Smokey to compete collegiately in Washington |

Smokey to compete collegiately in Washington

Carter Eckl
Douglas High's Aspen Smokey is seen signing her National Letter of Intent to play college golf at Walla Walla University Saturday morning at the Genoa Lakes Golf Club. Smokey qualified for the Class 4A girls state golf tournament her senior year after taking fourth in the Northern Regional tournament.
Courtesy Tippy Smokey

Despite not picking up the game of golf until the summer before her freshman year, Douglas High’s Aspen Smokey is now headed to Walla Walla University in College Place, Wash., to continue playing at the collegiate level.

Smokey said the toughest part about her transition from the softball field to the golf course was figuring out her swing after years of taking hacks at the plate.

“It was hard to get my golf swing down after playing softball since I was little,” said Smokey. “I played with my dad and my cousins whenever I could to improve my game.”

Her main two focus points as she got deeper into the game were her driving off the tee and working on her short game around the cup.

The work on her golf swing paid off as Smokey will now head to the NAIA level to compete alongside her fellow members of the Wolves’ women’s golf team, which contends in the Cascade Collegiate Conference.

In order to continue improving, Smokey had to stay determined on the greens and by her junior and senior year, she started to notice all the time practicing was paying off.

“I started playing better than the girls who used to beat me. After that, I was being matched up with the best girls in the league and I was able to keep up with them,” said Smokey. “I started realizing that I wasn’t too bad of a player and thought maybe I could play in college.”

Smokey thought right as the newest member of the Wolves’ golf team also punched her ticket to the 2019 Class 4A girls state golf tournament her senior season after taking fourth in the Northern Region tournament.

Smokey — who lives in Dresslerville and is a member of the Washoe tribe in Nevada and California — said the decision to head to Washington for school came after a lot of interest from east coast programs, but the outgoing Tiger senior wanted to stay relatively close to home.

“Washington isn’t as far and Walla Walla is a great school,” Smokey said, “Plus, I get to play golf.

“It means a lot to me and proves that the more time you put into something the more you’ll get out of it,” said Smokey.

Smokey becomes the first in her family to play golf at the collegiate level and said she plans on majoring in biology when she gets to Walla Walla.