Rei Nakatani is a recent 2016 BGGA Alumni. Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Rei came to the United States to improve her game and pursue her dream of playing collegiate golf. She not only is an exceptional student and human being, but she is also passionated, focused and committed to pursue golf as her career in life. Today, Rei is a college freshman at UC Davis’ golf team and she is enjoying every second of it. Although being an athlete and college student represents handling both Academic and Golf responsibilities, for Rei the experience represents and opportunity to grow and learn about herself. Meet Rei Nakatani and see where college life has taken her:
Q: How do you like college so far?
Rei: It has been an awesome few weeks. I have met lot of people. They each bring variety of perspectives and it’s fun to interact and get to know them.
Q: How did BGGA prepare you for college?
Rei: BGGA has prepared me to be a student athlete- a person who is able to handle both academic and passion. You only have so much time but there are many things you need to accomplish. BGGA has provided me with this experience so I was able to start my college life smoothly.
Q: What are your goals?
Rei: My goal for next 4 years is to be in All American/All Scholar Team and receiving a degree in psychology.
Q: One of the tough things about the new experience as a college student?
Rei: UC Davis is a fairly big school. For me, being in a lecture with over 100 other students and professor not really knowing who is who was new. I needed to make an effort so they knew who I was.
Q: What do you love about being a college athlete?
Rei: Although golf was more of an individual sports in junior level, there are team component to collegiate golf and I think that’s the most exciting part. We encourage and push each other on and off the course. There is always so much laughter when I am with my teammates.
Q: What makes you feel passionate about golf?
Rei: I love golf because it teaches you so much about yourself. What do you do when things are not going in your way? How do you react to an unexpected situation? And so on. As I work on my game I am also working towards becoming a strong minded individual.
Q: What would you like people to know about the experience at BGGA and how it helped you achieve your goal?
Rei: Since I moved to the U.S in 2012, one of my biggest goals was to play college golf at one of the top ranked universities. That dream did become true! BGGA helped me to be on the right track to achieving my goal; not just on the level of golf but also physically (through fitness) and mentally (through mental training).
Q: How did you started playing?
Rei: I started playing golf when my family and I moved to Australia in 2009. Unlike in Japan, golf was a popular sport among young kids in Australia.
Q: Where do you want golf to take you?
Rei: Golf has already opened up many opportunities for me. Moving to the U.S, attending BGGA, and now competing at Division 1 level. Next big goal will be playing professionally.
Q: What has been one of the biggest challenges for you as a college athlete?
Rei: We travel all over during the season. We were on the road 3 weeks in a row playing in different states. The time change, especially coming back to California from the East Coast when we have early class the next morning was not very fun.
Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
Rei: My next big goal is to play on LPGA. Just like my favorite players inspire me, I want to become a player who can encourage and inspire others.
Q: What makes you smile?
Rei: Talking to my friends and family, good food, seeing my athletic trainer who kills me with all the exercises from 7 in the morning and the list goes but playing golf cannot be left out!
Q: What are you thankful for?
Rei: I am tankful for all the sacrifices my family has made to give me the opportunity to continue chasing my dream. I am thankful for all the people I met along the way, and grateful to be playing for UC Davis. I would not be where I am today with all the support have received.