Lehigh Mountain Hawks freshman Hannah Foster putts during the Lehigh Invitational on Monday, October 21, 2019, at Saucon Valley Country Club. Foster has been a member of the Jamaican National Golf team since 2016. (Courtesy of Lehigh Sports)

Freshman Hannah Foster tees off on the international stage

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Most athletes dream of the opportunity to represent their country in their favorite sport at the international level. Freshman Hannah Foster, however, has been competing at that level for years.

A recent addition to the Lehigh women’s golf team, Foster has also been a member of the Jamaican National Golf Team since 2016. She has represented Jamaica in Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Casa de Campo, Bridgetown and Nassau.

Foster used golf as a platform to get involved with philanthropic organizations, such as the First Tee and the AJGA Ace Grant Program, that emphasize junior golf and giving back to communities nationwide. She has been a guest speaker for both organizations, telling her story about growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome and OCD and encouraging people to get involved with these programs. 

Foster was also the recipient of the 2017 American Junior Golf Association’s Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award and the leader of her high school golf team.

Foster grew up in Hobe Sound, Florida. Her father immigrated from Jamaica, looking for work, and met her mother, a native Floridian. They exposed her to any activity they could afford and reached out to a local private golf club to arrange lessons for her. She began playing by the time she was 8 years old, and she began to compete by the time she was 10 years old.  

“As my game grew stronger, and as a way to stay connected to my family roots in Jamaica, I tried out for the Jamaican National Junior Golf Team in 2014,” Foster said.

After representing Jamaica in Barbados, winning her division and leading the team to a second place finish in the Caribbean Junior Golf Championship, Foster secured her a spot on the team.

Since then, she has used the opportunity as a learning experience.

In her three years playing for the Jamaican national team, Foster said she has learned the value of being loyal to her teammates and putting the success of the team above her own personal goals.

Regardless of her many affiliations, she comes to Lehigh ready to represent her new home just as vehemently. 

“(Foster) is doing very well adjusting to the team,” junior Angela Ding said. “She sets very high standards for herself and, by having those standards, pushes others to set their standards high as well.” 

Foster is excited to play for Lehigh, but she had to slightly reduce her involvement with her Jamaican teammates as her focus shifted toward the college game. She will continue to play for Jamaican National Golf during the summer, as it is supportive and understanding of college athletes.

Upon meeting with the coach and her potential teammates before attending Lehigh, Foster was not the only one who was excited to see herself in a Lehigh uniform.

“Her visit was special, and I already knew she was a tremendous player, and her personality matched that,” head coach Mary Kate Lynch said. “She was exactly the person I knew I wanted on the team. She is hard working, passionate to excel in golf and in school, humble, outgoing and has strong leadership qualities.”

Lynch said Foster is coming into her leadership qualities at Lehigh and has already started to lead by example. She will do everything that she can to achieve a Mountain Hawk victory, Lynch said.

“My goals for (Foster) are for her to continue to gain confidence in her swing and game,” Lynch said. “I know that if she does this, then she will continue to be a top performer on our team and in our conference.”

The game has taught Foster many personal life lessons such as, sportsmanship, respect and integrity. She said most important for her, however, is how the sport and the organizations involved have taught her the importance of giving back. 

Foster said with pride that the team recently donated the money raised from the Lehigh Invitational Golf Tournament to the American Cancer Society to help fight breast cancer.

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