On the Course to Success with Olivia Mitchell
On the Course to Success with Olivia Mitchell
In this episode of Hustle and Pro, we feature Lebanon Trail High School’s golf program. Spirited golfer Olivia Mitchell talks to us about getting her first set of clubs at age six, her success at a new high school, and her plans moving forward.
In 8th grade she was playing all the sports she could but made the decision to focus on golf for the long haul. She sat her parents down and declared, “Golf is what I want to do.”
She has her goals set on conquering the state tournament this year and being the best player for her coaches next year. She’s a polite, gracious athlete with a commitment to excellence on and off the course. We’re delighted to know her and amped to watch the ladies at Lebanon Trail shoot for the top.
- [:34] Quick hits with Olivia Mitchell
- [2:20] Success at a new high school
- [4:00] College plans – committed to DBU
- [5:02] Decided on golf in 8th grade
- [9:23] PGA moving to town & big tournaments for Olivia
- [13:00] Going pro
- [15:00] Goals and Gratitude
- [20:45] Top Courses
Resources within this episode:
- Lebanon Trail: Website
- Frisco ISD: Website
- Dallas Baptist University Website | Golf
- Olivia Mitchell Twitter: @TheOSwings
Connect with Lifestyle Frisco:
This is Hustle & Pro with Kelly Walker. Join Kelly is she talked sports with players, coaches, organizers and entrepreneurs from Peewee league pro. Now here’s your host, Kelly Walker.
Kelly Walker: Welcome to Hustle & Pro. Today we have our first Lebanon Trail High School student athlete on the show. Thanks and hello Olivia Mitchell. How are you doing today?
Olivia Mitchell: I’m good. How are you?
Kelly: I am great. So I’m excited to talk to you about some golf. So let’s explore your story a little bit and I have some fast favorites I want to ask you first. Who’s your favorite athlete?
Olivia: My favorite athlete would outside of the golf world is probably Tom Brady just because I grew up in a household where it was all about the Patriots. My dad’s been a Patriots fan forever, so we always watch games on Sunday and he’s probably it.
Kelly: What about in the golf world then?
Olivia: In the golf world? Um, I’m a big fan of Matt Kuchar. He is so awesome. So fun to watch. Super great guy. I’d never met him, but you know, one day.
Kelly: One day. What about your favorite team? So we might might go with Patriots here. You might’ve already said.
Olivia: Definitely the Patriots for sure.
Kelly: Okay. What’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled to play sports or to watch?
Olivia: Um, I haven’t played or in a tournament play, I went across the country to Gig Harbor, not this summer but the last summer. So Washington. So that’s about as far as tournament play, but just playing for fun. I played in Curacao with my mom. Well it’s a part of the ABC Island, so like Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. It’s and down by South America. Wow. It was so pretty. It was [inaudible]
Kelly: I bet. Do you have any sports superstitions? As an athlete do you have to do something every time you golf?
Olivia: Um, I talked about it with my dad a lot and I’m like, I have to like our first tournament, I shot 66 last year. So our first tournament this season, I saw actually six and I had this nail color on my nails, so I put it on my nails before I played in the same tournament. And it, it wasn’t as, it wasn’t a six six but it was, it was, it was. Okay.
Kelly: The luck wore off a little bit. A little bit. Nail Polish. What does that like a like a blue like a sky blue?
Kelly: Oh C13. You know it. So you still have it on. It must be your good luck nail color. So I love that you dream big. When I was researching you, I love that. And you’ve had some success though in high school with um, playing for Lebanon Trail. Right? So you were back to back district champions and 2017, 18, 19 and UIL region two champs 18 and 19 and then in 2019 girls by age state runner up and there’s, I think there’s even more than that. So there’s a lot. Right. That’s been a good run so far. You’re seeing here, is this what you expected when you, you know, get started at Lebanon Trail to have this much success in golf?
Olivia: Um, I think, no, to answer your question. No, it was so awesome to come in and start a new, and coach Carmichael has been amazing and he has had, he has formed this team and he has made us do things that we never even thought we could accomplish as a team. But as a 4A, as we were 4A, when we first opened, we won district, or our second year.
Kelly: It’s pretty great.
Olivia: No, we won our first year.
Kelly: Oh you did? When did it open? Do you remember?
Olivia: We opened 2016. So we won 2016 and then 2017 in the 4A district. We didn’t get out of regionals the first year. That was it. But I think the first district we ever played and we won, we were like, Oh, okay. That’s pretty like, Hey, Hey everyone, what’s going on? But I think that’s whenever we kind of started to realize, we were like, okay, we can do this. And then, so we went district, region, second and state our sophomore year. And then district region, second, and state our junior year. So it’s our time. We, yeah, it’s our time. We are ready.
