When you meet Elsa Diaz, ’18, the first thing you’ll notice is her energy. 

“I’ve been working on my game so much,” she said. But even though she’s talking about her golf game, the senior’s words apply to so much more.

Diaz was recruited to play for the University of Richmond in 2014 from San Antonio, TX.

“I had never considered the east coast, but I came and I played in a speed golf tournament, and won,” Diaz said. “The coach saw me play, and wanted me to join the team.”

But Elsa wasn’t the only Diaz recruited. The coach ended up recruiting Elsa’s older sister, Sara, as well, and the two packed their bags and moved to Richmond.

“Being able to come here with my sister made the experience even better,” Diaz said. Golf has always been a family affair for Elsa, as her father is her swing coach.

“When I was getting into golf, he really invested his time in me,” Diaz said. Even after she moved to Richmond, her father would coach her on her technique over video chat.

Now almost four years later, Diaz is still wowing coaches with her skill, in September winning the Boston College Intercollegiate as individual champion. Which her coach, Ali Wright, says was the best start of a season in program history. 

“Elsa is an extraordinary athlete that always has a positive attitude, and high energy that elevates our team in practice and competition,” Wright said. “Elsa stands out because she has a big personality, has a great sense of humor, and has the strongest work ethic I have ever seen in college athletics.”

Wright says Diaz’s work ethic drives her to succeed on and off the course.

“Elsa practices on her own time twice as much as we practice as a team.  As an example, we start practice at 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and Elsa has already been awake for a few hours working out at the gym.  Elsa brings her school work to the golf course in order to study between her own practice and our team practice to make sure she is using every minute possible to succeed at both school and golf,” Wright said. 

Diaz also completed an internship at Independence Golf Club, where the team practices. Giff Breed, R’81, president of Pros Inc. which owns Independence, was eager to give her the opportunity.

“She is just the hardest worker you’ve ever seen,” Breed said, “so when she expressed interested in interning with us, I said absolutely.”

In between summer practices, Diaz created multiple videos for the course as the digital marketing intern, including a farewell video for an employee’s going away party.

“Everyone at Independence just gravitates toward her,” Breed said. “She makes us all very proud.”

But her commitment to the course doesn’t end there. Even though the summer is over, she still spends most of her time on the property.

“She will be here when the sun’s coming up to work on her golf game, then she’ll get back to school, go to her classes, and then she’ll come back out and practice again, and then she’s waitressing in our restaurant, then she goes home and starts all over,” Breed said.

“I feel like that’s home to me now,” Diaz said. “I love the people that work there. Everyone from the kitchen to marketing, they all look after me and have really taken me under their wing, and they encourage me.”

She says she learned more about the importance of internal marketing and a company’s culture at Independence than she expected.

“We learn so much about the culture of companies in our classes, and I think the environment that Independence has, the internal marketing is so important to them, and it transfers externally,” Diaz said.

Diaz hopes to play professionally after graduation, and knows she will have her entire golf family rooting for her.