Ashley Gettleman was awarded the Santa Cruz Jr. Golf 2021 Player of the Year on Aug. 28 by the Santa Cruz Junior Golf Association at DeLaveaga Golf Course.
The award came as a surprise to the eighth-grader from Baymonte Christian School in Scotts Valley, who thought she’d won the accolade within her bracket and had no clue there was one for the entire division.
“I was super surprised and shocked because I initially thought I wasn’t going to win. I didn’t even know there was this [award],” she said.
Ashley was also the youngest player to be awarded the Pasatiempo Golf Sponsorship and she said this is the best achievement she’s accomplished, so far.
“I think this one’s ranked No. 1,” she said.
Ashley beat out more than 60 girls within the Santa Cruz Junior Golf divisions to earn the award. The award was based on improvement of performance, commitment to the game and sportsmanship.
Santa Cruz Junior Golf representative and professional instructor at DeLaveaga Parker Hammond presented the award.
Ashley has been an avid golfer since she was 10 years old. She started by going to golf camp and was drawn to sport because of the self-discipline involved.
Plus, she also likes that she’s able to train on her time.
“I like that I can just go out and play anytime I want because it’s by yourself and it’s something that you can do for your whole life,” she said.
Ashley trains on a weekly basis with Pasatiempo Golf Club head professional Ken Woods. She said having him around has helped her improve her game.
She also had additional help this past spring from Justin Russo of the Bayonet & Black Horse team affiliated with the Monterey PGA Jr. League.
“[Russo’s] been very influential on Ashley and both have taken a lot of extra time to help develop her,” Ashley’s father, Garrett, said.
The Bayonet & Black Horse team based in Seaside won the league championship against clubs from Corral de Tierra, Pasadera and Carmel Valley Ranch.
“It was really fun,” Ashley said. “We got to play all the different leagues in Monterey. A lot of nice courses and a lot of really good players.”
Aside from golf, Ashley is also a tenured tennis player and she has won tournaments for La Madrona Athletic Club.
But one of her next goals is to continue to play in more golf leagues and compete in higher divisions. Then she wants to play at the collegiate level, hopefully nearby in Santa Cruz, and one day do it as a profession.
Ashley said it’s going to take lots of practice, commitment and getting into the mindset of playing in more tournaments.
“I just want to keep playing golf, keep having fun with it and have more opportunities, and hopefully play on the amateur tour one day,” she said.