Kelly: You’re ready. And so as you finish up this school year, um, you have already made your decision on where you’re going next year. Right? So tell us about that.
Olivia: August 20th I think it was, I committed to Dallas Baptist University to play golf.
Kelly: Now wait a second, is DBU Patriots too?
Olivia: They are the Patriots.
Kelly: Oh my goodness. It’s all making sense. So tell me then about your decision to stay sort of here and around this area.
Olivia: When I was a freshman I emailed basically everywhere across the country. Um, I didn’t really want, I didn’t want to stay close and I didn’t, I didn’t really know what I wanted. I was a freshman in high school. I didn’t even, I didn’t even know that I was going to play college golf freshman year cause it didn’t happen for me. I didn’t kind of make that transition to where I had the potential to play at the collegiate level until summer of my summer before going into my freshman year. That’s when it kind of clicked for me and it took me a first to term or two and then it just, it was, it was an overnight thing basically.
Kelly: Summer before your freshman year?
Olivia: Yes. So I was in eighth grade and it was, that’s when I decided. I played all other sports. I played literally everything. And then I decided, I sat my parents down at the dinner table. It sounds kind of dramatic, but it kind of was dramatic and I was like, golf is what I want to do.
Kelly: In eighth grade?
Olivia: In eighth grade. And then after that I made that decision to completely focus on golf. That’s whenever I started to make the jumps and started to compete with.
Kelly: So what else did you play at middle school. You were playing everything at school?
Olivia: I played volleyball for a really long time. I played club volleyball. I played basketball when I was littler. I played soccer, I did cheerleading. Um, what else did I do? My dad really wanted me to play softball, but I never ended up playing softball. But, um, I really was really into cheerleading and volleyball. Those are my two. And then golf.
Kelly: When you decided in eighth focus on golf, was it because you thought that’s what you were best at or potential? Like what, how did you know in eighth grade to focus?
Olivia: I thought that golf was the best opportunity for me to take it somewhere further than just high school. And, um, I loved golf. Like I, I still love it obviously cause I’m still playing. Um, but I love playing and it was so much fun. I did a team with, um, where I, where I practiced that Reggie Ranch, she was, we were called the Reggie Ranch Raiders and we would go out and we would play and team golf and it was so much fun. And so I always knew that golf was the best thing for me just because of how much fun I had competing and [inaudible]
Kelly: That’s getting better. Yeah. And that’s pretty early to decide that. That’s great. How early did you actually start golfing?
Olivia: Um, I was about, I think I got my first set of clubs and I was six or seven. But, um, my grandfather, he took us out to Elkins Lake, so my grandparents live out on Lake Livingston in Houston. So they took me and my cousin, um, to golf camp. I think I was seven. I wanna say I was seven. My cousins a year older than me, so she was eight. Um, I stuck with it. She didn’t, but my grandparents are really big part of why I even get to do what I do now.
Kelly: started. That’s probably because most seven year olds don’t have the patience to keep with golf. Right. I mean it’s tough to,
Olivia: There’s a few.
Kelly: Yeah. I mean I’m sure, but not everybody can do that at age seven.
Olivia: Yes, ma’am.
Kelly: Can focus and, and be that as good at it as you must have been. So now are you from Frisco or Plano?
Olivia: I am from, I live in Plano but, um, I’ve gone to Frisco schools my whole life.
Kelly: Okay, got it. So you’ve always been up here around Frisco for schools. It’s not like just a recent thing.
Olivia: No, no ma’am. I went to Bogart Elementary and then I went to Fowler and then we got the zoning change. So then I feed it into Lebanon Trail.
Kelly: Okay. So I, um, back to DBU. So, um, I love DBU and I’m excited that you’re going to be here and be local. And I was looking at, um, when they announced or when you committed I guess, and they kind of announced it. I love their, um, like taglines that they put out there for, they were talking about if you love golf, if you love to compete and you buy into their culture. So was it something specific about DBU that hooked you?
Olivia: Um, the coach for sure. Coach Trapp is amazing. I really, I, I feel like I knew for a long time that I wanted to go to DBU, but I really just wanted to keep my options open cause I was, I kind of committed very late. Usually in the golf world big time athletes that are really good commit super, super early. And so I felt like I, there was a lot of pressure on me to just make a decision, but I wanted to just keep my options open and see what I really liked best. And I couldn’t see myself going other than DBU and I couldn’t see myself playing for anyone other than coach Trapp because I love what he does, how he coaches his team and they win. They’re so awesome and all the girls are amazing and they make me feel so, so special to be going there and it’s, it’s really an honor to be able to play for them.
