Destiny Lawson had the same dream as a kid that a lot of people do – she wanted to be a professional athlete. Now, as she enters her first full season on the Epson Tour, she is one of the lucky few who can say they reached the lofty goals they set for themselves when they were children. However, if you were to ask the Florida native when she was younger in what sport she’d be a pro athlete, she would have told you she was going to play in the WNBA, not be a professional golfer.
“I always wanted to play professional basketball when I was younger,” said Lawson. “I had a few injuries that derailed that, and I found a new passion in golf.”
Lawson took a unique path on her way to the Epson Tour, enrolling in Ferris State University’s Professional Golf Management program. The school in Big Rapids, Michigan allows its students to earn PGA of America membership while they also earn their degree from the university. Lawson saw this as a way to continue her playing career after she graduated.
“I wanted to play professional golf and after looking through what the PGA of America could offer in terms of playing opportunities, I saw that I could qualify for LPGA events and even LPGA Majors,” explained Lawson. “I have had the mentality that I wanted to play on the LPGA Tour before starting the program. Once I learned that I could go to school to learn about the golf business and play college golf, I was all in.”
Each player has a moment when they realize that they want to pursue the game at a professional level. The amount of hard work and dedication it takes to play a professional sport at the highest level requires complete commitment. Lawson had her moment at the LPGA Tour’s 2021 Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg after Monday qualifying and it was on the first tee that made the Ferris State alumna drop everything and chase the dream of playing on tour.
“I kind of had this feeling when I left home, I was going to get into the event,” said Lawson. “On the first tee for the first round, when they announced my name and I had my first official caddie bib, everything just seemed so surreal. When I finished my rounds, I just said to myself ‘This is where I want to be, and this is what I want to be doing’ and I felt like in that moment that is where I belonged.”
After playing the Pure Silk in Williamsburg, Lawson committed to the idea of playing professional golf full time and earned Epson Tour status through 2022 LPGA Tour Qualifying School. As she takes on this new adventure, she is not doing it alone. She carries the support of everyone from her home club of Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club with her and even is raising awareness for a non-profit called “McKenzie’s Moment”.
“McKenzie is the daughter of Ryan and Kate Gray. Ryan is the Director of Golf at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club. It was an unfortunate situation, but McKenzie passed away just after birth due to complications,” said Lawson. “This is the fifth year of McKenzie’s Moment and it was created to help raise money for women and families in need whenever their child is born with difficulties or complications.
“They are big supporters of me and my journey, so I wanted to give back to them. When I decided to play professional golf, I told them I would love to represent McKenzie’s Moment, raise awareness and tell the story.”