cactus Tour and hopefully get to the Futures Tour and see where that takes me.”
Whether or not Brophy plays on the highest professional level is yet to be seen, but it is impossible to deny her potential. She began golf with her family and excelled. “We picked up golf as a family,” she recalls. “My dad wanted to pick up the game again and bought golf clubs for all the kids. I hated it at first, I really did, and I would stand there and throw the balls because I didn’t want to hit it. But then I started playing in tournaments and realized how much fun it was. I really started to enjoy it.”
As her golf career continued, Brophy realized how deep her passion had become for the sport; deep enough that she wanted to prolong it into college.
“My junior year of high school was when I really decided to take it seriously and to go to a good school and play good golf,” she notes.
Notre Dame was a natural choice for Brophy, whose father was an alumnus and whose older sister, Katie, was an acclaimed golfer at Notre Dame herself. Brophy considers herself very lucky to have Katie as a support system.
“Just having someone to look up to for examples and to understand how the team works helped me a lot,” she comments.
During her time at Notre Dame, Brophy learned skills that will be invaluable if she wants to be successful at the next level.
“Since my freshman year to now I have learned so much about the game of golf,” she says. “I’ve learned different shots, my swing has improved, course management has been huge; you can talk to my coach about my freshman year and she’ll just make fun of me. I’ve learned about golf, but also how to compete. My work ethic has changed along with how and how much I practice. The way my golf has just improved, I’ve learned so much from my teammates and my coaches.”
Although Brophy dreams big, she still manages to stay grounded in the present, and she has high hopes for her senior campaign, both for herself and for the team. “I would like to be in contention in every tournament we play in,” she states. “Also, I would like to win BIG EAST and make it to nationals this year. As a team, we haven’t had an individual go in four years and I really want to go before I graduate. For the team, it’s the same thing. I want to go and I want the team to go (to nationals). As a team, I think we’re right there and we need to get it done.”
Due to her wealth of experience and success, Brophy is in a position of leadership on the team, and she tries to use this opportunity to improve those around her.
“I have tried to lead by example this year, and hopefully my teammates would agree with me,” she says. “I’ve tried to stay really positive with the team but at the same time tell them how it is and where we need to be.”
When Brophy does leave Notre Dame, perhaps with another BIG EAST Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament in tow, she will certainly take with her golf lessons, but she also recognizes how special it is to be a part of the Notre Dame athletic tradition.
“Being here at Notre Dame is like being a part of something bigger and greater than yourself,” she observes. “It’s a really special place and not many people get the opportunity to come here and experience it.”
Brophy has already constructed a golf career that just about anyone else would be happy to rest on. Only a very select few have experienced her athletic success, but she realizes that no dream will be fulfilled without inordinate dedication and hard work. She knows the road ahead will be tough, but Annie is willing to face these challenges.
“I think I have what it takes,” she says. “I just need to channel everything and focus on my goals”.
So Brophy will continue to build on everything she has learned at Notre Dame and chase her dreams, because unlike so many others, her dreams are steady on a foundation of natural talent, dedication, and willingness to learn.
— ND —