Kelly: That’s awesome. And I like that you get to stay not too far, you know, local. So you know, the PGA Headquarters is going to be here before we know it. So do you know much about that? Do you follow and get excited about them being here?
Olivia: There was a thing that they did for the Frisco ISD golfers and my teammate Ryan Coe went and Mitchell. They went with our coach, Coach Carmichael to the presentation but I do know they are going to host a Ryder Cup here in 2034 and I was reading up on it today and they are going to host the first 20 or 30 tournaments here and that’s really great.
Kelly: That’s a lot. That’s awesome. Yes, there’s nice courses and nice events to play here. And so that kind of reminds me, so you’ve gotten to play some big name tournaments. Um, I saw that you participated in, um, let’s see. Sergio Garcia, a Callaway tournament and Under Armour Jordan Speith tournament.
Olivia: Yes ma’am.
Kelly: Rolex tournament. Um, let’s see. There was another big name, I feel like, Oh, Folds of Honor, Bob S tournament, all these things. So any favorites or favorite memories from any of those that stand out to you?
Olivia: Um, well there’s one that you didn’t mention, but it was the USGA, a women’s amateur four ball. Okay. And it’s where you have a partner and you play out your own ball and then you take the best score of the two and then you record that score. I played with, um, my best friend, she lives in Abilene. Her name’s Maddy Wilson. She’s going to SMU and we graduate in the same year. So you’re going to be in the same city next year. So it’s going to be really exciting. But um, that was my favorite tournament. We played at Tim of Quanta down in, uh, Jacksonville, Florida. And it was so much fun. You have to go through one round of qualifying. So we qualified out at, I’m having a, I’m drawing a blank.
Kelly: Well how’d you get paired up with her then? By request or luck?
Olivia: I met her at the Folds of Honor my first year. No I didn’t. I met her at the State Tournament my freshman year. She won my freshman year. And um, ever since then we have been best friends. Like, cause we were paired up together cause we were both medalists and so we played together both days and I, she was so much better than me at that point in time cause she, she was, had been playing that type of caliber of golf for a lot longer than I have. Um, so she completely just kicked my butt at that tournament. And so I was just like wow, I really want to be friends with her. And then it just, our friendships stemmed from there and we’ve been, we talk every day.
Kelly: Oh my God!
Olivia: But we are, we are partners and we are playing at Mira Vista. That’s when our, our qualifier for the 2019 four ball is, it might be 2020 no or the 2020 4 ballers.
Kelly: So you get to see her. So do you mostly just get to see her when you guys are playing together or against each other?
Olivia: It was my birthday actually two days ago. She came down cause she was at the um, LPGA tournament that was Old American, the way. All of America. And she came down and said hi. And we just kind of hung out for a little bit. But we do see each other a lot. We plan a lot of the same events and it’s not, it’s not like super long-distance cause I feel like we get to see each other like all the time.
Kelly: Yeah. And next year you’ll be in the same town. You’ll be competing against each other again.
Olivia: Um, I dunno if those two schools actually, well DBU is division two and SMU is division one, but sometimes w I mean DBU played an SMU Invitational last year. So we will be some crossover. There will be a little bit of crossover.
Kelly: Yes. So your friend that came in town that played, um, at an LPGA event, so is that something that you have also played in and is that something you plan to do in the future?
Olivia: Um, a lot of people ask me that question if I want to go professional and make this my job. But I talk about it all the time with my parents and I just, I don’t know if that’s something that I want to make my job, but if my game takes me there, of course I will try it out. But I don’t want to, it’s not something that like, because a lot of the junior golfers that I play with and a lot of the girls that I’m friends with have always wanted to become professional and I just don’t know if that’s the direction that I’m going in. But I mean if I, if I’d get that good, then of course I’m going to try and give it a shot, but I’m not going to like force it.
Kelly: Right. It’s not like you have like laser focus on that and that only, what about if, so if that’s not your, your job in your life, what other kinds of things do you see yourself doing and being?
Olivia: Um, I really, I don’t, I don’t really know, but I mean golf wise, whenever I kind of say that I don’t want to go professional people kind of like, they kind of look at me and they’re like, well why are you playing in college? And I, I mean I want to get to where I’m the best golfer that I can be and I compete to my fullest potential and I can give everything that I have to coach Trapp and to DBU in that program. So I’m going to keep working on it. Obviously.
