Shasta Averyhardt - History That Must Be Heard

I recently had the amazing opportunity to interview professional golfer, Shasta Averyhardt. Shasta graduated from Jackson State University and was also the first African American woman to qualify for the LGPA tour(since 2001) in 2011. When I began to formulate questions for our interview, most of my questions seemed to revolve around Shasta's golf career. But upon closer examination, I realized there was so much more to what Shasta stood for. Not only is she a pro golfer, but she has recently created a forum dedicated to transparent looks into her life. She plans to share her experiences and encourage other women to overcome their own difficulties; no matter if those obstacles are located in athletics, corporate careers, or just in their day-to-day lives. Her vision showcases an incredible amount of passion for what she does and it speaks volumes about what she wants her work to stand for. 

While discussing her golfing career, I wanted to know what kind of difficulties she'd faced on her journey as a pro-golfer. I wanted to understand how she was able to overcome obstacles. Shasta made it clear to me that this journey was not easy at all.  She had to utilize several outlets in order to remain fueled and balanced. 

I definitely dealt with inconsistent financial support and a few injuries that affected my game.
— Shasta Averyhardt

Struggling to find the finances to go after your passion was something I was also acquainted with. When I first began searching for outlets to assist in publishing my book, I found that it cost hundreds of dollars to even start the process. Fortunately, I was able to find Brandon Publishing. They were willing to put their faith in me and publish my book without me having to incur cost upfront. Before signing my contract with BP, I truly didn't see anyway for me to go after my dream. 

I really hate to believe this, but I always wonder if my race played a factor in the decision making process of whether or not a company and/or investor would take the risk in supporting my athletic career.
— Shasta Averyhardt

Shasta shared with me that the time period in which her career was gearing up to take off, the economy had also taken a huge hit. She'd just earned her tour card and was ready to soar. But finances or the lack thereof seemed as if they would keep her grounded a bit longer. Many companies and investors decided to lower the amount of athletes they were willing to invest in. 

Shasta remained resilient and allowed nothing to stand in her way; receiving a scholarship that would assist her in jumpstarting her professional career. She was lucky, and also grateful. The small contributors were paramount to Shasta's path to success. 

Golf is so expensive and people are shocked when they review my budget. I always reminded myself that my talent was never an issue nor was my passion for the game questionable. Eventually the finances ran out, and that’s something I wasn’t able to overcome.
— Shasta Averyhardt

Although I intensely wanted to hear more about what Shasta faced as a pro-golfer, I also wanted to know a little more about how she originally came to enjoy the sport. 

My father was an avid golfer. The times I wasn’t with my mother, I was running around the driving range while my dad practiced after work.
— Shasta Averyhardt

As a child, Shasta wanted to practice like her father; learning early that it took hours of preparation to become great. Her father quickly noticed her sincere desire and love for the game. He taught her how to swing the club and the rest was history. 

Q.Was everyone around you supportive when you initially decided to become a pro-golfer? -GC

A. Yes, for the most part. There's always going to be a close individual around you that may not understand the "why" or the "purpose," but they saw that I really enjoyed the game. Often I had to explain that golf wasn't like the NBA or NFL. I was the start-up business and I needed up front capital to go after my passion and begin work. - SA

Q. How do you believe golf has impacted you? - GC

A. Golf has shown me a new world that I never would've experienced growing up in Flint, Michigan. I have made lasting professional relationships, inspired young girls, and found a deep connection to a game that I hope to play for my lifetime. 

I couldn't help but to be inspired by Shasta. I could easily compare her struggles and triumphs to my own career. I've had the opportunity to make so many amazing friends because of my recent involvement with the literary business. On top of that, I've also been able to speak to students and inspire them through what I've learned in my involvement with writing. I've developed an even deeper passion for writing that I hope will never fade away. I realize how important it is for us as artist to connect with what we do. Not for us, but for those who need the inspiration, example, and encouragement to go after their connection as well. 

Not only is Shasta a great golfer, she's also a writer. I was excited to learn about her new writing venture that she recently created entitled,

Q.What's the main goal for your blog? - GC

A. While overlooking some of my old post via social media, I realized that people were actually listening and paying attention to what I had to say. I couldn't let this platform go forward without providing a positive and safe place to share my experiences. I am hopeful that it will have a longstanding & empowering impact on young women. -SA

People love to learn how to become better. I’m constantly working on myself to be better than I was yesterday; so I decided to highlight topics that relate to something I’ve experienced before. I want to have a positive influence and be a voice for women in a male dominated space.
— Shasta Averyhardt

Q. What lessons do you want others to pull from your blog? - GC

A. I would want that person to believe in themselves. Do not be afraid to be who you genuinely are. Pursue your passion. We are only on this earth once, that's the one time we get a chance to impact the world with our gift in a positive way. We have to look at all the great qualities we possess and hold on to them. Confidence is so fragile. This is something that requires daily attention. We contribute so much to this world. We are far more powerful than we think. - SA

Q. In closing, what would be your number one piece of advice for women looking to follow their aspirations? -GC

A. Keep those individuals that support your dream close to you. You need a support base to help when you are feeling discouraged, worried, and afraid. If they truly believe in you, they will contribute what they can; but most importantly they will uplift you and remind you to go after what you desire. -SA

Shasta's closing statement resonates with me immensely. If I hadn't received the encouragement I get from the people around me, I would never have finished my book. If I was ever feeling discouraged, I always had someone to go to. In the end, anybody who is pursuing something that they are passionate about should find supporters and like minded people to connect with. Following your dreams is the best thing we can do. It's not easy nor is it something anyone should take on alone. * GC

by: Gabrielle Cavett