Wolfpack golfer excels despite battling Tourette’s Syndrome

NC State

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina State golfer Ben Shipp has been key to the Wolfpack earning top-25 votes. The junior is a natural. He torched the renovated Pinehurst course No. 2, shooting a 65 to tie Martin Kaymer’s course record. 

It’s taken more than a knack for the game and a lot of hard work. Shipp was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome when he was 15 years old. 

“I wasn’t sure what to do, honestly, or what to do about it, but I knew I couldn’t quit golf,” he said. “I didn’t know what I was going to do without golf. It wasn’t an option for me. I just went to the course the next day and started figuring out how to play.”

Tourette’s is characterized by involuntary movements. Shipp’s perseverance has paid off as last season he helped the Wolfpack to its best finish in the NCAA Championships in over a decade. 

Shipp’s play also caught the eye of 12-year-old golfer Layne Ailshie, who is also dealing with Tourette’s. Shipp encouraged the Oklahoma youngster to follow her dreams.

“She’s going through it the same way I did. She’s trying to figure out some coping strategies,” Shipp said. “I’m just telling her, ‘Keep going. Don’t give up. You don’t have to. You can do it.'”

Shipp has collected numerous accomplishments — records, medals, trophies, and more — thus far in his still-budding career. He said inspiring someone else has been the highlight.

“I want people to be inspired not because of how many tournaments I win, which is obviously what I want to do because they see how competitive I am,” Shipp said. “And because I don’t take a back seat to anyone because of what I’m dealing with on a daily basis.”

Shipp recently finished as a co-medalist at the Puerto Rico Classic. 

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