It’s rather unusual that the daughter of a KPGA teaching professional who specialized in instruction for juniors didn’t begin playing golf until the age of 13. But once Somin Lee Beversdorf got serious about the game, she made up all that ground on her peers in no time.
“I began playing golf when my family and I moved from South Korea to Denver,” says Somin, a 2015 graduate of Pepperdine University. “I didn’t really think it was a fun sport until I started going out to the course with my family in Denver.”
That quickly changed as soon as she picked up a club. After only one year of playing, Somin broke 80. And by her freshman year in high school, she was winning many local and state tournaments.
“No matter what activity I’m involved with, I always wanted to be the best I can be.”
Her rapid development continued her sophomore year, which is also when she found out she could earn a college scholarship playing golf. That became a major goal for Somin as she began playing in big AJGA and USGA tournaments her junior year. After winning an AJGA event and coming in second at the Optimist International Junior in Florida, she knew that scholarship could easily become a reality if she continued to work hard.
She was looking at universities in Colorado and California, as well as places like Columbia University in New York. It was her high school coach, Bert Dalton, who introduced her to Pepperdine. Somin fell in love with the school when she visited; after all, what’s not to like about an excellent academic school located in Malibu that had helped players like Katherine Kirk and Danielle Kang reach the LPGA Tour?
“Going to Pepperdine was one of the best decisions I ever made; it was a dream come true.”
Upon arriving on campus, it took Somin some time to get truly comfortable with her academic surroundings. But on the course, she made a seamless transition, playing in every tournament for the Waves not just her freshman year, but over her entire collegiate career en route to becoming a three-time member of the All-WCC team.
Beyond her on-course accomplishments, Somin has wonderful memories of her off-course experience, too.
“Some of my favorites include the beautiful campus and beach views while walking to class, getting to meet new people, being around other girls who loved golf and who could lift each other up, and the wonderful coaches who made us all better golfers and students. College really helped me mature as a person.”
Another highlight of her college years was meeting Annika at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate presented by 3M.
“It was a ‘whoa’ moment; I was in awe listening to her clinic. I loved meeting her and getting to take pictures with a golf legend. I was so moved by the whole experience that I handmade her a thank you card after the tournament was over. It was an amazing experience.”
Going into college, Somin’s goal was to make the LPGA Tour. Her original plan was to take a year off before trying Q School, but she changed her mind. Somin played well enough at Q School to get some Symetra Tour status.
She began her professional career by playing in some smaller tournaments. But as she looked at her bank and credit card statements, she quickly became very stressed out.
“The out-of-pocket expenses added up very fast and it just wasn’t as easy to compete in tournaments as I thought it would be.”
With that, Somin moved back to Colorado and started working at a Denver-area club, more for access to a place where she could practice for free than anything else. But she quickly realized that what she loved most about the game was being around other people who loved it. She became an Assistant Golf Professional at Blackstone Country Club and then moved on to become a Junior Golf Director and Assistant Buyer at nearby Valley Country Club. Like her dad, she especially loved teaching juniors.
As Somin learned more about the golf business, she decided she liked it so much that she wanted to enter the PGM Associate Program. As of 2019, she is a Class A PGA Golf professional.
Today, she has moved on to Tonto Verde Golf Club in Rio Verde, Arizona. She started as the Player Development Director at the club, “sharing her love of golf with everybody,” and then moved up to become the Membership Director.
The skills she learned as an advertising and multimedia design major at Pepperdine have come in handy, too, as she’s used them to improve the club’s marketing collateral. She also gets to play as much as she wants, competes in PGA Sectional events and loves playing games with the members. But more than anything, she enjoys playing matches with her husband “to see who has to do that night’s dinner dishes.”
Fun-loving by nature, Somin recently competed on the ABC television show “Holey Moley.” The episode aired in June.
“I got a request on Instagram from the casting team saying they thought I’d be perfect. I knew it was an opportunity that might never come along again, so I took it and had a great time, although I didn’t advance as far as I’d have hoped.”
Predictably, “fun” is at the core of the message Somin would deliver to her younger self: “Have fun while golfing; the results don’t determine who you are.”
With her infectious enthusiasm for golf, the members at Tonto Verde are very lucky to have Somin as such a wonderful ambassador for the game.