Golfer Lorii Myers once said that true sportsmanship means taking the high road and walking off the course with pride whether you win or lose. Omaha’s Armana Chanel is definitely walking the high road to golfing success on the national mini-tour circuit (the minor leagues of professional golf).
Born and raised in Omaha as Armana Chanel Christianson, Chanel has always been an athlete.
“I played pretty much every sport you can think of before the age of 12: racquetball, basketball, soccer, swimming, volleyball, tennis, track, taekwondo, softball,” Chanel says. “Golf was the last sport I tried before going to high school, and it just kind of clicked.”
The Millard North graduate got her major start in golf playing Division I at Creighton University, later playing Division II golf at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
“For me, golf is one of the most frustrating but rewarding things I have ever done,” Chanel says. “I am competitive, so I really enjoy and look forward to tournaments.”
Chanel says, as do most golfers, that the game is a way of life.
“You can practice every day for hours and still have things to work on the next week or next month,” says Chanel, a self-described perfectionist who loves a fun challenge. “It’s a constant learning process; it never ends. A lot of what I get from golf is internal.”
Chanel says she has been fortunate to not encounter many external setbacks, but being a female athlete in any sport comes with its own unique frustrations.
“There are little things that have made it difficult to be a woman playing a sport seriously. In high school it was subtle things like my name not being announced after I won state. Now it’s things like, if I want sponsorships or exemptions, it’s important to have a really strong social media following,” Chanel says of her growing and supportive fan base. “I have a pretty good following on social media, and I’m pretty open about my journey and how I play. I get a lot of messages of support; it’s pretty nice to see.”
“For me, it feels like it’s not a matter of IF I make it, but WHEN I make it. I have partial status on the Symetra Tour [previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour], which is a stage below the LPGA.”
Many athletes are goal-oriented by nature, and Chanel hopes to see herself progress athletically and professionally.
“Right now, my goal is [entering the] LPGA. I’m working hard on my game, my equipment, my fitness, and my mental game to make sure I make it there. For me, it feels like it’s not a matter of if I make it, but when I make it. I have partial status on the Symetra Tour [previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour], which is a stage below the LPGA. I’m hoping to be able to play in a few of those events towards the end of the season.”
Chanel also sought to improve her status at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament (also known as Q-School) in August. Stage I of the tournament began at Mission Hills Country Club on August 21-27 at Rancho Mirage, California. Stages II and III follow in Florida during October through December.
Until she advances to the LPGA Tour, she remains fighting to break out of the minors.
“Playing on mini tours is a lot of hours, a lot of traveling, and for very little money,” Chanel says. “I played well enough last year that I was able to break even. But I love the game and the competition, and have such a strong desire to play at the highest level, so I’ll continue to do what I need to keep competing and getting better.”
Visit armanachristianson.com and follow Chanel on Twitter, @ArmanaChanel, for more information.
This article was printed in the September/October 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.