November 13, 2017. Senior Meryl Castle, signs with Milligan College. Meryl has been with The First Tee of Middle Tennessee since 2014. In that time, she has progressed through all levels and is currently in the Ace Level. In the same manner that she has progressed through the life skills curriculum, Meryl’s golf game has progressed. Her final season had Meryl playing the number one spot for Wilson Central High School. This year was her best season on the Sneds Tour, with a win (Sneds Tour Open at Mongomery Bell shooting 77-74), three second place finishes, and only one finish out of the top ten. Her outstanding year was marred by a severe bout of mono, which prevented her from playing high school post season. With a 4.4 hdcp, a strong tournament resume and a strong academic resume, Meryl was being recruited by several colleges.
Meryl says she not only learned to love golf Through The First Tee, but also the importance of volunteering and giving back. She began several years ago as a volunteer coach with the chapter. Much of what she did revolved around golf, but volunteering and giving back had also become a big part of who she had become. She began to volunteer more outside of golf. The more she volunteered, the more she realized there is such a great need in our communities. Today, she still volunteers on a regular basis on and off the golf course and she plays golf absolutely every single opportunity she gets! Recently, her golf and volunteering came together in the form of an unexpected award. Country music star Vince Gill is a huge supporter of junior golf. He has a reputation as a tremendous supportor of charities and community involvement. Each year, a Sneds Tour golfer that embodies a giving spirit and commitment to community is awarded the annual “Vince Gill Volunteer of the Year Award.” Meryl was the 2017 recipient of this award.
“I am beyond excited, feeling blessed and grateful. I know I did not get here on my own and I thank God for putting the many people in my life that have helped me, supported me, and provided me with opportunities…especially The First Tee program, along with the Tennessee Golf Foundation, the Sneds Tour and the Paul Warren Foundation as well as my coaches, my family and the many amazing and supportive friends I have met through golf. Without The First Tee there is no way I would be doing this today and for that I am forever grateful.” This past season Milligan College golf finished 14th nationwide in their division. They are ranked number 9 nationally in average team score and ranked in the top 15 in five other statistical categories. The Milligan Buffalos recently won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Fall Championship by 10 strokes as well as winning the Birmingham Southern Shootout by 9 strokes. Meryl chose Milligan College not only because of the very strong and competitive golf program, but also the impressive Nursing program and their commitment to balancing both athletics and academics. Meryl plans to pursue a degree in nursing possibly followed by a Masters of Science in Physician Assistant Studies. She says she is feeling so blessed to have this amazing opportunity in front of her!
We know that she will achieve her goal. She is one of the hardest workers, in all aspects of her life. We know that determinations, setting goals and working hard will lead to her success both on and off the golf course.