Kelly: I love that. I mean, I don’t think, I think whenever people go and play a college sport, if they’re swimming or playing baseball or I don’t know all the other things in football, you don’t assume they’re going to go do that professionally in those sports. But for some reason golf, you kind of, I don’t know. It’s like maybe people like me that don’t even know how hard it is. It’s like you assume it’s easier or some natural path to go play pro for some reason. I don’t know why people like me to ask you that, but um, but I like that you’re not like assuming it right, that you’re playing for the level that you’re at in the next level that you just getting to in college and making it the best experience that you can. Yeah, that’s good. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re not supposed to jump ahead.
Olivia: I’m really excited just taking it one step at a time and trying to make myself to where I’m the best version of golfer that I can be.
Kelly: Yup. Do you have any specific goals as far as your career? Well, as you finish Lebanon Trail, you mentioned you guys want to win
Olivia: We do want to, we do want to get the ring. We do want to win State. I think we would be the first golf program in Frisco ISD history to win State. I could be wrong.
Kelly: Well that sounds good. I mean even if you’re not, even if you’re not the first, it’ll still be great no matter what.
Olivia: Right. I think it is the first women’s program for sure. I don’t know about the boys, but the girls I think for sure. But that’s our ultimate goal.
Kelly: Good luck. What about any goals though when you get to DBU? Are there certain, um, I don’t know, scores or achievements that you know already that you want to get when you’re there?
Olivia: Um, I feel like my mom has been telling me, she’s like, Oh my goodness, all the pressure’s off. Like you have no pressure anymore. And I’m like, it’s just kind of a different kind of pressure. It’s not like where I’m going to go to school anymore. It’s how good am I going to be at the school that I’ve chosen to go. And so, I mean, I really just want to be, I want to play, I want to compete. I want to be a great college athlete and see where that takes me.
Kelly: That aligns with what they’re looking for with their loving golf, loving to compete there. So, um, also I, I, you seem very polite and I saw, um, it’s funny the younger my guests are, the more research I do on Twitter because that seems to be sometimes where I find the most out about you. Um, but you always tweet like thank yous to the people that you’re playing with. Right. You mentioned sometimes getting paired up with somebody that you look up to or your friends or your coaches and you thank them, um, you thank the venues in the courses that you get to play at. So you’re very polite and gracious and honoring your sport. So where did you learn that? Where does that come from?
Olivia: My parents have definitely, I mean, I grew up where it was just manners were expected and um, I mean it’s helped me a lot. Like I thank you for saying that. It’s a great compliment, but, um, I mean I, they just, yes ma’am. No ma’am. Always handwritten thank you notes and I, it’s just kind of what I’ve grown up with, but my parents are to thank for that, that it’s definitely, they’re doing right there.
Kelly: Well, it’s nice and it’s nice to see because, um, it’s refreshing I think too, that you’re not taking your sport for granted. Um, it’s hard, right? And, and it’s something that just like with any sports and anything somebody commits to and has, you know, dreams to do, it can come and go. And so it looks like you’re very thankful for every time you get to go out there and play and somebody can host and you get matched up with different folks, right. To teach you more about the game.
Olivia: And especially with some of the tours that I play on, like AJGA, they’re nonprofit and so it’s so we’re like everyone that is in the field or everyone that’s playing or as a member of that, um, specific tour, it’s just like we’re, all of us are so thankful that we’re allowed to go play out on great golf courses and we get to showcase our talent to people that want to see it and coaches that are there to watch us and they give us, uh, a stage that is just, you want to see that’s where you want to be and you want to compete. And without that we wouldn’t like, Junior golf might not be such a big thing as it is now without those types of people. And it’s so fun and like, cause all of all the girls from Texas were, we’re all pretty close. Like we all really, we all know each other and we’re all really good friends. And so we, we play together. And so it’s just without those types of people who want us to be able to showcase our talent and play, you wouldn’t get it. We wouldn’t, I probably wouldn’t be going to DBU or my best friend probably wouldn’t be going to Oklahoma. Like it’s just, it’s just amazing that other people are willing to help us out achieve our dreams. And yeah.
Kelly: So you keep mentioning your friends and this sort of bond of girls, right, that you’ve probably played with, I don’t know, four or five years, however long that each person has been in the same sort of circuit as you. And it’s interesting though because when I think of golf I think of the individual side of it and I feel like, okay, you’re more isolated and you’re out there kind of more on your own. And I guess maybe the training side is, I don’t know what your schedule looks like, but it sounds like when you talk about it, it sounds completely opposite. Like it is very, um, you know, a sisterhood and a good social time for you to make these connections with friends.
