Golf is a fair weather sport one would find difficult to practice in a colder environment such as the capital city of Riga, but Latvia native and senior golfer Mara Puisite has managed to find her place in the sport.
Mara Puisite is a member of the Texas State women’s golf team who has gone through all lengths to play. With the help of her parents, Mara Puisite and her sister Krista, a former golfer at Texas State, had to travel far to chase after their dreams of becoming great golfers.
“My dad was pushy (for us) to play golf,” Mara Puisite said. “He wanted us to have options and choices.”
After playing in three World Amateur Championships, Mara Puisite looks to improve her golf game. In 2008, Mara Puisite traveled to Australia to play against the top three high school golfers in the world. She did the same in 2009 and 2010 when she played in Buenos Aires and Turkey respectively.
“It is a big chance to play with the top three athletes of each country,” Mara Puisite said. “It’s a great honor and a big accomplishment to play against (the best) in the world.”
The Latvia native seems to travel non-stop as she does her summer training at Tom Burnett’s Golf Academy in St. Augustine, Fla. She practices with Burnett, who has graduated men’s professional golfer Matt Kuchar, winner of six Professional Golfers’ Association of America tours.
“Mara is a world class golfer,” Burnett said. “She is a powerful hitter, and there is not much technically she needs to improve on.”
Mara Puisite does not struggle to balance her studies along with golf, winning three different academic awards from Texas State. She collected the Cream of the Crop Academic Award, Oak Farms Academic Achievement Award and made the dean’s list last year at Texas State.
“School is easy for me,” Mara Puisite said. “I study on the bus on the road (to) games. It takes a lot of discipline.”
Mara Puisite relied on her sister for a lot of insight about the campus and golf. Krista Puisite, being one of the top golfers on the team and the older of the two, gave her younger sister help along the way. Mara Puisite was able to have her sister act as a coach in some ways by gaining advice and accreditation amongst her peers.
“I was never a regular freshman because of my sister,” Mara Puisite said. “My sister helped me a lot with my transition here on campus and on the golf course.”
To Mara, the game is more psychological than physical.
“I just learned (golf) is a very psychological game,” Mara Puisite said. “I used to be very harsh on myself, but now I am not.”
As Mara Puisite enters her senior year, she goes into the season with a 77.42 scoring average that is 5.23 away from her sister who is the all-time board leader.