Hannah Foster

Hannah Foster has played in golf tournaments in Barbados, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Argentina.

PROFILE: Hannah Foster '23, Lehigh Women's Golf

The Florida native has been on the Jamaican national team since she turned 15 years old.

Story by

Stephen Gross

Photography by

Christa Neu

When it comes to golf, Lehigh is Hannah Foster’s main priority, but it isn’t her only one. The sophomore has been playing for the Jamaican national team since she turned 15, when she won the Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championship, and continues to play for the country during summer. As a first-year at Lehigh, Foster played all 15 competitive rounds across six tournaments, shooting a personal collegiate low 73 at the Bucknell Invitational. She was also named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. The Florida native began her sophomore year strong, shooting a 75 and finishing as the top individual performer in the team’s first dual match.

Major: Finance with a minor in real estate and international relations

WHAT’S YOUR DREAM JOB?

I've always wanted to go professional [in golf]. So, I guess my dream job would definitely be playing on the LPGA Tour. But I also thought of going down the finance route. I would want to be a financial advisor.

WHAT GOT YOU STARTED IN GOLF?

I switched to a different school [at age 7]. I had a best friend, and we wanted to stay in touch. We decided to play golf together. We got golf lessons together. And then we both loved it from there, and we both still play.

DID YOU PLAY ANY OTHER SPORTS GROWING UP?

I played soccer and tennis. I did dance, but I don't know if you consider that a sport. And horseback riding.

WHAT’S MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT GOLF?

Definitely the mental side. It doesn't matter if you're playing really great or if you're playing badly, you just always need to have a strong mental toughness. If that's not there, you're going to play bad no matter what, so definitely staying in [the game]. Even if you're not hitting it well, you can still shoot a good score if you have a good mental game.

HOW DID YOU BECOME A MEMBER OF THE JAMAICAN NATIONAL TEAM?

My dad's from Jamaica. He was born and raised there, and I still have family there. Once I found out that there's a national team, I reached out to the Jamaican Golf Association and they were thrilled for me to join. But I had to try out, and I made it. I go back to Jamaica at least once a year, normally in the summer. Now I get to play the Caribbean Championships, which are on a different island every summer, which is fun. It's been fun to be able to travel and see all the different islands and cultures.

Hannah Foster posing with a golf club

WHERE HAVE YOU PLAYED?

I've been to Barbados, Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and then also I got to play in Argentina for Jamaica. That's not an island but that was just a Latin American tournament that [Jamaica] wanted to make to represent [the country]. I've also played in Mexico as well.

THOSE PLACES ALL SOUND PRETTY NICE. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE?

Honestly, Argentina. I think that was so neat to be in a different continent. It was a totally different culture. It was a beautiful golf course too. 

YOU WERE BORN AND LIVE IN FLORIDA BUT PLAY FOR JAMAICA. YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIVE OR RESIDE THERE TO PLAY FOR JAMAICA? DO YOU HAVE CITIZENSHIP?

No. I've been wanting to get my citizenship, but because I have immediate family living there—my grandparents live there—I don't need citizenship or have to live there.

IS MAKING THE JAMAICAN NATIONAL TEAM YOUR PROUDEST ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?

Yes, I would say so. There have been a couple moments in high school that were great, but I mean that was high school golf so I would say the Jamaican national team. That's on a bigger scale and that'll be in the books forever.

WHAT WOULD IT BE IF YOU PICKED A SECOND ONE FROM HIGH SCHOOL?

When I was a sophomore, I was Female Golfer of the Year for South Florida. I think that was a great accomplishment as a sophomore. … And in Florida, the competition in golf is tough, so that was kind of neat to be able to get that. But then also just being on the Lehigh team has been a great accomplishment as well. My dream has always been to play at a D-I school. [Lehigh] is a beautiful school and is great academically so it's the best of both worlds.

YOU’RE STILL PLAYING FOR JAMAICA DURING THE SUMMER. HAS THAT BEEN EASY TO JUGGLE?

Yes. The only thing is, because of COVID right now, everything's on pause. In high school I would have to sometimes go in the middle of the school year and play. The Argentina trip and the Mexico trip were both during school. It was in the fall and spring so that was kind of tough to have to leave, but it still was a great place to be. I'm not going to complain.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO TAKE FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF PLAYING FOR JAMAICA?

