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Women's Golf

Beyond the Game – Marisa Messana

Jun 20, 2018

Beyond the Game - Marisa Messana

Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I grew up in south Florida, which I describe as “a whole other animal” compared to South Carolina. It was very eye-opening for me to experience life in Clemson and leave the fast-paced lifestyle I was accustomed to, but I love it here.

Q. What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?
A. Playing on the LPGA Tour.

Q. How did you first get involved with golf?
A. My older brother, C.J., played and I wanted to do everything he did when I was growing up, so I started with the Junior Golf Association of Broward County, which runs junior golf tournaments every Monday during the summer and provides clinics Tuesday and Wednesday. That was an awesome opportunity for me to compete and learn about the game.

Q. Did you play any other sports growing up besides golf?
A. I played soccer until high school, then I stuck with golf.

Q. What compelled you to attend Clemson?
A. I was intrigued by the opportunity to make history with the new program.

Q. How did Clemson stand out to you when you were looking at colleges?
A. The athletic department genuinely provides every resource necessary to perform at the highest level.

Q. What is your major and minor?
A. I majored in communication with a minor in entrepreneurship. Now, I am working on my graduate degree in human resource development.

Q. What has been your most memorable Clemson golf moment?
A. Securing a top-six- spot at regionals my junior year to qualify for the national tournament for the first time in program history was a moment I will never forget.

Q. How has golf impacted your life?
A. Golf has introduced me to people and environments that I’m beyond blessed to be surrounded by. Even during the short four years playing for Clemson, I’ve encountered a lifetime of incredible people and experiences that have influenced me significantly in this process of becoming my best self.

Q. How would you describe the challenges of being a student-athlete?
A. I would say the benefits outweigh the hardships by far. I’ve loved being exposed to the resources necessary to understanding how to perform at a high level, and these challenges have been extremely rewarding. Also, the opportunities to meet incredible people and places through athletics has been inspiring.

Q. Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
A. I don’t have just one inspiration. I’m continually fascinated by understanding how any professional athlete or high-achieving person performs at the highest level.

Q. What famous athletes do you look up to?
A. Stephen Curry, Michael Phelps, Tim Tebow and I hate to be cliché, but I can never ignore the excellence Tiger Woods represents. I admire what he has done for the game of golf, the level of talent he has achieved physically and mentally, and the work ethic and intensity in which he goes about his business.

Q. Where is the most interesting place you have ever been?
A. South Africa.

Q. Do you have any hobbies?
A. Anything active. I love boating, being outside, playing tennis, working out, yoga, hiking, etc.

Q. What’s one thing about you that surprises people?
A. I’m 50 percent Cuban and like speaking Spanish.

Q. If you could choose one song to describe yourself, what would it be?
A. I like to think the new Carrie Underwood song, “The Champion,” is about me.

Q. What are your plans for the future?
A. I finished undergrad in three years, so I began my master’s degree during my fourth year of eligibility with the golf team. Now that I finished my college golf career, I still have one more year to complete my graduate program. I will continue to improve my golf game in efforts to play professionally by the time I finish my master’s degree. If I feel as though I’ve made significant enough improvements to compete on tour, I will play professionally, but if not, I will continue into the corporate world with the support of the degrees I’ve earned over the past few years.