KILLEN — Tori Smith made two bits of history Wednesday afternoon in the Brooks High library. The senior golf standout not only became the first female golfer in Brooks history to sign a letter of intent to play collegiately when she inked with West Alabama, she also became the first golf signee in the history of the university as it starts men’s and women’s programs.
“It’s a great honor to me to not only be the first female Brooks golfer to sign with a university, but to also be the first golf signee at West Alabama,” Smith said. “We’re starting a legacy at West Alabama with being the first golf team, and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”
Smith isn’t daunted by the fact that West Alabama is starting its team from scratch, and said she knew when she visited the school that was where she wanted to be.
“The atmosphere of the school really felt right to me,” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter how much new equipment and facilities the school has. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not right. But West Alabama felt like the perfect
fit for me.”
Smith took up golf about six years ago, and Brooks golf coach Stephen Phillips said the improvement she
has made in her game in that time is amazing.
“This is my 17th year to coach the golf team, and she is only my second girl golfer,” Phillips said. “I’ve had a lot of good golfers over the years whom have shown improvement, but she is one of the most improved golfers from where she started that I’ve ever coached.”
But Phillips said that improvement didn’t just come naturally. Smith has put in a lot of hard work to make her game college worthy.
“She has been willing to put in the hours,” Phillips said. “She made a commitment to work on her game, with help from coach Chris Burns, who has guided her on a lot of things. People have told me that when the Florence Country Club was still open, it would be freezing cold outside and there would be one person on the course playing, and that was Tori.”
Much like her love of West Alabama, Smith said her love of golf is something that can’t be explained.
“I don’t know really what it was about golf,” Smith said.
“There’s just something about it that drove me to keep playing. It just felt right.”