For incoming freshmen, the transition into life as a college student poses unique challenges, but for student athlete Alice Hewson, that transition included moving to an entirely different continent.
Hewson is from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, but she chose to attend Clemson University to further her education while continuing to perfect her golf game.
Hewson gained a lot of attention for her ability in high school and was recruited by many schools in the United States. She ended up touring Baylor, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida State, University of Florida, and Clemson.
“I had another twenty or so that were interested, but I was lucky enough that we could pick on weather, so the ones where it was cold or had hurricanes or anything like that, we could take out,” Hewson said. “I wasn’t going to go somewhere cold.”
“There were quite a few people who were interested, but it was really good fun.”
Although Hewson heavily considered the weather factor in her decision, Clemson was the clear favorite because of the prestigious golf facilities and the educational opportunity.
“The facilities here are unreal. They are so good. We have anything that we want. The opportunity here is incredible,” Hewson said. “The opportunity over here is so different from what we can get back home. We don’t have the weather, the facilities. There isn’t really as much funding going into University programs. Over here, you have the opportunity to do both at the same time, get really good support, have access to all of the technology and anything that we could possibly ask for.”
Hewson said she had to do a lot of things when she first got to America but her coaches and teammates were exceptionally helpful in making her transition to Clemson University as smooth as possible.
“All of my team and the coaches have been incredible. They helped me get sorted,” Hewson said. “They were all really supportive of helping me get to places when I couldn’t drive a car. All of them have been incredible. I couldn’t have had more help settling in. It’s been so nice.”
While most college freshmen have the opportunity to see their families at least once a semester, Hewson doesn’t have that same luxury. However, Hewson’s family has still found a way to support her from across the pond.
“I Face Time them quite a lot. They sent me over a care package full of some food and some English chocolate, which was nice,” Hewson said. “They’re going to come over in the spring for our home tournament.”
In a short amount of time, Hewson has been able to make a name for herself as a prominent golfer at Clemson and in the ACC. In October, Hewson was named the ACC Women’s Golfer of the Month after being the first female golfer in Clemson’s history to win her first two collegiate tournaments in September.
In her favorite tournament to date, the Powerade Cougar Classic, Hewson had a score of 210 for 54 holes. That put her at six-under-par, and allowed her to become a co-medalist in her first college event. Shortly after that, Hewson won the Furman Invitational by two shots with a three-under par total of 213. She was also just one shot away from a tournament record.
Throughout the month of September, Hewson maintained a 70.5 stroke average while being nine under par overall after six rounds.
“It’s been incredible. It’s hard to describe. I’ve worked hard, I’ve played good golf, but for something like ACC Player of the Month to come already, that’s really nice. It’s good to say that the hard work is paying off,” Hewson said.
Along with her ACC honor, Hewson was also named as the Southern Golf Association’s National Amateur of the Month for the month of September.
“That’s unreal. That’s just incredible. I was like, ‘oh yeah it’s not that big of a deal,’ but it shows that, that’s me. Winning two tournaments is a big deal,” Hewson said.
Before she arrived at Clemson, Hewson experienced a lot of success in the UK. In August, the European Women’s Amateur rankings had her at 46; she finished fourth in the English Women’s Amateur over the summer with a score of 293, finished sixth at the Spanish Ladies Amateur Tournament and 16th at the Irish Women’s Open. Hewson was also the England Champion for the Under 13 division in 2010. However, although she has had tremendous success over the years, she did not expect to be honored so early on in her college career.
“I didn’t think it would come this early. I had high hopes, but winning that the first month, that’s pretty good,” Hewson said.
Hewson ended the fall season with a 71.75 stroke average over four tournaments. She ended up placing in the top 10 in three of those tournaments to help Clemson end up with a 48-17-2 record for head-head competitions throughout the fall.
Both Hewson and fellow freshman teammate Lauren Stephenson ended the season high on the list of the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings. The rankings placed Hewson among the top 20 in the world, and Stephenson trailed not far behind at 28. Each golfer had great success in the season by being a medalist or co-medalist in three of Clemson’s four tournaments.
Although Hewson has had an incredible amount of initial success in her college career, her favorite part about the game of golf is that she knows she can always strive to be better.
“It’s the fact that you can always work harder to get better. There’s never a point where you’re the best that you can possibly be. You can always be that bit better, and you can always work harder to get that bit better. There’s no ceiling,” Hewson said.
Despite being honored by numerous organizations and placing at tournaments, Hewson still says that some of her favorite memories she has made so far come from spending time with her teammates. Specifically, her favorite memory has been visiting New York City for the first time with her team on the way home from a tournament.
“That was just incredible. It was so much fun. We got to see everything. It was just a really good day,” Hewson said.
Hewson is thankful she has the opportunity to play golf at Clemson, and as a top 20 female amateur golfer, she has a lot to look forward to in her upcoming years.
“I want to turn pro, I want to go on tour and I want to play golf,” she said.