The pursuit of a good life often requires sacrifice. It requires leaving comfort and familiarity and jumping into a whole new culture.
For 18-year-old Sasikarn Somboonsup, freshman golfer, the pursuit meant traveling over 9,000 miles from Si Racha, Chonburi, Thailand to San Marcos and leaving behind her family and home.
Somboonsup comes from a family of golfers. Her retired father, mother and older sister all golf. Her family’s interest in golf helped encourage the athlete to take to the green herself.
“I started when I was eight years old,” Somboonsup said. “My father and my mother played golf. My sister started first and then I got interested.”
For her parents, the education of their three children took priority. Somboonsup’s older sister and brother attend schools in various locations far from home as well.
“I have one older sister. She studies in Minnesota,” Somboonsup said. “My brother is studying in Singapore.”
Finding the right school was a process for Somboonsup, who wanted the best environment as a collegiate athlete.
“We had someone look around the United States for good universities for athletes,” Somboonsup said. “I was accepted into three schools.”
Texas weather and a simple, but appreciated gesture from the Texas State coaching staff played important roles in Somboonsup choosing to join the Bobcat family.
“I received a nice post card from the coach,” Somboonsup said. “The weather here is perfect for golf. It’s always so warm and not cold.”
Before arriving to Texas State, Somboonsup was busy nurturing and improving her skills. She competed in the international scene as well as in her native land of Thailand, stacking up more than 30 top five finishes.
With this being the athlete’s first year in the U.S., Somboonsup said it was difficult to make the adjustment to American life. The language barrier proved to be the first major obstacle to overcome.
“The first thing is the language because I didn’t speak English in Thailand, so I needed to adjust a lot,” Somboonsup said. “That’s why at first I was real quiet; I didn’t talk at all.”
Beyond the language barrier, Somboonsup couldn’t help but be intimidated by the sheer size of the U.S. The athlete said it was bigger than she expected.
Although psychology is her concentration, Somboonsup does not intend to work in the field. With the full support of her family, she has every intention of trying to go pro in golf.
Should that not work out, she would like to be her own boss.
“I want to try to go pro, I don’t really want to do something in psychology,” Somboonsup said. “If not, I want to maybe open my own business.”
Every athlete gets something different out of the game. Aside from the love of competition, the thrill of defeating opponents and the actual play, Somboonsup loves the sport in general.
“I love the mental and physical challenges of practicing, preparing and then actually playing,” Somboonsup said. “I enjoy the detailed challenges of preparation and practice before going out and competing.”
When she needs to get in the zone before competition, Somboonsup likes to keep it simple and calming.
“I always like to meditate before I compete,” Somboonsup said. “It helps put me in the right state of mind to go out and compete.”
When she isn’t on the green or in the golfer’s state of mind, she prefers a very simple but fulfilling way to relax.
“I just like to hang out with my friends at home,” Somboonsup said. “We’ll watch some movies or TV and maybe cook some food.”
At the end of the day, the 18-year-old is just another college student wading her way through life. However, despite the young age, she has something to prove.
“I want people to know how far I’ve come and what I’ve left behind to get here,” Somboonsup said.