Golfer Hannah Wang talks golf journey, abroad COVID-19 experience


Hiatt Ellis

Sophomore Hannah Wang travels between holes during her practice at Hounds Ear Club. Wang helped her team to the highest semester team GPA in program history in spring 2020.

Alex McCaskey, Reporter

During the budding of COVID-19 last year, students had to leave campus. While some traveled home within the state and country or stayed in off-campus apartments in Boone, one App State golfer traveled back home across the world.          

Hannah Wang began playing golf at 10 years old after her father met a business associate at a golf practice range. After showing interest at the range, Wang’s father found a coach to help her learn the game. Wang decided to attend college in America after receiving advice from an LPGA player from China. To prepare for college in the U.S., she took English courses and the SAT. 

A former golfer on the App State women’s golf team recommended the school to Wang and helped her get in contact with the coach.

Hannah Wang takes a moment to concentrate before attempting a putt. (Hiatt Ellis)

“I just feel really lucky to be here. I really love this small town,” Wang said.

When the university moved to online classes in response to the pandemic, Wang flew back home to Guangzhou, a city in the Guangdong Province in China. While she was home, Wang did not play in as many tournaments she would have in Boone. She said tournaments in China are individual tournaments, whereas the NCAA tournaments are team-based. 

However, she played some courses and earned money teaching people how to play golf. In order to practice, Wang had to take a 90-minute bus ride to and from the practice range.

“I just wanted to keep my life busy,” Wang said.

Like some students, Wang did not enjoy doing schoolwork and classes virtually as much as in-person classes. Being at home for a year affected her academics, as she is still classified as a sophomore due to not earning enough credits while in China. 

“My coach knew my situation, so sometimes, if I did not understand what a professor was talking about, I would take some notes, and after, I would do some research by myself. If I still cannot find the answer, I would ask my coach or my old teammates,” Wang said.

However, being home did not affect Wang’s ability to stay in contact with coaches, teammates and friends in Boone. She was still able to FaceTime with her coach and talk daily about classes and how the team was doing. Despite being in contact with coaches and teammates, returning to Boone came with some differences, including new teammates replacing those who had finished their collegiate careers. Regardless, Wang believes playing in the tournaments this season has helped the team become more familiar with each other and continue to build a strong bond.

“We need some time to get more like a family,” Wang said.

Now back with her teammates, Wang looks forward to continuing her career at App State, in addition to helping her team improve.