Post image for Katie Mitchell, University of Florida, Golf

Katie Mitchell, University of Florida, Golf

by carmine on November 1, 2013



I play golf for the University of Florida and my story is not one that is tragic or spectacular. A little family history first: I grew up in a Christian home and my family has a strong Christian background. I lived on Amelia Island, FL for the first 8 years of my life. Then my world was shaken when God called my family to move to Gatlinburg, TN to start a business. We sold everything we had and moved. We lived in Tennessee for 9 years and moved back to Florida on the same day 9 years after we moved there. 

On to MY testimony. My dad started me from a young age in the sport of golf. I liked it but I LOVED basketball. After my freshman year in high school, my dad told me I had to choose what I wanted to focus my time and effort on between basketball, golf, or academics. I wasn’t the smartest student, therefore academics was out. Also, I am only 5’4″, so basketball unfortunately was out too. So I chose golf. Playing golf in Tennessee was difficult because the weather was cold half the year so I couldn’t play golf during those months. It was easy to say I was way behind on the 8 ball. Ever since I was little I loved the gators! I went to golf camp in Gainesville at the University of Florida every summer for 5 years. I built a relationship with the coach and dreamed of one day being a gator golfer. Suddenly, the UF golf coach retired. I was torn because I thought maybe she could give me a chance when I got to that point because we had a good friendship but not anymore. So I put that dream of being a gator in the back of my mind because it wasn’t reality. I was told by my high school principal, the new UF coach, and many others that I was not good enough to play for the gators because they are such an elite program in women’s golf. 

My junior year came and I hadn’t built that great of a resume yet. By that summer of 2011, my game was turning around and I began to be on the upswing. I won 4 tournaments that summer and started to be on the radar of some division 1 schools. I was offered a full scholarship to Jacksonville University and Rollins College but I didn’t really feel like those were the schools for me. My dad had challenged me at the beginning of my senior year of high school to read the whole bible from cover to cover before I went to college. I started in August and my pace was really slow because I was so busy with everything. In October, the signing deadline was approaching and I had no idea where I wanted to go. Then I met the women’s golf coaches at UCF and really really liked them. I started to pray about where I should go and where God wants me to go. My parents prayed with me for unity in our decisions. After a few weeks of praying, I was reading one day in Exodus. I know this was from God because there was no way I could have planned to read this passage on the day I did. As the deadline to sign was a few days away, I read Exodus 33. At that moment when I read that I saw UCF and the coaches in my mind, and I had peace. It says in verse 14: “The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”15 Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. 16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

I had an amazing freshman season (2011-2012) at UCF. I was the Conference Freshman of the Year, on the All-Conference Second Team, UCF Athlete of the week (twice), UCF Freshman of the Year, UCF Golf Team MVP, and set s low stroke average record. God blessed me that year! Then over the summer, my coaches called me into their office and told me they were leaving. I was DEVASTATED. I looked up to them so much and loved them. I didn’t understand why God would do this. We were planned to go to Europe the next week and I was looking forward to that trip so I could relax and get my mind off of golf and the issues at UCF. 

I was praying about transferring so I contacted Louisville, where my former UCF coaches went. They wanted me and offered me a full scholarship. But it was just cold up there and far from home so I was a little nervous about going there for sure. While I was out of the country, I got an email from an old friend saying they just hired a new coach at Florida. I thought “hey why not give it a try.” So I email her when I got back and she wanted me to come for a visit. I thought to myself, “I am about to take an official visit to my dream school!” I went on a visit and at the end, I was offered a scholarship to the University of Florida. I could’ve fainted. I had hoped for this day all my life but I had been told many times it was impossible, I wasn’t good enough, my grades aren’t good enough. But it was for real and I accepted. 

God knew, since I first started playing golf, even through the tough times when there was adversity and people said it was impossible, I would be a gator. So many scriptures flooded my mind the next couple days. Psalm 37, Romans 8:31, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 4:13 and many more. 

But it wasn’t so easy. UCF decided not to release me from school. I appealed their decision but they still denied me. So I had to sit out all last season (2012-2013) and it was very hard. But I kept my head up and found peace and rest in God through that year. It was long to say the least.

Now here we are at the beginning of my Redshirt Sophomore season (2013-2014), I am the only American on my team with a huge mission field. I qualified for my first tournament which was in Charleston, SC on September 8-11, 2013. We won by one shot and it was the coolest feeling ever to win my first event as a gator. I marked my golf ball with John 15:5, Colossians 3:23, and John 3:16 each day and I saw each of those verses happen. I remained in Him and he remained in me and I felt his peace and present and love. God is so good!!! 

When I say I couldn’t be where I am today without God, I truly mean it. I literally couldn’t be a gator without Him. I can look back and see the Hand of God in every single step. He is FAITHFUL!!!! Psalm 115:1 “Not to us Lord, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness!”

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