By Rodrigo Verney, July 21 2021—
Victoria Tse is an award winning competitive golfer. Tse has always been a focused and hard working athlete on and off the golf course. She attended Sir Winston Churchill High School, but her love for the sport came before being exposed to any type of varsity sport. Tse will have graduated from the University of Calgary by December 2022 as an accounting major. Her main goal is to get her Certification of Public Accountant (CPA) designation by the end of her time with the U of C. Tse has displayed her competitive nature ever since she came in contact with golf and continues to impress people with her strong mentality and many accolades.
Tse’s passion for golf didn’t come as her first one. Her father tried to introduce her to the course when she was only four years old, but at that time Tse was already committed to being a competitive gymnast. She pursued that athletic career for ten more years. Being exposed to competition at such a young age has shown tremendous results as, by that time, she competed in the national championship twice and has been a part of team Alberta on one occasion. However, she decided to step away from competitive gymnastics at 15 years old. Luckily, her brother was already into competitive golf, which re-introduced the sport to her. This time, she was hooked.
Her love for the game was instant. She recalls being on the course for hours on end. Joining a club at 15 years old, she dedicated most of her time working on her form and precision. Playing upwards of two rounds per day in the summer, Tse quickly grew an outstanding ability at her sport which led to her decision to enroll at her first tournament in 2016 — a decision that would lead to another enrollment every year until 2019, a year that she considers to be a big year for her. Tse was able to come second in the Alberta junior championships. That earned her a spot to be on team Alberta for the Golf Canada championship. Hence, she was at nationals representing team Canada and placed 35th overall.
Tse recalls the differences between her gymnastics career and her first time as a golfer. One contrast that she remembered was that, in golf, she didn’t have a coach right away, which she said went to show how her love for the game came from a very personal affinity.
“My desire to be at the golf course came from within,” said Tse. She would spend over eight hours working on her craft purely for her enjoyment. Tse even goes as far as saying that this lack of a coach didn’t diminish her desire to get better each time she was playing. Since she motivated herself to strive for the best version of herself that she could be.
Tse looks up to many popular golfers, even though she has no desire to become a professional golfer. Her biggest inspiration is Xander Schauffele, the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) champion. Although she doesn’t believe that becoming a professional is a likely scenario, Tse assures us that she will be playing golf for a long time. She elaborated by stating that it is a great leisure activity to focus on alone or with a group of friends. She even jokes about the stereotype that golf is a sport for the elderly, claiming that you can be of any age to enjoy it and the simplicity of the mechanics can make it appealing for any age group.
“I will definitely continue to play golf as long as my body can handle it honestly,” she said.
When asked about her strengths at competitions or on the course, Tse was quick to point out her mental game. She believes this carried over from her days as a competitive gymnast. She meticulously describes her thought process, talking about the head space she goes into when she is in a tournament — it’s all about focus and habit. Always looking to better herself, she believes that it is indicative that a good golfer thinks of the shot they are taking now and the one that comes after it.
“The most important shot is the next one,” said Tse.
Tse’s main weakness, according to herself, is the inconsistency in training conditions she faces given Calgary’s climate. As she puts it, Calgary doesn’t have the best conditions to maintain a golf course all year round. However, she does believe that this is a matter of focusing your efforts at every opportunity at training since it is an unbalanced calendar.
In regards to her academics, Tse is a model for student-athletes all over the country as she has excelled in her accounting program. Those who recognize her from her golfing prowess would see similarities in her academics as she believes that the mentality she brings to the course can also translate to the classroom. Tse describes herself as a hard working committed student, which paid off as she made dean’s list in two semesters and got named UCalgary all academic. Even though her hard work has made her great at both the college scene and an athlete’s life, her priorities are set as being a student first and a golfer second, even if she knows how these priorities tend to clash. That is the reason why her main focus for the near future is to get her CPA.
Tse has a lot of experience on the course. Even though she only ever had one coach, the mutual respect and trust that they shared has taught a lot for her. Jayme Ryler is the head coach for the Dions golf team and got to know Tse better in 2018 when they started working together.
“Throughout the years we definitely developed a close working relationship,” said Tse. She commends him for his work ethic, stating that he will always cut to the chase and tell her the situation as it is — “no sugar coating” as Tse puts it.
She already feels like golfing can ease her stress from her everyday life, but it is becoming a great tool for her mental health amidst the pandemic. As golf is a contactless sport, she was able to enjoy an activity that did not inflict on the COVID guidelines as it could be practiced in an open environment and it isn’t hard to social distance when playing. Even though it helped her, everyone felt the toll that a sudden and drastic change such as a pandemic had on the world. Hence, she also struggled to adapt to the new normal. She is thankful for her strong mentality and ability to play her favorite game as it greatly helped in processing this whole situation.
When it comes to her future, Tse wishes to step away from competitive golfing, but she can’t see herself not playing golf as a whole.
“I love the leisure aspect of it,” she said. “I love being able to take four hours of my day and think about nothing other than the course.”
Her love for the game and strong mentality should serve as a lesson for her, and for every person alike. It goes without saying that these are not only the traits of a great person, but the traits of a champion.