MILLINGTON, Tenn. (WREG) — Saint Agnes sophomore golfer Anna heck is following in the footsteps of some very talented athletes, her two older sisters, Abby and Rachel.
“I’ve been playing golf for as long as I can remember,” said Heck. “I’ve always kind of known that golf was for me because I looked at my sisters and I’ve never felt pressured into it. It was just something that was always fun and enjoyable and something I wanted to do.”
Abby played for Notre Dame and will begin medical school in the Fall. Rachel will be a sophomore at Stanford.
“We always want each other to play absolutely amazing, but we always want to play a little bit better,” said Rachel Heck. “So, growing up we really pushed each other because everything we did was a contest. We wouldn’t just go out and hit balls and perfect each other’s swings. It was just contest, contest, contest. And, I think that’s how we all got to where we are today.”
Anna, one of the top golfers in the state, finished 2nd in the TSSAA State Tournament.
“She works so hard,” said Rachel Heck. “She’s awesome. She’s a really cool kid, she works her butt off that’s for sure.”
Five months later, Rachel took home an NCAA Individual Title as a freshman for the Cardinal.
“I remember during school one day during when she was in contention during her first tournament, I was refreshing the leaderboard and when she won her first one I thought that was the craziest thing – that she won a college tournament as a freshman,” said Anna Heck. “I had no idea what was coming next. Every part of it, each thing felt unbelievable as it was and stuff kept getting added on to it. Looking back on it, it still doesn’t feel real.”
The game of golf means so much to Anna and her sisters, with much of their success stemming from the valuable lessons their parents instill in them.
“We always thought – obviously their education will come first, their church, their family, their friends,” said Heck’s mother, Stacy. “I think if you made golf your whole life and if you lived and died by every hole that you played then that’s kind of putting your happiness not in your control. So, we think it’s important for them to have other interests and other hobbies. And, golf is important. The other day [Anna] had a bad round, and we were in the car we said, ‘Anna it’s OK, it doesn’t matter.’ Then she goes, ‘if it doesn’t matter, then why am I working so hard?’ You know what you’re right, it does matter. It matters a lot, but it’s not everything.”
“They push us to do our best, but make sure to always check up on us to make sure we’re not feeling too much pressure with the game,” Anna Heck said. “Making sure we know that golf is not everything, obviously it’s really important to our family.”
Anna competed in the 40th Bubba Conlee National at Mirimichi Golf Course in Millington, alongside dozens of top golfers from across the country, including Memphis signee Katie Stinchcomb.
“This tournament is really special to me because it’s kind of where I got exposed to the University of Memphis and where I would say I had my breakthrough when it comes to golf,” said Stinchcomb.
Stinchcomb (-2) finished 2nd in the Bubba after the tournament was shortened to 36 holes due to inclement weather.
Heck has yet to make a decision on what college she’ll play for in two years, but like Stinchcomb, she believes tournaments like the Bubba are important for exposure.
“They’re very important and I haven’t been having my best year so far but just knowing that coaches look for more than how you’re playing, but how you’re staying through the tough rounds,” said Anna Heck. “These tournaments are great exposure and overall it’s a great experience.”