Phillis Meti, World Long Drive Champion shares her personal experiences as part of Te ‘Epetoma o Te Reo Kūki ‘Āirani – Cook Islands language week.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
My name is Phillis Meti. I am of Cook Island decent however I was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand. Most of my schooling was in the periphery of the city and I graduated from AUT University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation with a Management Major.
Sport has been a part of my whole life. I love being an athlete. I am a golf professional and I am currently ranked World number 1 in the sport of Long Drive which has really been the kick starter to my professional golfing career.
What is your proudest achievement?
I am very lucky to say I have a few proud achievements in my sport career and in life away from sport. One of my proudest achievements is graduating with my bachelor’s degree. It took me 10 years to finally complete my studies. I am super grateful that AUT University looks after their athletes in order to help us achieve in both sport and academia.
Following that, my next proudest achievement was winning my second World Long Drive title in 2016. It’s true, hard work really does pay off!
What is your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is not going to College in America, however, I do not regret what I did instead – World Champion, Tour Golf, Diploma in Athlete Development..lots of things.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes?
Never give up. My dad taught me to keep going, even when life gets in the way, you have a goal and a job to do, so if you really want it, you keep going forward and you don’t stop – even if it’s tiny steps, they get you there eventually.
How do you manage golf and life in general?
I have to prioritise. It’s not easy. I make sacrifices in order to spend time where I really need to for example training, practice, and competing. Things are always busy when I’m on the road even during “off” time because I am preparing for the next event or even the next season. We schedule the weekends to be down time so we can rest, recover and enjoy the treats that come from hard working weeks. When I’m home however, I always make sure I have time to go visit my nieces and nephews. I love my family.
Is there anything you know now that you wished you knew starting out?
How to chip and putt! I would probably be playing on the LPGA tour full time if I was able to grasp how to put the ball away faster.
Who do you look up to and why?
This is hard because I’ve looked up to many people right throughout my life! Like a lot of young Pacific Islanders, we tend to look up to our parents or the elders in our family. I have always looked up to my parents for everything. They have been the best examples of people who strive together as a team for me. Also for most of my life, both of my grandmother’s were a large part of my life. They are both strong women that are big picture people. I hope I can be like that when I get older. I have looked up to all of my coaches growing up, they are all people I have a huge amount of respect for. It’s hard to trust and listen to people you don’t respect. On a sporting level, I have always looked up Dame Val ever since we shared the circle together at trainings…she literally is a beast in the game of sport and life.
Where is your favourite place in the Cook Islands?
My favourite place in the Cook Islands is my nana’s house in Arorangi, Rarotonga. I’m an absolute home girl and my dad is buried there. I love staying home with my nan and catching up on all of the gossip hehe.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of golf?
Since being in California, I’ve grown a liking to hiking the different tracks this city has to offer. I used to think hiking was just bush walks but a lot of the hikes we do here in Los Angeles is road based. I always walked a lot recreationally at home so this isn’t too much different but the gradient of the path is 30-45 degrees sometimes 🙂
Plans and aspirations for the future?
A passion of mine is to help people. I’m not exactly sure what it is I will do but I will be doing something that will fulfil my passion. It is very rewarding to see people enjoy their the outcomes of their hard work with my help.
Photo credit: World Long Drive Association