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One golfer learns to adapt to diverse team

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A golf club beside a Top Flite golf ball.
Star File Photo.

The women’s golf team at Texas State is comprised of six women from all over the world. Regardless of the different backgrounds and cultures each player has, they’ve been able to form a bond that is comparable to that of a family. For one golfer, this team has become a family away from her own.

Sean Yi Yip, criminal justice sophomore, from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said she left home at an early age to attend boarding school in Australia.

“I left Malaysia when I was 14 years old,” Yip said. “I went to boarding school for 4 years at Presbyterian Ladies College. I started golfing around the time I left home. It was my dad who pushed me toward golf.”

One of the biggest challenges for Yip is being so far from her family and friends. Luckily, she has found a second family between her teammates and coaches.

“Obviously being away from home, you miss your family and friends,” Yip said. “This team is my family away from home, we see each other every day and even outside of golf. We spend a lot of time together and we all get along. Everyone looks out for each other, I really appreciate them. They’ve all pushed me to be a better golfer and person.”

Being a part of a team with five other people from all over the world can be challenging, but Yip has learned that adapting to different cultures is important when trying to reach a common goal.

“I’ve learned that everyone is different,” Yip said. “Between six of us, four are from four different countries. The way we grew up is different and the way we communicate is different. One thing I can take away from this is you have to be able to adjust yourself to adapt to the community you’re in if you wish to be successful.”

Head coach Lisa Strom describes Yip as a role model for her teammates. Strom applauds Yip’s mature perspective on life despite having gone through personal hardships.

“Sean has probably been the consummate team player,” Strom said. “I think having lost a family member, she has a bigger perspective on life than most kids her age. We both experienced a loss in the family at the same time almost 2 1/2 years ago, so we had that connection. When she starts to get off line with things, it’s good that she reels it back in and realizes what’s important. She’s able to provide that good perspective to her teammates.”

Strom said Yip’s game is improving every day. Strom sees Yip work hard and knows she is determined to do anything to help her team succeed.

“Her game has improved every day and I think it’s the commitment on her side, she definitely wants to make an impact,” Strom said. “She doesn’t want to just go through the motions, she’s putting in extra time and doing the little things that she needs to do to improve herself so that the team gets better.”

Strom adds that Yip’s attitude reflects who she is; a caring teammate and friend.

“Sean is selfless and coachable,” Strom said. “She’s always the first to say thank you, she’s always the first to see if we need help with anything. As far as being coachable, she’s open to new methods and she never gets stuck, she goes and works on her game on her own. It’s not just while we’re around, but it’s also when no one is looking.”

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