I've been able to really learn about how a team dynamic works, more so than with the high school team, and that's prepared me for college golf. And also with the Jamaican team, you have a sense of pride for your country and you want to really win to represent your country back home. I think that that's really prepared me for that drive to win for Lehigh. We have pride for Lehigh, the brown and white, and you really just want to bring it home.

Hannah Foster following through on a golf shot

DO YOU PLAN ON BEING MORE INVOLVED WITH THE JAMAICAN NATIONAL TEAM AFTER LEHIGH?

Yes, I plan on it. I've always had the dream to represent Jamaica in the Olympics. So that's still on my mind. I'm not sure if that'll happen but that has always been on my mind.

YOU’RE INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY SERVICE. WHAT ORGANIZATIONS HAVE YOU VOLUNTEERED WITH?

I've been a part of Habitat for Humanity since high school. It's always so rewarding to go to houses and help fix them up or build houses for families that need homes. At Lehigh, I'm a part of C.O.A.C.H [Community Outreach by Athletes who Care about Helping], which is community outreach. That's an athletic organization that helps the surrounding Bethlehem area in any way. The biggest event that we do is Adopt A Family. We have a family assigned to each athletic team and during Christmastime we buy a bunch of gifts for the kids, and then we get to—not during COVID times—give the gifts to the kids and watch their reactions. It's so amazing to see them. It's a great event and everyone loves it.

YOU ARE ALSO INVOLVED WITH THE FIRST TEE. WHAT IS THAT AND WHAT DID YOU DO?

I've been helping out First Tee, even in high school, but then I actually helped out the Lehigh Valley First Tee chapter near Lehigh. It’s a national organization that helps teach kids golf, but also uses golf to instill certain values and teach kids to use those values. It's very helpful for kids who might not have these certain values being taught to them at home. They use a game to instill it into them, which I think is just really neat and they'll always remember it forever, even if they don't play golf in college or after college.

WHAT VALUES?

The biggest one is integrity, and also perseverance. Those two are important in golf and also in life. I think using golf helps them understand how to apply it to their lives.

YOU’VE ALSO HELPED WITH THE AJGA ACE GRANT PROGRAM.

So that's an organization that is actually in terms, a tour. It's the American Junior Golf Association. But through the tours, they also have philanthropic work. I have been lucky enough to help out in certain aspects. In junior golf, you have to play certain tournaments in order to reach a status so that college coaches can watch you. They're pretty expensive tournaments so they have a program called the Ace Grant. And that helps less fortunate families be able to travel across the country and play these tournaments so that they can have college coaches watch them. So I helped out with that.

AND YOU’VE DONE GUEST SPEAKING FOR THEM?

Yes. And I also did a speech with the First Tee for the Lehigh Valley last year as well. For the ACE grant, I actually was an ACE grant recipient. So, I talked about that in that speech for AJGA, and how I grew up with parents who weren't as fortunate as others. I talked about how growing up I always have been taught to really strive for, really work hard at what you do and just persevere through anything.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MENTOR?

Golf wise, there was a girl who graduated from Lehigh before me. Her name is Reagan Jahn and we actually played on the same high school team. We went to the same high school down in Florida, and I joined the varsity team in 7th grade when she was a junior. I've always looked up to her. She's always had the greatest etiquette, and she just never got upset with anything no matter what was going on. I got to watch her recruitment process to Lehigh. It left a big impression. Then she went to Lehigh, and I kind of followed in her footsteps. She's actually kind of what made me really like Lehigh, and she's also been a mentor to me.

WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU?

I'm such an open book, so I don't know. [laughs] In high school, I started a pie company business called Hannah's HapPies. There were “every occasion” pies meaning instead of writing a card for sympathy, thank you or congrats, people could give a pie. My best seller was a S'mores Pie.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT THE LEHIGH WOMEN’S GOLF PROGRAM?

Honestly, the camaraderie of the team. We are all so close, I honestly feel like it's my own little family. Our coach [Mary Kate Lynch] does such a great job recruiting the same kind of like-minded individuals. I think they're all great, and they're lifelong best friends.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT LEHIGH AS A UNIVERSITY?

The pride. During LeLaf it's so neat to see how everyone just has so much pride in the university, and they're all wearing brown and white. I really like this sense of, it's a big community. But it also feels like we're all one, huge, big family. It's really hard to create that kind of culture, and Lehigh does a great job with that.

Story by

Stephen Gross

Photography by

Christa Neu