Gerina Piller: College Golf (Part 1)

The collegiate golf experience helped shaped Gerina Piller and her game. Watch and listen as she shares her journey (Part 1).


You didn't even play golf until, what? 2000. That's not very long ago.

It is not very long ago.

Well how did you get so good? I mean, when did everything click for you? Because we've had other players like Jason Dufner, who's a major champion. He didn't have a scholarship to go to Auburn. He just walked on. He bloomed late. You might not have bloomed late, you just weren't in it until late.

Yeah, I got good really fast, but it wasn't like a consistent good.

Up and down?

I still remember making the varsity team my freshman year, and going to state. I believe I shot 101-99, first year playing. And then my sophomore year, I shot 77-76, and took third in state. Junior year, got second. My senior year, I won.

That was progression.

Yes, my ability to shoot 68 was there, but my ability to shoot 90 was also there.

Also there.

And so being from New Mexico, there's not a whole lot of colleges that are flying in to New Mexico--

To check you out.

To check out the athletes. And so from then, my dad was like, hey there's a lot-- He read an article or something, that a lot of girls scholarships were unused because they couldn't find enough girls to play golf. And so--

Is it true that if you could shoot like 77, you can go to college for golf?

Oh, for sure, for sure.

Even today?

Yes. Things, so you know, Title IX. And so for that, back in the day-- I say back in the day, you know my dad gets his big camera out, put it on his shoulder with the light. And we go to the range, and I film some swings, and film some chipping, and some putting.

And I copy a bunch of VHS tapes and I write a letter. And I send it off to nearby colleges that maybe offer me a scholarship or something. There was no way my parents were going to be able to afford for me to go to college, unless I got a scholarship. And so just kind of sent those off, and heard back from a couple of colleges. Gave a verbal commitment to Northern Arizona. The coach like, this could be my biggest mistake of my life. I'm not going to accept it because you still got to go to UTEP, which I didn't even know UTEP existed. And ended up going for the visit there, called the coach at NAU, I think I cried because I felt so bad, because I'm like, I'm going to UTEP now, and got a scholarship--

You went to UTEP.


El Paso?

El Paso, Yep. It was far enough away from home, but it was so close where I could get home in a couple hours if I needed to go see the parents and get a little hug from my mom.