GOLF: Faith and fairways: Miranda Rich follows her heart to UTC

Among those on hand to watch Ringgold golfer Miranda Rich sign to continue her playing career with Chattanooga was Kim and Wayne Rich, Russ Allstun and Ringgold golf coach Cheryl Thomasson. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

One of the most highly-decorated female golfers ever at Ringgold High School will get to continue her playing career close to home.

Miranda Rich, a two-time Class AAA All-State first team pick by the Georgia Golf Coaches Association, chose to sign with the Mocs in front of family and friends during a ceremony at the high school.

The senior said she was “excited” to get to sign with Chattanooga.

“I’ve always loved the sport and I'm going to work hard at it,” said Rich, who only took up the game in sixth grade. “It's something I want to progress in and if I try hard enough, maybe I could actually go pro one day.

“I just love being out on the course and working hard at (the game). One of the things I love about golf is that if you have a bad hole, you can just make it up on the next one and move on.”

Rich qualified for the state tournament as an individual player in her sophomore year. She just missed qualifying for state last spring as she finished third in a very tough region that saw eight golfers place in the Top 20 at state, along with three in the top five.

She added that she felt led to sign with and attend UTC.

“It's a really good school and I loved it when I went to visit,” she continued. “I love the coach and I loved everything about it. I really feel that's where God wants me to go and I feel like that's where I needed to be.”

“She believes in God and she puts a lot of her faith in God and I think that’s extremely important,” Ringgold golf coach Cheryl Thomasson said. “Miranda works hard and she's not the kind of person that boasts. I've had her in class twice now and UTC is getting a well-rounded person and a good athlete. I think they'll be happy with her.”

Thomasson said Rich has an excellent grasp of the nuances of the sport,

“She’s really, really good,” Thomasson explained. “I teach physics and I tell her all the time that this game is really all physics and I think she really understands that aspect of it. She gets the muscle memory and knows how to strike the ball.

“I see the things that she's worked on and see how she improved last year. She was really good off the tee and did a little bit better on the putting. This summer, she said she worked on her approach shots because that's where the money is. I'm anxious to see her play this (next) season.”

Rich said she wanted to be a part of a Mocs’ program that is starting to take major strides to becoming one of the nation’s elite.

“I was really impressed by (what they’ve been doing) and I like the girls that are already there,” she added. “That's what helped me make the decision.”

Rich plans to major in Sports Management.