Redshirt freshman Patience Rhodes’ personality brings light and levity to the ASU women’s golf team. In a team of six women, her sense of humor brings a sense of relief amid tension and competitiveness out on the course.
"She has this good sense of humor and brings a levity to the team, which is a lot of fun," Women's Golf head coach Missy Farr-Kaye said. "You kind of notice when she's not around. When Patience is around, she's always saying something or making me or somebody else laugh. That's a great quality to have."
As a redshirt freshman, Rhodes was part of the No. 1 ranked 2021 recruiting class which included current ASU golfers junior Grace Summerhays, sophomore Beth Coulter, and sophomore Paula Schulz-Hanssen. However, due to wrist and back injuries sustained during her freshman year, Rhodes could not compete in any collegiate tournament and decided to redshirt.
A native of Bath, England, Rhodes returned home after the 2022-23 collegiate campaign to play in a full slate of European tournaments. This includes her participation in the 2023 St. Rule Trophy, stunning the crowd at St. Andrews with a -14 score, placing just two strokes ahead of her sister, Euphemie (-12).
Rhodes grew up learning the game of golf with Euphemie, or Mimi for short, who now plays on the women’s golf team at Wake Forest.
Golf is a prominent sport in Europe. Both sisters grew up competing in numerous tournaments and improving their craft. However, it didn’t take long for Rhodes to become a prominent figure in the European amateur scene.
Along with performing well in a plethora of tournaments, Rhodes won the English Girls' Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship in July of 2021, establishing herself as a legitimate competitor for her age. In addition, she represented England at the 2022 European Girls' Team Championship, helping the team finish second place.
"There are so many opportunities in Europe," Rhodes said. "The amount of opportunities that are out there is just amazing."
Her success in Europe skyrocketed her notoriety. At 19 years old, Rhodes is No. 150 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
She committed to ASU because of Farr-Kaye’s influence. She saw the ASU golf program as a family.
"I thought they were great. They're really nice," Rhodes said. "It was like a family feel. The team, the spirit, it was great."
Like a family, the ASU women’s golf team openly welcomed Rhodes. The team loves her personality, especially her prominent British accent.
"She's young, really funny, has a great accent and a great golfer," senior Ashley Menne said. "She's always joking, and her little slang words that are English are just hilarious. You don't hear that kind of stuff around here in the States."
There were no new recruits ahead of the 2023-24 campaign, and since Rhodes didn’t play all of the 2022-23 campaign, the team somewhat considers Rhodes the newest Sun Devil. Now that she’s completely healthy, the team has picked up on what her game offers. Her putting game is regarded as one of the best among the six Sun Devils.
According to Farr-Kaye, Rhodes holds herself to high standards. Like with numerous Sun Devils throughout her coaching tenure, she’s had to observe her every move to understand her motives fully.
"She's very hard on herself," Farr-Kaye said. "I'll look at the scores, and I'm like, 'Why is she down on herself?' She fights to the finish, which is a great quality to have."
Rhodes' best tournament as a Sun Devil came at the Windy City Collegiate Classic, where she shot -4 over three days. She'll look to enhance her game as the season progresses in her quest to turn professional at the end of her collegiate career.
Rhodes and the Sun Devils will next hit the links on Feb. 25, when they take on the University of Denver for the Duel in the Desert.
Edited by Alfred Smith III, Walker Smith and Shane Brennan
Aaron Schmidt is a sports reporter who covers ASU Baseball and ASU Women’s Golf for The State Press. He previously covered Higley High School football for AZPreps365.