Metro women’s golfer junior Jasmine Roland. Environmental portrait by Courtland Wilson • email@example.com
by Angelita Foster
Raised in small-town Cottonwood, Ariz., Jazmine Roland didn’t have the advantage of well manicured greens or a golf professional, or even a girl’s team to play on – what she did have was the drive to succeed at a sport she loved, no matter the adversity she had to face.
Roland is a self-taught golfer, having learned to play alongside her dad and brother. By the time she got to high school, Roland found a love for the sport , and with no girl’s team, found a spot on the boy’s team, where she didn’t really feel welcome.
Roland said at the time, she didn’t think about playing by different rules because she was a girl — she never played from different tees than her dad and brother. Thinking back on it now, Roland says that made a difference in who she is as a person and as a golfer.
“It was super difficult for me to want to continue because I didn’t really have the support that I wanted or needed while playing,” Roland said, referring to her teammates and the school. “I’m glad I did it, because I learned a lot about myself being able to continue playing through that.”
When Roland arrived at Mesa Community College, she was welcomed to the women’s team, something she hadn’t experienced before, but she then faced new challenges — competing against athletes that grew up in the sport, and being slightly behind academically.
“The girls I played on the team with had a lot more opportunities available to them, more than I did in the small town I was from,” Roland said.
She overcame the challenges by redshirting her second year to focus on school and analyze her game.
As a sophomore, Roland was named first team all-region and all-conference, but she wasn’t shooting to impress when she met Metro head coach Ben Portie.
“I think I shot in the 100’s that tournament,” Roland said.
But, the wheels had already been put in motion, and Portie knew about Roland and recruited her for Metro’s new women’s golf team.
“She has played as I expected. She shot a low of 78 this fall for us, which was her lowest in a golf tournament,” Portie said. “I always knew she was going to count for our team.”