Olivia: It is for sure. I mean whenever we’re playing in a tournament and like at the Bluebonnet, it was alleged event in May, me and my friend Megan and we were paired together and I mean we are chatting each other up, down the fairways and we’re having a great time. But like once it’s time to focus like both of us, we can just turn it on. And then once we’ve won, once we’ve hit our shot we can just go and chit chat down the fairway again and get to the green. But like, it’s just like there’s like an on and off switch with it kind of. But I mean it’s, you have to have some fun.
Kelly: Is everybody like that? Are you, are you extra social out there?
Olivia: I’m very social out there. I think it might get on some people’s nerves sometimes. For sure. I won’t, I won’t lie to you, but um, that’s true. I definitely know when there’s, there’s a time to stop. Like if they’re not talking to me and they’re just like, they’re like, I don’t want to talk to you right now.
Kelly: Cause that’s not everybody’s personality for sure. You know?
Olivia: But I do know whenever I want to turn it off, but if they’re talking to me, of course I’m going to talk to them. It’s, it’s great time.
Kelly: Yeah. Really fun. Fun. Like you said. So give me your top few golf courses that you’ve played you’ve gotten to play at or where is somewhere you haven’t played yet that you really want to get to?
Olivia: My favorite course I’ve ever played out was Tim Marcona. That was where the USA football was. It was amazing. It was so awesome. They really took care of us. They were, so, the staff was great. The volunteers were great. The greens, the greens were like perfect condition. The course was amazing. It was so pure.
Kelly: Was this Florida?
Olivia: Yes, Florida, Jacksonville. But, um, I really want to play Baltusrol. It’s where, um, they have the USGA junior amateurs for the boys um, two years ago, but that’s really one in, of course, Augusta National. Um, and we actually do have an opportunity to play in that,
Kelly: Oh wow.
Olivia: In the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, but it’s the top 100 amateurs in the world. And of course it’s like a dream there like, I’d love to play in that. And you really only get to play in if you make the cut. So it’s totally.
Kelly: Top 100 amateurs in the world. Once a year this happens?
Olivia: Yes ma’am. It was for the, the inaugural one was last, I want to say May, April.
Kelly: So it’s a new thing, right?
Olivia: Brand new.
Kelly: That’s exciting. That’s a goal, right? I mean is that a possibility for you, to be ranked that high? Maybe?
Olivia: I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe. I’d love for it to be sure.
Kelly: You never know.
Olivia: Cause you can do it all through college. So if I play some really good college golf individually, then who knows?
Kelly: Who knows?
Olivia: Maybe win some amateur tournaments.
Kelly: Hey, you could just climb the rankings. You just never know.
Olivia: I’m pretty, I’m pretty far down there though. Yeah. I haven’t looked in awhile.
Kelly: But you know, I mean, you’re finishing high school, so you just never know. You could completely, your game could soar over the next year or two when you change, I mean everything changes, right? Your, your body is, you’re still like growing up and you’re still getting different coaching staffs and all things could tweak and change and you could just get even better than you thought.
Olivia: Yep. Definitely for sure.
Kelly: Definitely. Any other golf courses then on your list or is that all of them?
Olivia: Baltusrol I guess National. Oh, I really want to play Pebble Beach. I really want to play Pebble Beach. Torrey Pines.
Kelly: Well, I hope you get a chance to go play those too.
Olivia: I do too.
Kelly: I’m excited for you. I love your, your contagious, happy attitude and think how gracious you are with everybody who hosts you and I love that you’ve made such good friends in this individual type of sport and I’m excited for Lebanon Trail.
Olivia: Me too definitely. I mean our number four girl, her name’s Dominique Gomez, she has stepped up. She is played out of nowhere, just the best golf of her life. And it is, it’s so exciting to watch. And um, Ryan Coe she’s shooting red numbers, she’s playing amazing and Madison like we’re, we’re doing really well and all of us are really just meshing really well together and I think we have a really, really good chance.
Kelly: Good. Sounds like you have some, have some momentum.
Olivia: We do.
Kelly: Good opportunity. We’ll get, we’ll be rooting for you.
Olivia: Thank you very much.
Kelly: Thanks for coming in. I know you, I think you come off of a golf course today to come.
Olivia: No, I just got out of school. I’m going after this.
Kelly: Okay. So you in between school and, and training, you stopped by to talk to us. Well, I appreciate it.
Olivia: Thank you ma’am. Thank you so much for having me.
Kelly: And everybody else out there, thank you for joining us for Hustle & Pro today. So remember to subscribe on whatever it is you are listening to us on and join us next week.