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Wednesday, July 12, 2023

UNLV record holder Veronica Childs (Joels) embarks on new journey

Golfer to Glamper

UNLV record holder Veronica Childs (Joels) embarks on new journey

Story by Brian Hurlburt

Photography provided by UNLV and Veronica Joels


As of this writing, it had been nearly a month since Veronica Childs last touched a golf club, which occurred during the final round of the NCAA Pulman Regional. And that was just fine for the new bride, new graduate, and burgeoning business woman.

The former Veronica Joels, now the all-time record holder in multiple categories for the UNLV women’s golf team, has put away the dream of chasing the little white ball as a profession to pursue a new business with husband, Andre. She has gone glamping to Utah, and she is as happy as she has ever been. She and Andre now oversee Bryce Glamp and Camp in Cannonville, Utah. The two met in high school. Andre played golf and other sports for Lake Mead Christian Academy, a rival of The Meadows, where Childs attended and won a state title playing in the boys division.

“I am very excited for the future,” Childs says from the Utah forest where she now resides. “I am obviously thankful for all the years that I have gotten to play competitive golf and sports because that shaped me and taught me a lot. I would trade nothing for all of the experiences I have had. Now, to move on to a new chapter in my life, even if that doesn't involve playing competitive sports, is very exciting. It is exactly what I want to be doing.”

Veronica is well-suited to operate a business that caters to vacationers because she earned two degrees from UNLV’s world-renowned Harrah’s College of Hospitality. She has an undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management degree and a Master of Science in Hotel Administration.

“Glamping is the combination of glamorous and camping,” Childs says. “We provide domes in the wilderness. Staying there is like staying in a proper hotel, but right in the middle of nature. They have a full kitchen, a full-size bed and a pullout, plus a full bathroom with shower, toilet and sink. We supply towels, popcorn, oatmeal, and coffees, so it is the ultimate glamping experience. You really don't have to leave the dome; but the experience is really about stepping right outside and being one with nature. The domes are secluded from each, and it is the best of both worlds. People have the ‘home necessities,’ but are in the natural surroundings of Utah.”

Future plans include expanding the Glamp Camp operation in Utah and possibly to other states. The business is a family affair with Veronica, Andre, and his parents, but the newlyweds are taking over the daily operations.

Playing college golf and traveling thousands upon thousands of miles over the years has positioned Veronica to serve customers well. The patience learned during the grueling college golf schedule combined with the many hospitality experiences she enjoyed were a crash course in glamping management. “I have stayed in a thousand hotels, maybe more, over my lifetime,” Childs says. “All that travel has helped me understand what a customer wants, how they want it to look, and how we can best serve our audience. Hopefully, it has prepared me to run a very successful business.” Veronica noted that her competitive golf spirit could percolate while operating the business, and she will always fondly look back upon her junior, high school, and collegiate golf career.

Veronica leaves UNLV as the program's all-time leader in career rounds played (141) and tournaments played (47), while ranking third in career birdies (339) and tied for third in career rounds at par or better (45), among other accomplishments. She won one college event and was a stalwart for coach Amy Bush-Herzer for five years, which included an added Covid year.

“It is going to be weird not seeing her at practice or on the road because she has been with us for so long,” Bush-Herzer says. “I think she committed to us in 2017, and since then we have spent a lot of time together. She will leave some huge shoes to fill. She always would come through for us. We will miss her, on and off the course. She is a Rebel through and through. She chose to stay at home and was rewarded with a great career. She left a legacy and set records that may never be broken.”

Bush-Herzer credited Joels with being one of the first star local golfers to select UNLV. During the 2022-23 season, five of the ten players on the Rebel roster were from Las Vegas, and that trend should continue. Southern Nevadans joining Childs during her final season were Morgan Goldstein, Aliyah Williams, Gracie Olkowski, and McKenzi Hall.

“Veronica was recruited by big programs like Stanford, UCLA and others, so she was a trendsetter when she decided to become a Rebel,” Bush-Herzer says. “She helped us get our foot in the door with other locals, and that has been important. It is a very a neat thing that a Las Vegas athlete has broken all of the records that she has.”

Selecting UNLV was not part of Childs’ original plan. That is until she made an impromptu visit to the UNLV campus, which she had never seen despite growing up in Las Vegas. “At first, I didn't want to go to UNLV and that wasn't because I didn't like the school or I didn't like the location, it was because I didn't think UNLV had that nice of a campus,” Childs says. “But then I randomly decided to visit, and I pretty much made up my mind that day because the campus is so much nicer and so much more secluded than people think. There are tons of trees and green grass and I loved that. I also chose UNLV because Coach Amy is awesome and she will support any player no matter what. Education was very important to me and the hospitality school is terrific. I always wanted to pursue a hospitality degree, and there is no place better to do that than at UNLV.”

With a new horizon and new priorities and golf in the rear view mirror, Childs has spent a little time reminiscing. She is very appreciative to the many people who helped her along the way, including her parents, coaches, friends, and others. “There are so many memories over the last five years,” she says. “It is crazy to think it has already been five years. A lot of people sais it would go by quickly and it did. And going from 18 to 23 years old, I have changed so much as a person. UNLV has been such a big part of that. I am very positive about my golf career and I am not sad that I am not turning professional. I don’t have the desire in my heart to play golf for eight to ten hours a day like some girls do and will. That wasn't my biggest passion. My passion is building a future and just doing different things that I have never done.”

Bush-Herzer is confident Childs will have success, no matter the endeavor. “Veronica is a hard worker and a terrific finisher,” Bush-Herzer says. “We have a stat called the Rebel Finish where we measure the last six holes. We want players to finish those holes at even par or better. Many times, she was our best player with the Rebel Finish. She had a lot of determination when she was on the golf course and never really let down. You could also see that determination on the course, in the classroom, and life in general.”


Veronica at a Glance

All-time leader in career rounds played (141) and tournaments played (47)

Two-time Mountain West All-Conference honoree

Won The Clash at Boulder Creek during the 2021-22 season

Helped lead Rebels to back-to-back trips to the NCAA Regionals in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons

Earned WGCA All-American Scholar Award three times (2019-2021)

Named to the Academic All-Mountain West team four times (likely a fifth-time honoree when 2023 list is announced later this month)

Finished in top 12 three times during the 2022-23 season, including a season-best eighth at the Westbrook Invitational with her lowest score of the year of 4-under 212.

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