Rachel Heck announces she will not turn professional
25 Mar 2024
by Sean Melia of

see also: , Rachel Heck Profile

Rachel Heck will not turn pro (Stanford Athletics)
Rachel Heck will not turn pro (Stanford Athletics)

In an article on No Laying Up, Rachel Heck, the Stanford senior, announced that she has decided to remain an amateur instead of turning professional. 

The Memphis, Tennessee native burst onto the scene in 2021 -her first year at The Farm - and won the NCAA individual title while helping the Cardinal conquer the college golf world with an NCAA team title as well. She was the first Stanford women's golfer to win the NCAA individual title.

Dig a bit deeper into her past, and Heck’s rookie year at Stanford wouldn’t come as a surprise. She was a star in high school and was the youngest qualifier for the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at age 15.

“Reflecting on that week never fails to bring tears to my eyes. With my dad by my side, I walked around awestruck for seven days,” Heck wrote. “My practice routine that week was dictated by what my idols were doing— If Michelle Wie was putting, I was putting, and you could find my mom sneaking pictures from behind the ropes.”

Heck made the cut and played with Lexi Thompson on Sunday. It seemed a harbinger of things to come for the high schooler.

However, Heck has always had interests outside of golf. Some of that came about while she battled injuries in her junior year of high school. In 2019, the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur sent her an invite, and she could have played in the ANA Inspiration. The LPGA and Augusta National beckoned in the same week. An injury held her out of playing any golf, though.

“That was, however, until I suffered a back injury that forced me to put the clubs down for a couple of months,” Heck wrote. “What should have been nothing but a small roadblock on my journey as an athlete turned into an existential crisis. Without golf, I was lost. I was faced with the question, ‘Who am I?’ Without golf, I had no idea.

In an interview on the Amateur Golf podcast, Heck detailed her decision to join the Junior ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps). She continued with ROTC while at Stanford, waking up early to travel to San Jose State’s campus for training and classes. This was while balancing her Stanford course load and playing some of the best golf in the world. In addition, Heck also found comfort in painting and started an Instagram account to show off her work. 


It always seemed like Heck intended to do more than play golf. That’s not meant to be a negative; she always presented as well-rounded and interested in things beyond golf.

That excellent first year at Stanford, capped off by the ANNIKA Award, was probably the highlight of her college career on the course because injury and illness impacted her the next two years. There were glimmers of a return to form, including an exceptional run to the semi-finals of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Amateur, where she lost to Latanna Stone. 

Heck is currently ranked No. 108 in the Golfweek/ Women's Rankings.

“What I didn’t know was that the next few years would be riddled with sickness and injuries and invisible trials that I’m grateful I could not have foreseen. What I didn’t know is that the next time I would potentially play a full postseason would be my senior year,” Heck wrote. “I have grappled with anger, hope, depression, joy, and everything in between, but amid each trial in which I so desperately sought the clarity of a deeper meaning, God always showed me the next step. Right now, the next step is not professional golf.”

Even with the injuries and pain that hampered her time at Stanford, Heck is still a leader on a team that is primed for a run at a national title. One more opportunity to paint another highlight on her golfing canvas. But when the golf is done at Stanford, she won’t turn pro, and she feels good about that. She wrote that she didn’t want to be in the limelight, and she also wasn’t sure if her body could hold up week after week on the professional circuit. 

Her dad’s wish when Heck began playing golf was that it would open doors and provide her with opportunities. 

“In the spring he (her dad) and my mom will pin on my Lieutenant bars. They will watch me walk across the stage and receive my Stanford degree. I will begin an internship in private equity. Golf did, indeed, take me far.”

Rachel Heck will tee it up next in the Augusta National Women's Amateur starting on Wednesday, April 3.

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