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A quick 9 with Juju Peterson

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I don’t Snap. I want to be clear on that, before we proceed. Some social media is best left to the young. I Yick-Yacked for a time, but it faded, as did my good looks. Onward, then. If you hang around social media long enough (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and pay attention to what the younger golfing set is doing, you stumble across people like girlsgotgame365 and georgegankasgolf.

Everything is changing around us, quickly. Golf instruction is live on the web 3.0; introductions to famous people prior to fame finding them are accessible. It’s like an ace (which I’ve never had) in that sometimes, they go in off a tree, a cart path, or a playing partner’s shin. This brings us to Jessica “Juju” Peterson (jujupetersongolf on Instagram), a young golfer in Texas. I’ve followed her progress for over a year, and what I’ve read and watched has heartened me. As she advances as a competitive golfer, she matures as a human. Juju Peterson’s Instagram account balances the path to adulthood on both golf and life’s terms. She seems to be in no rush for either, which might be the best lesson you learn.

If you don’t do the tango social media, understand this: it can be a heartless place. Emboldened by anonymity, trolls take shots at hundreds of targets each day. For whatever soul-less reason they conjure, they often leave behind a trail of tears and injured psyches. Juju Peterson’s Instagram account caters to all ages, and it’s my guess that those 9K+ followers run the entire age gamut.

Too often our golf professionals announce that so-and-so will doubtless be the next great touring professional, major champion, etc. This is done, I say cynically, to further the teaching pro’s career. Very well, in order to further my writing career, I hereby decree that Juju Peterson just might be the next great neighbor, roommate, friend, human being. Her candor is enviable, her enthusiasm is infectious. So that you know, her parents are with her, each and every step. With pleasure, a quick nine questions with Juju Peterson.


1. Golf is a family affair in the Peterson household, it seems. Tell us about how it all began, and what family golf brings to you. 

It began with my father. I thought it was so cool that my dad could do trick shots and hit it over 400 yards. When I met George Strait and David Feherty at my dad’s final celebrity fundraising event, I knew that I wanted to play golf like my dad!

2. Dad is the coach, and daughter is the student. What kind of a dynamic does that present? 

A: It’s amazing to be honest. I know that sometimes dads and daughters can butt heads when there is coaching involved, but our bond is special and unique. Dad adopted me when he married my mom and that bond has made us more like BFFs than “father and daughter” when we are working on my swing.

3. As of early summer, 2019, what are your goals with golf? Is it recreational? Competitive? Are you hoping to compete in high school, college, and beyond?

A: I’d like to answer this backward. Golf in our life has become competitive, but dad does a great job of allowing me to practice in a recreational way. My #1 goal in golf is to enjoy the game. My short term goal is to work hard this summer to prepare for the US Kids World Championships in August. My long term goal is to sharpen all aspects of my game so I can hopefully someday have a chance to play against the best in the world. First as a junior, then hopefully in college and beyond onto the LPGA Tour.

4. My Twitter account is just over 2K followers, and my Instagram is below 1K, so the notion of an audience of over 9K followers is quite unknown to me. You’re reaching a lot of people with each video, each photo, each paragraph. What does that mean to you?

A: Honestly, I am smiling as I answer this question. We had no idea when dad started this page that I would have so much support and love. As a young girl who is about to go into middle school, life is sometimes tougher to navigate. Seeing the overwhelming support that I have from virtual strangers all over the world really makes me feel so lucky and so grateful.  We have had so many heartfelt messages sent to us from people who say that my page has helped their golf game, helped their mentality or just helped them feel better when they are a little down. One of the most wonderful and surprising things that has happened so far was a girl from Colorado who was in 8th grade (I was in 5th grade), who asked if she could write her final term paper about me. I was speechless! To think that an older girl was inspired by what I am doing…just meant so much to me. We have tried to make our page like a big Instagram family and I hope people can sense that as they follow along on this journey with us!

5. How have your fellow golfers, your followers, reached out to you in a positive way? I imagine that help is a 2-way street, if social media is done properly.

A: To extend my answer from the previous question, I recently posted a video about how I dealt with a grown man who started bullying me on my page. Within an hour nor so, we had multiple people reach out to us and say that the video really hit home with them and that it was something they really needed to hear. To know that I can potentially help a few people with their personal journey is truly wonderful 🙂

6. With the good, comes the bad. You’ve dealt with some negative commentary, and you created a 3-part video post to put your reaction, thoughts, and hopes out in the public eye and ear. Tell us about dealing with the haters.

A: So as you might have noticed, my swing is quite different. The swing I used is the swing that my dad created in 2002. I asked to switch to this from a traditional swing about two years ago. I knew that once I did, there was a good possibility that there would be some hate thrown my way. I didn’t care though! I know how amazing it has worked for dad and if something works better, then why wouldn’t I do it as well.  I think my parents have done a wonderful job of helping me prepare for bullies in life I’ve always been a foot taller than everyone in my class, I swing the club differently, I’m not super skinny and that’s OK. We can’t let bullies or negative people influence how we feel about ourselves. It’s too important to be happy in life and I try to remember that every day!

7. What are you working on in your golf these days? How do you stay focused on the next step in golf, whatever it may be?

A: Currently we are working on fine-tuning. Dad and I are very happy with where my swing is after years of really shaping it. Now I am trying to learn to breathe…focus…take enough time in preparing each shot. I am behind (experience-wise) in the tournament world as I have only played 10 tournaments. I am fortunate that I won the final 6 events of the U.S. Kids Dallas chapter which qualified me for the World Championships where dad can caddie for me. With that being said, we are going to move up to bigger, national events next year where he will not be able to caddie for me. There will be some hiccups as I go through this process of doing every aspect by myself, but I am excited for the challenge and the learning that comes with these challenges!

8. If someone asked for your three keys to living your best life, just three, how would you answer them? (this is fun, because you might look back on it in five years and agree with yourself, or see that things have changed.)

A: 1. Have fun and laugh. 2. Play golf (or any sport)..hehe. 3. Be respectful to everyone!

9. What question hasn’t been asked, that you would like to answer? Ask it and answer it, please.

Q: What’s your favorite non-golf related thing to do?

A: Number 1 would be making crafts! I love perler beads, learning to paint like Bob Ross, creating rainbow loom bracelets and drawing! I love to be silly with my 5-year-old baby sister Brooke! She is awesome and my best friend! Her heart is filled with nothing but love, and it’s so precious!

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Chris Herrbach

    Jul 3, 2019 at 9:20 am

    Absolutely great piece in an amazing young golfer. I am happy to call Juju and Brad good friends. Have spent many evenings hitting golf balls with these two. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, she is a generational talent.

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