PAWLEY’S ISLAND, S.C (seminoles.com) – Florida State senior Amelia Williamson can trace her golf success to the terrain in the eastern part of her native England.
Williamson is from Norfolk, a mostly rural county in England which borders the North Sea. The part of the country she grew up in consists of low hills and plains.
Golf, however, was not the first sport Williamson played competitively. She was originally a skier, but found it hard to practice at home because of the lack of mountains and snow.
“I was skiing on what we called fake bristles,” said Williams. “Fake bristles are artificial ski slopes.”
When Williamson discovered she had an interest in golf, she knew if she wanted to excel at golf that she had to choose either skiing or golf.
The No. 16 nationally ranked Seminoles are happy that Williamson chose the golf course over the slopes as she leads Florida State into the ACC Championship at The Reserve at Pawley’s Island this week. The Seminoles will look to improve on their third place finish from a season ago and win their first ACC Championship.
“I was 11 when I decided I wanted to become a serious golfer,” said Williamson.
Because she comes from a family of golfers, it’s no surprise that Williamson has developed into the golfer she is today. Her mom plays on the English National Team and is a multiple-winner of the Norfolk County Golf Championship. Her dad is a former team captain of Norfolk Men’s Golf Team.
Both of her parents have both played a large role in helping her become the accomplished golfer she is today.
“They were really supportive,” said Williamson. “They drove me all over England, which allowed me to play in tournaments with stronger fields. Playing against stronger players exposed me to better players at a young age.”
When it came time for Williamson to play golf at the collegiate level, the decision to compete for Florida State was simple.
“When I first visited, the coaches were very inviting,” Williamson said. “Two of the coaches were English which made me feel comfortable. Also the team had good chemistry. Everyone seemed to get on very well.”
For Williamson whose home is across the globe, the Seminoles felt like a second family.
“Moving to the United States was not as hard as I anticipated but, was not easy either,” said Williamson. “I miss my family but have wanted to come out here for so long it is quite easy to look past being away from home.
Being so busy with golf tournaments, practice, and school can be a good distraction.
As she became acclimated to the grass and the courses as a member of the golf team a new golf facility was being constructed at Florida State. A newly designed golf course and practice area that has become a game-changer for Williamson and her teammates.
When Williamson started at Florida State as a freshman, the golf course was under construction and there was no practice facility. Halfway through her sophomore year, the golf course opened and it made practicing and playing a lot easier.
“The new Seminole Legacy Golf Course is a major development for the team and the program as a whole,” Williamson said.
In England, the golf course design is different from here in the United States. The main difference revolves around the grass. The grass at home is short, flat, and perfectly even unlike the grass in Florida that is designed to withstand heat.
“My biggest adjustment was getting used to the grass,” said Williamson. “It took me a while to get used to playing on the grass.”
Links golf courses are common in England. Developed in Scotland, links courses are the oldest style of courses and can usually be found in coastal areas, on sandy soil, and surrounded by dunes. There are few water hazards and few trees.
When Williamson played golf at home on links courses, she was more exposed to wind because she was on a small island.
“Here in America, the types of shots required for my game and skill set I almost didn’t have,” Williamson said. “It has taken my time at Florida State to develop those skills and learn what I needed to do to be successful.”
Besides learning to adapt to golf courses in Williamson’s time at Florida State, she has also seen her golf game evolve to where it is now her senior year.
“Early on freshman and sophomore year I had the skills and I made improvements but, they never showed in my performances and results,” said Williamson.
Williamson is currently enjoying her best season as a Florida State student-athlete. She is one of the most experienced players in all of collegiate golf and is ranked 12th in school history with a 74.46 stroke average.
Seminole Head Coach Amy Bond is extremely happy with Williamson’s improvement as a golfer since her arrival in Tallahassee in 2018.
“Amelia has really come into her own this season,” said Bond. “She has worked really hard on her game and that work is paying off. Amelia’s confidence on the course is sky-high right now. Her play has been exciting to watch, and I am looking forward to watching her continue to excel.”
Williamson won her first career individual championship at the Florida State Match Up in February. It was her first college win and was special because it was on her home course.
This season, Williamson has the goal of making it to the top five in NCAA rankings.
After college, she wants to play professionally in both America and England. To be successful on the golf course, Williamson likes to stay consistent. But overall, she just wants to have fun playing the game.
“For me, just having a positive mindset, going out there to have fun, and not putting too much pressure on myself,” Williamson said. “Success is related to the amount of fun I can have.”
Although Williamson likes to have fun, she still prides herself in being very competitive.
“Even though golf is a sociable sport, I think people underestimate the competitiveness and willpower it takes to keep pushing through on the course,” Williamson responds.
“The pressure to be perfect. When it comes to golf, people expect you to play perfect golf all the time. All professional golfers at the end of the day can only focus on playing well at that particular time.”
To avoid that pressure to be perfect on the golf course, Williamson challenges herself to not look at the leaderboard. Instead, she just focuses on having as few shots as possible.
Outside of golf, Williamson likes to cook and go to the gym and enjoys meeting new people in class who have also been able to help her out with schoolwork when she misses school for games.
The most important lesson Williamson has learned is “that you should never give up.”
Williamson continues to prove this motto as the Seminoles move into the postseason which, for the Seminoles, includes playing host to the NCAA Tallahassee Regional Championship in May.