Pro golfer, Armana Chanel Christianson, is no stranger to dedication. But with pro tours on hold during the pandemic, this is the first time Armana hasn’t competed since middle school. We caught up with Armana from her home in Arizona to talk golf, the outdoors, and how quarantine is helping her rediscover her passions.
“This time is also about rediscovering things you love and finding out why you love them.”
When did you start playing golf?
I picked it up when I was 12 or 13. Growing up in Nebraska, my family wanted something we could do together. We started playing every Sunday, and it became time together. We always walked the course. We didn’t ride in a cart. So, it was a time we got to enjoy being outside.
It was one of those things that just kind of worked. It [golf] clicked with me, and my family could tell that I was kind of good at it from the get-go without any sort of training. Then in high school, I started playing competitively and have ever since until I officially went pro in 2016.
Did you have to adjust the way you play when you moved to Arizona?
Everything feels completely different on the course. There’s no wind in Arizona like there is in Nebraska, and then the humidity makes the ball slide differently. I was used to playing amongst tons of trees. But out in the desert courses you just have cacti. It took some time, but I am well adjusted now.
What’s your favorite thing about golf?
You know . . . golf is one of those interesting sports that requires your full attention for the whole time you are playing it, which is at least four hours. I prefer not to ride in a cart because I like to spend my time walking around on the course. It’s just a different feel. You feel more in touch with everything that’s going on around you. I pay attention a lot more to the little things, like, you know, there’s a little critter running across the green or the group of birds flying overhead. You hear things on the golf course that you just don’t pay attention to in your normal life because it’s so quiet.
I’m outside every day. The thing that draws me outside constantly is that peace which can be hard to find, especially when I used to live in L.A. (laughs) Golfing is very meditative, and, yeah, the course is my happy place.
With pro tours being put on hold, are you still able to play?
You can throw a rock anywhere in Arizona and hit a golf course. Usually, courses are less busy in summer because it’s so hot. But with everything on lockdown, it’s been hard to get a tee time. I have to go early in the mornings to play, which, going back to how the course is my happy place, has been really great. In order to be successful in pro golf, it really just comes down to your score. It’s a constant fight for you to keep your spot.
It seems there is a contrast between the peacefulness you find on the course amongst all the stress of trying to uphold your rank.
(Laughs) This year has completely turned that upside down. Whatever status you had when the pro tours were put on hold is what you’ll keep going into 2021 when they resume. Usually, I could be playing really well and start moving up in the ranks, but I can’t do that right now. So it’s very frustrating.
I was actually talking to my husband about this because this is the first time where I’ve not been forced to not have to compete since middle school. When you play competitively for that long, it one-hundred percent feels like a grind. It’s really hard. You get frustrated, and what you love becomes work, just like anyone else’s job. It’s like I’m going to the golf course because I need to work. I kind of lost that love of just being out on the course, but for the last few months, I feel like I’ve found that again. I get to go to the golf course when I get to and just enjoy wherever I am at.
That sounds like it will help you going forward when tournaments resume.
Absolutely. I don’t spend all day on the range like I used to. I go and play when I want to play, and I practice when I want to practice. I go without any expectations, and I have actually played some of my best golf.
I’ve seen a lot of people post on social media about how you need to take this time to be hard-working towards your goals and really be productive during the lockdown. That’s great if you are motivated enough to do it. But if you also want to just find enjoyment in things you love to do because you love to do then that’s great too. I forgot how much I loved to read when I was a kid. I’ve started picking up more books now that I have the time, and I have just enjoyed reading them because I can and not because I have to. It’s the same with golf or any other hobby you have. This time is also about rediscovering things you love and finding out why you love them.
We hope Armana’s words inspire you to take some time outside and rediscover things that you love.
Follow Armana on and off the green on Instagram @armanachanel