For the Love of the Game
We like to think that the couple that plays together stays together. In this case, the couple not only plays together, they compete together on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour. Heather and Rafael, two golfers from Southern California, are sharing their love of the game with one another, and having a blast while doing so.
We caught up with the couple to hear about their experiences on the course and what playing on the Am Tour has meant to them.
How did you two meet?
R: The old fashioned way, offline.
H: We had causally met a long time ago, and after having not seen each other in ten years, we ran into each other randomly. The rest was history!
When did you realize you both had a love for golf?
R: I fell in love with golf the first time my dad took me to Pebble Beach to watch the Bing Crosby Pro-Am, what is now the AT&T Pro-Am. I played in high school and was a casual golfer until I joined the Am Tour in 2012.
H: I became interested after Rafael took me to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2010. I had never even set foot on a golf course. I had played competitive volleyball through college but had never been exposed to golf. I watched pros hit the green on from what seemed like miles away, blindly, and I was captivated.
How has golf been a part of your relationship?
R: Golf has brought us much closer together. I’ve learned [from Heather] you can’t have too many golf shoes and periwinkle brings out my eyes. I’ve also learned female golfers hit straighter off the tee. Add huge distance and you better watch out!
H: Golf has given our relationship more depth than I could have ever imagined. We play often, and it is our time to just enjoy golf. I have learned more from Rafael than I can describe. Watching him win 5th place in his first Nationals tournament at TPC Sawgrass in 2012 was inspiring. It gave me a competitive spirit again. He is such a great golfer and amazing competitor, as well. Never gives up. And with a game like golf where frustration is abound, as a new golfer, that was a key trait I needed to learn to improve.
Tell me about your experience(s) on the Am Tour?
R: The Am Tour has been a great experience for us. Meeting new golf buddies with the same ability level is a hard thing to do outside of something like the Am Tour.
For me, winning the 2013 Am Tour Nationals in a playoff and Heather taking 2nd in her flight was a moment we will cherish for all time. Having family and friends their to support us and share the excitement was a dream scenario.
Having each other’s support on the Am Tour has meant everything to us. We couldn’t have played, practiced or competed as much as we have if we didn’t have this common bond. I couldn’t be happier.
H: I will always remember Rafael’s first Nationals at Sawgrass. It was our first “big trip” together and being able to support his amazing run there was great! I remember watching him tee off on No. 1 at Sawgrass the final day with butterflies in my stomach.
Little did I know the following year would top the first. With Rafael winning his flight, and me taking second in mine, and having our family there to celebrate and support…the emotional high still makes smile. His support of me during that tournament and the entire year was amazing.
How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?
R: Oh, that reminds me. Probably, dinner somewhere nice then a practice round and an Am Tour tournament over the weekend. Thanks to the GC Am Tour for bringing us closer together. It has been perfect for us!
H: As a matter of fact, we will be going away for the weekend to play in an Am Tour event!
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