Karen Miyamoto graduated from Bishops Gate Golf Academy in 2016 to play on the University of Washington women’s golf team. She’s now in her sophomore year after posting three top-15 finishes in eight events as a freshman after joining the team in January. This summer, Miyamoto advanced to the Round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Q: How did you get started in golf?
I started playing golf when I was nine years old. My parents took me to the golf driving range. I tried to hit the balls, and it was fun. Also, my parents wanted me to play golf because playing golf is their hobby as well. So my parents are the reason I started playing golf.
Q: You love golf, so what drives your passion for it?
When I have success, it’s what I want to do. I think golf is the hardest sport. It’s not easy to make good scores every time. However, when I win the tournament or when I play well, I feel glad I practiced a lot for it. Also, even if I play bad, I can learn lots of things. Doing everything well is not fun. I think I need harsh experiences as well. I’ve had both kinds of experiences, that’s why I don’t get tired of playing golf.
Q: What are your goals in golf?
I’m playing at the University of Washington. My goals for this year are to win one of the tournaments individually and to be National Champion again as a team. I haven’t decided my plans after I graduate college yet.
Q: How is college going so far?
College is so much fun, but also, I have a lot of things to do every day. Studying, practicing and doing assignments…it is hard but I’m managing it.
Q: How did BGGA prepare you for college?
I decided to go to UW late. I was interested in UW but I thought it was already too late. However, Mr. Kevin Smeltz contacted the UW coach and they were interested!
Q: What do you love about being a college athlete?
Being a college athlete is really fun because other people are interested in me – especially local people. And most of the time when I travel with the team, people cheer for us.
Q: What has been one of the biggest challenges about the new experience as a college student?
Going to the classes and playing tournaments at the same time are the biggest challenges. We have a lot of tournaments even during the school year. Doing everything well is hard. Since my English is still not perfect, it is hard for me to take exams and do assignments all in English. Also, I have to practice golf. These two things are my new challenges as a college student.
Q: What would you like people to know about the experience at BGGA and how it helped you achieve your goal?
I was glad I went to BGGA because there are not great golf facilities like BGGA in Japan. I was not good at chipping, but I was able to improve by practicing at the great facilities in BGGA. It definitely helped, and I was able to make up and downs even if I missed the green.
Also, my English was not really good before, and it improved a lot at BGGA. There were students from many different countries, so we had to use English with each other. It was very helpful for improving my English.