Often times, sports can become family traditions. That is true for the Marcelissen family.
Rhyan Marcelissen, 10, grew up watching her grandfather, dad and brother playing golf.
Rhyan didn’t wait long to take a swing at the sport for herself, as she first swung a golf club at only five years old.
“I go out with my dad and my brother a lot,” Rhyan says. “We just go and hit balls on the range. Then we’ll go play nine holes. Then I’ll just sit if they want to play 18 because I can’t play 18 yet. It’s too much for me.”
“We do,” Rhyan’s father Kevin Marcelissen says. “We play, so she kind of just ended up playing because I do and her brother does.”
Rhyan started playing golf competitively at seven years old. Now, she is one of two girls among 25 athletes playing for the PGA Junior League at the Le Triomphe golf course in Broussard.
The girls and boys compete together on teams in the league, which spans across all 50 states.
Golfers like Rhyan get the opportunity to build friendships while playing the sport they love.
“You get to have fun with friends and you get to meet new people,” Rhyan says. “Especially in Junior League, I’ve met a lot of new kids, and it’s just really fun to meet new people.”
Even while having fun, Rhyan doesn’t lose her competitive spirit.
“It’s really fun sometimes to be competitive with your friends so that you can see who’s the best or something like that,” Rhyan says.
Because the PGA Junior League competes in teams, Rhyan’s father Kevin appreciates the camaraderie it provides in a typically solo sport.
“Golf is such an individual sport for almost your entire life,” Kevin says. “It’s fun to play in some kind of organized format where they can play as teams and have fun and work together.”
“PGA Junior League really brings in the team environment,” captain of Rhyan’s PGA Junior League team Loren Forney says. “Hey we do air-fives. I was like ‘hey guys after you’re done playing your nine holes, go ahead and get your putters, turn them into lightsabers and hit lightsabers together.’ We maintain it to be really fun. We get some jumping pictures. It’s fun and camaraderie.”
As for what’s next for Rhyan, she would love to play golf in high school or college. She is a two-sport athlete though, so she has some options.
“I would like to do it, but I also do dance,” Rhyan says. “It would have to work around my schedule for dance.”