It isn’t easy to just pick up a set of golf clubs and achieve success on the links.
For many, it takes years of hitting drives, wedges and irons up and down the fairways to put together a competitive score.
Even with hours of repetition, the scoreboard doesn’t always reflect the amount of time put in outside of match play.
This fall, Brownstown Central’s Emma Zabor has been an exception.
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Zabor, a sophomore, is in her first year of playing competitive golf and recently has emerged as one of the top golfers for the Braves.
Last week, Zabor shot a career-best 44 (+8) to capture her first medalist finish at New Albany (Valley View).
Zabor followed-up that by shooting a 48 the next day at Western Hills (+12) and a team-best 49 at Mitchell (Stone Crest) on Thursday.
As the season has progressed, Zabor has moved from the Nos. 5 and 6 spots to top-three for the Braves consistently, more recently finishing in the top-two each match with senior Kaela Tormoehlen.
Braves coach Brandon Allman, who is in his first year coaching the girls team but has led the boys team for a number of years, said that Zabor has come along quickly for his team.
“I’ve never had a player move into a top spot this quickly,” Allman said. “Golf isn’t a sport that you can just pick up and excel at, let alone be consistent. She’s had one or two bad matches but has been around 48 to 52 strokes. Last week, she shot a 44 on a course she hadn’t seen before. She has a lot of hand-eye coordination.
“One of the things she excels at most for us is her competitive nature. As a three-sport athlete, she hates to be bad at anything. She practices as hard, if not harder, than any of our other girls.”
Zabor said that she played golf briefly when she was 10 years old with her dad, Greg Zabor, but stopped playing to concentrate on softball.
“I played a little when I was 10 years old, but then I started playing softball, and fell in love with it, so I dropped golf,” Zabor said. “This is my first year since the. I’ve fallen back in love with golf.”
The sophomore hasn’t gotten any professional advice, yet, but is as competitive as any other golfers for the Braves and has picked the game up at a rapid pace.
“I didn’t work with any pros, but my dad has played golf all his life,” Zabor said. “I knew some of the fundamentals, and we went out and played a couple rounds of nine holes. It’s come along pretty quick.”
The Braves golfer found early success off the tees and has built her game from there.
Zabor said she averages around 200 yards driving.
“Her length helps her out a lot, her distance off the tee,” Allman said. “A lot of that comes from becoming an athletic, strong girl. She has good swing speed. In a match earlier this year, she drove a ball near 240 yards, which is very good for a high school girl.”
Allman said that there are a lot of college scholarship opportunities in girls golf, and he told his girls that at the beginning of the season.
He said that if Zabor’s short game continues to improve, there will be opportunities for her to play at higher-level competitions in the future.
“She’s getting more confident with her short game,” Allman said. “Her goal is to maybe get a scholarship. If she can get under 90 (on 18 holes) consistently she could get money to play somewhere. It lit a bit of a fire under her (when she learned of scholarships). If she can get her short game dialed in she can drop five or 10 shots per round easily. By her senior year, I see here shooting in the low 40s consistently.”
As for the rest of the season, Zabor said that she just wants to keep dropping scores and playing the best she can every match.