Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

How hunting, flying shaped Bentley Cotton’s golf game

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

From throwing a football as quarterback to shooting basketballs to making putts on a golf course all before starting sixth grade, Bentley Cotton’s passion for sports is apparent. Growing up, she followed in the footsteps of the men in her life, like her father, Jimbo, and brother, Austin, who both played college golf at Baylor.  

“Everything that (my brother) was doing, I was wanting to do, and (he followed) our father’s footsteps,” Cotton said. “My brother is probably my biggest hype man. He loves to hype me up and he’s good at it.” 

After taking on a wide variety of sports as a child, the young Austinite settled on golf as her main athletic focus. She believed that because of her athletic build and performance, golf was the most suitable choice. “I (had a) better chance to make a career out of golf,” Cotton said. 

While golf is a major part of the student athlete’s life, Cotton has many other hobbies.

At the age of seven, Cotton shot her first deer. She recalled not feeling out of place while hunting with pink boots and bare-handedly catching fish with purple nail polish. In her family’s ranch, “(the men) would see this little girl running around and they were like ‘What’s going on here?’ but they realized that ‘She enjoys it, and she wants to be here,’” Cotton said.  

Focusing on a target is how Cotton connected her passion for golf to her love of hunting. She sees the flagstick in golf as her deer, and while most golfers take the flag off the hole when putting, she doesn’t. 

“My whole psychology around that is that I am a target person. When I am hunting, I’m focusing on one specific target,” Cotton said. “So same with golf, looking at the flagstick helps me see the hole a little better.”

From the ground to the sky, Cotton was captivated by anything involving nature, which made her begin her piloting journey at just ten years old.  

“I want to get my pilot’s license and fly myself around. It would be a huge goal; a huge accomplishment for me,” Cotton said. “I would sit in the copilot seat with my godfather, and I just got hooked ever since then, I really enjoyed sitting up there and it is very peaceful. There is just something about flying a plane that really excites me.” 

After college, Cotton plans to both pursue professional golf and obtain her pilot’s license, but still plans to enjoy her remaining time at Texas. 

“Pro golf is always going to be there and once you leave amateur golf, it is gone. So, I will have fun with that and remain competitive with all my friends, which will be so much fun,” Cotton said. “Golf is my priority. Maybe once I figure things out and I am playing on the LPGA Tour, and I come home for a little bit, I will get my license.”  

While hunting, flying and golfing are all very different hobbies, they have all taught Cotton patience and defined her peace. 

“(When hunting) I just get time to think to myself, count my blessings and be grateful for what I have. It’s just you, animals, nature, and God out there. So, (that) is very relaxing, the same with flying when you are up in the sky. You got nothing around, just the people in the plane and the radio, looking out in the clouds, and it’s just peaceful to me. Then the same goes on the golf course. I mean, you are out there with the people you are playing with, and you are in nature. You are enjoying your time out on the golf course.”  

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