Jessica Burdick Gets a New Game  

Jessica Burdick Gets a New Game  

Nestled in the foothills of the White Tank mountains in Surprise, Arizona, lies a world-class Nicklaus-designed golf course known as Sterling Grove, a favorite to Jessup women’s golf team member, Jessica Burdick. “One of the things I love about golf is being outside in God’s creation,” the junior said. “The course is so beautiful. It’s surrounded by mountains and has amazing sunsets.” It’s also the first course where Burdick shot under par. 

Familiarizing herself with golf from a young age, Burdick took to the course with her dad when she was just two years old. Her father, Steve Burdick is no stranger to the challenging sport as the executive director of College Golf Fellowship and former professional golfer. He also played at Stanford, sharing the course with the legendary Tiger Woods.

“I’ve learned so much from my dad. He was my swing coach, caddied for me, helped me learn different shots and most importantly, established a strong foundation that helped me recognize what playing the game is really about,” she said. “I learned the importance of finding my identity in Christ and surrendering every round to Him.” Perhaps most importantly, he introduced her to a tactic that later became a lifesaver: using a Bible verse book that helps her focus on scripture at each hole.

Before her busy day as a student athlete begins, Burdick is purposefully spending time with the Lord, a habit that became particularly important her sophomore year. “Centering myself in God’s word helps me start the day in a better place,” the leadership major said. “I came to Jessup with a desire to do so many things and then reality hit. I learned I can’t do everything because as a student athlete, it’s challenging to find time to do activities outside of sports with practice, travel and academics.”

Earning the title of 2023 Golden State Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year, Burdick started the 2024 season with a reputation to uphold. Last fall, she placed second in a tournament she won the year prior. “I found myself trying to defend the win, and after that tournament, I started to spiral,” she said. “I just kept putting more pressure on myself to succeed, play well, practice more and focus on school. Meanwhile, my mental health was burning out.”

She reached out to her coach and felt supported immediately. “He understood and told me to take whatever time I needed. That helped me relax more as I continued giving my stress and anxieties to God,” she said.  

Since then, she’s worked hard learning to balance expectations and pressures. “The Jessup community is so supportive of my mental health. My professors taught me I’m so much more important than any grade I’ll ever get, or score I’ll ever shoot,” Burdick said. “I didn’t think people would care, but they do, and I’m realizing that it’s okay to not be okay.” 

Her new perspective seems to be working. This year, Burdick won her second all-GSAC championship earning her the ability to participate in the NAIA National Championships in Illinois. Burdick smiled and said, “All I know is that God is faithful. No matter what happens, win or lose, He is with me and deserves all the glory.”