By Yvonne Johnson
U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md., Sept. 22, 2011 – Though Army Master Sgt. Sheila Sango has golfed just eight years, she has hopes of becoming one of the Army’s elite golfers.
Sango, a career counselor with the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command here, was selected to compete in the All-Army Golf Trials held tomorrow through Sept. 26 at Fort Jackson, S.C.
Upwards of 30 of the Army's top golfers will compete in the trials. The top finishers from the 72-hole event will form the 2011 All Army Team, which will compete against teams from the Air Force, Navy and Marines in the Armed Forces Championship held Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, also at the Fort Jackson Golf Club.
This is Sango's second trip to the trials. She competed last year and hopes to do better.
"I didn't do as well as I can; it was a very humbling experience," Sango said. "Through the grace of God, I will do well this year."
A native of California, Sango is a 21-year Army veteran who came to Aberdeen in March from Hawaii. Sango has two combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and said she started playing golf while stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, after years of playing softball.
"I used to love softball, but for some reason I always enjoyed watching golf," she said.
Sango credits various coworkers who shared their knowledge of the game as she honed her skills. She said a Maryland-based nonprofit golfing organization, along with local golf club manager Rick Bond and golf pro Dave Correll, took her under their wings.
"Dave has been very valuable; he's given me great tips," Sango said. "There is no perfect swing. He takes your swing and works with that.”
Bond called Sango a great player who is driven to succeed.
"She's not just a wonderful player -- she's even a nicer person," he said. "She's a joy to be around and she has a tireless work ethic. Even if it's raining, she's out here working on her game. We're all pulling for her."
Sango said she feels her first assignment on the East Coast is not by chance.
"I just know I'm here for a reason," she said. "I've found a nice church here and a beautiful place to perfect my [golf] game.”
Sango said she loves the quiet of early-morning golf.
"There's nothing here but you and nature,” she said. “I see geese and deer, and I even saw a little fox out here. It's inspiring. So I just keep trying and trying. I know God will still love me whether I fail or succeed as long as I just don't quit."