Women's Golf

A groundbreaking career and a hopeful future

IJump4Her Fund

Originally from Brisbane, Australia, Emily Mahar didn't exactly expect to continue her golf career at the collegiate level in Blacksburg, Virginia. Even while dabbling in a variety of different sports, the junior Aussie always seemed to find herself focusing on the game that continued to help her reach new heights that once seemed unimaginable.
"In Australia, it's required [for all students] to do inter-school sports," Mahar said. "We would compete against other schools and would do six weeks at a time of a different sport, so I played basketball, volleyball, swimming, [and] rugby. I essentially tried everything, but at the end of the day, I would always allow time to go to the golf course to practice and play."
Mahar was a natural when it came to swinging the club. She picked up the game quickly, often sharing the greens with her younger brother. 
Still just twelve years of age, Mahar's parents decided it was time for a new opportunity. The entire family uprooted to America, where she attended the prestigious Xavier College Prep in Phoenix, Arizona.
Although not the sole reason for the move, Mahar's father was aware of the popularity of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) in the United States.
"Most of the tour was played out here [and he'd] heard of college golf being a really good step towards making it to the pros," Mahar recounted. "It was just kind of an added benefit."
The international move proved to be a major success for Mahar's golf career. As a four-year letter winner at Xavier Prep, Mahar led the Girls Golf Team to four consecutive state titles and served as captain her senior year. As a four-year honor roll member, Mahar continued to display her well-roundedness as an individual off of the course as well. Mahar's racked up the titles accolades as two-time Junior Golf Association of Arizona Player of the Year (JGAA) and fourth-best golfer in the class of 2017. An impressive resume for the talented recruit, who verbally committed to Virginia Tech her junior year of high school.
Mahar's first season with the young Virginia Tech program, which was just two years old at the time, was nothing short of spectacular. She had a breakout freshman campaign, placing in the top-20 in three of her tournaments, as well as a stellar top-five finish at the Moon Golf Invitational in the spring of 2018.  
In addition to being on the elite stage of college athletics, being an international and female athlete, in particular, puts her under a microscope, critical of both performance and personal life.
"I think the biggest pressure that you have as a female athlete is definitely how you hold yourself accountable and how you present yourself to the world," Mahar said. "You can even see with professional athletes, a lot of [women] are judged on what they do outside of their sport, whereas a lot of male athletes can get away with a little bit more, and I think it's just people trying to slow down the progression of females being at an equal level to men."
Despite the challenges, however, Mahar remains unfazed, choosing to look at these challenges as more of a motivation than a hindrance.
Mahar has stamped herself into the history books in under four years of collegiate golf experience. She's already established herself as the program's career scoring average leader (73.21), October's Co-ACC Golfer of the Month (2021), sixth-place finisher at the Stanford Regional in 2021, 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur Quarterfinalist and Medalist, 2021 U.S. Women's Open Qualifier, and contributor to Tech's first-ever appearance at NCAA's. Mahar has built quite the legacy in Blacksburg; no doubt leaving her mark on the course and community. With the front half of the season in the rearview, and only the spring season remaining, Mahar has her sights set on a strong finish.
"Our goal is to make it to the NCAA Championship," Mahar mused. "I know our team had so much fun going out there last year and it would only cap off a really good college career if I could close out playing in the National Championship.
"I think it's super important to remember that you don't have any impact on what goes on around you. You only kind of have control of yourself, your own game, your own mind. It's up to you to make the most of your situation."

A 2022 National Championship victory at Grayhawk Golf Club, in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Mahar's influential career initially unfolded, would be a historic and inspiring full-circle moment, not only for the 21-year-old; but for Virginia Tech women's golf, and young girls with big dreams
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