Retired college golfer excels as an aspiring journalist
Updated: Feb 8, 2019
Tracy Peyton, editor-in-chief of The Beacon Today, is a senior studying journalism. Throughout Peyton’s first three years of college, she played golf and became one of the top two members on the team. Due to a shoulder injury during her sophomore year, Peyton put her golf clubs down and picked up a pen to focus on her writing.
“I would say my injury happened at the perfect time, and I just kind of thought about it. This just has to be God telling me that I need to put a hold on golf and move on,” Peyton said.
Peyton planned to apply for the Ron Balicki Scholarship for aspiring golf journalists during her junior year; however, she missed the deadline due to a late letter of recommendation.
“I decided that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be, and I can apply the next year,” Peyton said.
Although Peyton’s faith had begun to waver, she submitted the application in her senior year.
Peyton is only the second recipient of the Ron Balicki Scholarship. Balicki was the first non-coach inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame. He died of cancer in 2014, and this scholarship was created to expand his three decades of journalism excellence. The Ron Balicki Scholarship is an annual award given to journalism and writing students interested in amateur golf.
“This is the best thing that’s ever happened to my journalism career,” Peyton said.
On Jan. 24 and 25, Peyton attended the Professional Golfers’ Association Merchandise Show in Orlando, where she covered two panel discussions that were moderated by PGA of America Senior Director of Employment Scott Kmiec. Peyton was introduced and recognized as the recipient of the Ron Balicki Scholarship, as well as for her upcoming report on the panel discussion.
While in attendance, Peyton was able to interview four college golf coaches. Her story on the coaches will be published by the Ron Balicki Scholarship Foundation.
“This scholarship is more about the notoriety I will receive and the people that I will meet through it,” Peyton said. “It's just a great avenue to expanding my career.”
CEO of Golf Coaches Association of America Gregg Grost has been in close contact with Peyton, presenting her with new opportunities through the GCAA. Peyton believes that if her stories are published by PGA of America and GCAA, that her name will stand out from all the rest, and that is more valuable to her than the scholarship money.
“The money is a bonus, that’s great, but all of the different experiences I will gain from this is going to be amazing,” Peyton said.
By Tete Teal