• Lt. Col. Jennifer Jensen lines up a putt during the 2010 Armed Forces Golf Championship held in October at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Jensen was one of three women selected for the All Army Golf Team.

    ON GREEN

    Lt. Col. Jennifer Jensen lines up a putt during the 2010 Armed Forces Golf Championship held in October at Langley Air Force Base, Va. Jensen was one of three women selected for the All Army Golf Team.

  • Lt. Col. Jennifer Jensen, far left, stands with the 2010 All Army Golf Team. The team placed second to the Air Force at the 2010 Armed Forces Golf Championship.

    SOLDIER ACES

    Lt. Col. Jennifer Jensen, far left, stands with the 2010 All Army Golf Team. The team placed second to the Air Force at the 2010 Armed Forces Golf Championship.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- When Lt. Col. Jennifer Jensen tried out for the All Army Golf Team at Fort Belvoir, Va., in 1993 but was rejected, she didn't let it get her down. She simply added it to her bucket list of things to do before she retired from the Army.

Kids, job commitments and not wanting to take the time off of work kept her from throwing her name into the mix of names vying for a spot on the team since. But with the days until retirement ticking away, on Aug. 15, Jensen's application found its way to Army FMWR, and a little more than two months later, she herself was in Fort Lee, Va., competing for one of three female spots on the team, an honor years in the making for the product manager, common systems integration, for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

With a little bit of luck, and a few of the tips and tricks she used when playing as the only female on the men's golf team at her high school in Everett, Wash., the qualifying strokes came down to the very last hole, a fact Jensen was glad she wasn't aware of at the time. And within two days, Jensen was playing alongside the other eight members of the All Army Golf team. The nine individuals represented their branch of service and respective installations in the 2010 Armed Forces Golf Championship, Oct. 23-26 at Eaglewood Golf Course at Langley Air Force Base, Va.

"You just want to do well for the team, not just for yourself," Jensen said.
Competitors faced rain and wind throughout the four-day tournament that pitted the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy against each other. With winds ranging from 20 to 30 mph, Jensen would at times have to point her ball almost out of bounds just to get it to go in the direction of the hole.

"It was harder conditions than I was used to," Jensen said of the course.

But it wasn't just the weather that affected Jensen's game. Mentally, it was a challenge for the recreational golfer to go up against other serious competitors that may have been more accustomed to playing in a competitive setting.

"Psychologically, it was a different game than I was used to," Jensen said. "You're exhausted even though physically you didn't exert that much."

Another challenge, Jensen says jokingly, had nothing to do with the weather, the course, or even Jensen's game herself, but rather her caddy - husband and golfer himself, Mike Brady. Along for the two-week journey to spend some time with his wife, and of course, to golf, Jensen recounts a few times she fired him on the golf course during the trip, including the time he led her to the wrong ball, a two-stroke penalty.

"He said it was a good round if he didn't get fired," Jensen said with a laugh.

All weather, competitive and caddy challenges aside, Jensen is both honored and happy to have been part of the team, which placed second behind the Air Force in the competition, followed by the Marines and the Navy.

"I'm just happy to have been there," Jensen said.

Jensen discovered that happiness in the sport at a young age growing up in Washington, when her father, a salesman, would spend half his days working, half his days playing golf with his little girl.

"I love everything about it," Jensen said. "It's challenging. It's never the same. There's always something to work on, you never feel like you're perfect. It's relaxing."

The busy soccer mom tries to get out on the course once a week, oftentimes heading over to the Links for a round. Touting the Redstone course, Jensen would like to one day see the All Army Golf Team competing on the installation's course.

"Our facilities are top-notch and comparable to the ones we played on," Jensen said. "We really do have a great facility out here that I don't think people realize."

The All Army Golf Team is just part of an array of athletic options that the U.S. Army Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation offers to Soldiers to support their readiness and well-being through the combination of athletics, a military atmosphere, and of course, competition. Currently, FMWR offers All Army Programs in the following sports: Ten-Miler, basketball, boxing, bowling, cross-country, golf, Ironman, marathon, rugby (men only), soccer, softball, Taekwondo, triathlon, sand and floor volleyball, and wrestling. Active duty, Reserve, Army National Guard and active Guard Reserves are eligible to apply to the program.

"The Army Sports Program has so many great opportunities for people, opportunities you wouldn't get elsewhere," Jensen said. "It's a great morale booster."

For more information about the Army Sports Program, visit www.armymwr.com/recleisure/sportsandfitness.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16