June 30, 2003
Alison Curdt nearly quit playing golf as a freshman in high school. She had decided golf wasn’t a ‘cool’ sport and that the ‘in’ sport among the ‘popular’ kids in her class was cross-country. Curdt had all but given up her golf clubs for a pair of running sneakers – which she thought was the key to opening the door to increased social status and improved self-esteem – until she told her parents of her intentions.
Ever the supportive parents, Cal and Michele Curdt sat the three-year Seminole starter down and explained to her that she had to do what made her, and not her friends, happy. They encouraged her to follow her dreams and not those of her friends. Their wisdom allowed her to add more perspective to the athletic direction she wanted to take and helped her re-think her decision.
“My parents sat me down and wanted me to do what was best for me and not for other people,” Curdt said. “They taught me that it wasn’t what other people thought about golf, it was what I thought about golf. They also reminded me that I had to do things because I wanted to do them and not because my friends wanted me to do them.”
“At the end of our talk, I knew my parents would support me whether I chose to play golf or become a member of the cross country team.”
Fortunately for the rising senior she had a change of heart. She took her golf bag out of the closet and traded her sneakers for a pair of golf spikes.
Now that she has played on college golf’s biggest stage during the 2003 NCAA Division I Championship and come within one round of qualifying for the 2003 U.S. Women’s Open, she is certainly glad she listened to her parents when she was 14 years old.
Curdt began playing golf at age seven and quickly blossomed into one of the top young golfers in her hometown of Ellisville, Mo. It wasn’t long before her father was sneaking her onto the golf course in order to teach her the finer points of the game. She began playing competitive golf when she was eight years old and became active at the amateur and junior levels in the talent-rich St. Louis area. Curdt quickly became one of the top junior golfers in the area.
Her list of junior golf accomplishments can be spread out down the fairway of any of the courses she has played during her career. She was a member of the U.S. Junior World Cup team in 2000, played on the Metropolitan Amateur Junior Golf Association Mid America Junior Cup Team in 1999, was a four-time participant in the Missouri State high school girls golf championship (she finished as the state championship runner-up in 1998 and 1999), was a three-time All-Metro selection while at Marquette High School by the St. Louis Dispatch and was the St. Louis Gateway PGA Maxfli Champion in 1997 and 1999.
Curdt also played in the U.S. Women’s Amateur and Women’s Western Championship in 2002. She also earned medalist honors at the State Farm-A.L. Gustin Collegiate Open in June 2001 and finished in second place at the Missouri Women’s State Amateur Tournament in July 2001.
“My experiences at the 2002 U.S. Amateur and Western Opens have encouraged me to strive to continue to improve every day I step onto the golf course,” said Curdt. “The U.S. Am was a great experience because that is the level I feel I can play at. I have to work hard to improve each day because I know I can play at that level,” she said.
Curdt’s success has continued on the collegiate level since her arrival as a freshman at Florida State.
She earned her way into the Seminoles’ line-up as a freshman and has not missed a tournament in her three years as a member of the team. She fired a career-best single-round score of 69 during the second round of the Tar Heel Invitational and the second round of the Landfall Tradition during the fall 2002 season. She has earned four top-15 individual finishes including a tied for 13th-place finish in helping the Seminoles to the team championship at the 2003 Ryder/Florida Championship in Miami Lakes, Fla.
Her play has also helped the Seminoles compete in the nation’s top events. With Curdt playing as a member of the starting five, the Seminoles returned to the NCAA Championship in 2003 after a four-year absence and have qualified for the three NCAA Regional Championships. She carded her first collegiate hole-in-one at the NCAA Central Regional at the Forest Akers West Golf Course in East Lansing, Mich., her sophomore season. Her eagle was the only hole-in-one during the three regionals of the 2002 women’s NCAA Tournament.
“Alison has been one of our most consistent golfers during the last three years,” said Seminole head coach Debbie Dillman. “She has helped our team achieve tremendous heights during her career. We are expecting her to be even more of a team leader and to play even better golf for us during her senior season.”
Curdt’s love of the sport of golf is not limited to practices and tournaments with her Seminole teammates.
Academically, she is a student in Florida State’s prestigious Professional Golf Management program. The nationally acclaimed program, which is one of eleven programs nationwide accredited by The Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA), helps prepare students to meet the challenges of managing high volume, technologically advanced golf club facilities throughout the world. As part of her coursework, she is serving an internship at one of the nation’s top golf courses in Palm Springs, Calif., during the summer of 2003.
Curdt, who has already completed her requirements for a degree in psychology, has a 3.53 grade point average and has earned Dean’s List honors during five of her six semesters at Florida State. She has been named to the Atlantic Coast Conference Honor Roll three times and was the Golden Torch Award winner for women’s golf in 2003. The Golden Torch Award is presented to the student-athlete on each team with the highest grade point average. In addition, Curdt was named to the National Golf Coaches Association’s All-American Scholar-Athlete team in both 2002 and 2003.
“You have to have the discipline to be successful on you own,” said Curdt who also credits her parents with helping her earn success in the classroom.
“The best advice my parents gave me when I came to Florida State was about the importance of going to class. With all of the time we spend traveling going to class when we are on campus is one of the keys to being successful.”
Achieving success is something Curdt has grown accustomed to throughout her life. She has earned success on both the golf course and in the classroom and has found a way to combine those two elements into a means of success when her playing days and final exams are finished at Florida State.
Alison Curdt is living proof that golf is a ‘cool’ sport and that it can be the ‘in’ way to be one of the ‘popular’ people in life.
By Chuck Walsh
Florida State Sports