HARTFORD - When Allie Tully was just four years old her father, Dan, took her to a golf course as he wanted a new golf buddy. Allie went reluctantly and didn’t grasp the sport right away.
A little bit over a decade later, she has committed to play Division-I golf at the University of Hartford, signing her national letter of intent on Tuesday morning at Sport and Medical Sciences Academy.
“I fell in love with the sport and met so many people that I enjoy and it’s an environment that I like to be around,” Tully said. “This day means a lot to me because I worked really hard to get here and I’m looking forward to the future.”
SMSA doesn’t have a girls golf team so Tully was forced to play on the boys team but she immediately stood out, becoming a senior captain.
The Plainville native missed qualifying for states in her first high school season by a tenth of a stroke. In the subsequent years she went on to qualify for states and finished in the top 25 - out of over 100 golfers - as a junior. On top of the great finish, Tully also qualified for New Englands and was named to the All-State team.
Tully was shooting in the low 40’s, high 30’s when she arrived at SMSA but head coach Erik McKay says that her growth has been fun to watch from freshman year to now.
“She has definitely gained more confidence in herself and she is more composed,” McKay said. “When she has shots she is not happy with, she is able to bounce back quickly and that is probably where the biggest growth has been.
“She is a worker. She wants to go out there and she wants to play every single day. She is constantly playing in the fall and in the winter, she is constantly playing in tournaments, and that’s just who she is. Somebody that puts that much time and dedication into their sport deserves everything that comes their way.”
And Hartford wasn’t the only school that Tully was considering. Sacred Heart had interest, as well as schools in Florida. The senior captain, though, felt that Hartford was the right fit for a myriad of reasons.
“It’s close enough where I can go home if I want to but I won’t feel compelled to go home every weekend,” Tully said. “I love the coach there and I love all the girls on the team. The campus is really nice and it’s also a medium-sized school which is what I was looking for.”
McKay didn’t really have much influence in what school Tully ultimately chose to attend but her parents, Dan and Mary, certainly did. Dan was actually the one that was drawn to the school.
“I think Pete Stankevich, who is going to be her coach in the fall, is a great gentleman and we really like the way that he recruited her,” Dan said. “He believes that school is first and they have a very good business program so that’s what stood out.”
Tully will major in economics and finance when she gets to Hartford in the fall and she made it clear that will be her primary focus. Her parents are of the same mindset that she is going to need something beyond golf, but at the same time they are excited about the opportunity for her to play at the Division I level.
“She has been playing ever since she was four so to see her now have the chance to go on to college is great,” Mary said. “She is great academically as well. I think she is fourth or fifth in her class.”
Considering the fact that Dan taking her to a golf course at such a young age has led to this, it is an extremely proud moment for him to see her commit to playing golf at the next level now.
“It is just wonderful,” Dan said. “She has been able to travel to Florida, the Carolinas and all over the place with golf and she just really enjoys it so I’m very happy for her.”
As for how far Tully plans to take golf, she has no plans of going pro in the future but believes that it is something that will always be in her life. Tully wants to work in business in a major city like New York and thinks her ability as a golfer could actually help down the road in her career.
“I would like to just take this to the collegiate level,” Tully said. “I don’t think I will play professionally. However, I do plan on playing golf for the rest of my life since a lot of business deals are made on the golf course.”
Michael Woolfson can be reached at 860-801-5203 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @Bigwoolf5