She was in a world all her own as she confidently marched onto the tee box. Her lips were tight, her eyes gave away nothing. While her partner, a head shorter than her, was full of lightness, she seemed in another world entirely.
They had their opponents, a very good team from Dallas, on the ropes but hey, they were 12 and 13 years old and anything could happen.
Her partner in this scramble format drove the ball nicely into the middle of the fairway and now it was her turn.
Everyone stopped to watch.
It had been this way for two days as word spread of the remarkable 13-year old's power. Teammates, opponents, parents, coaches, casual observers all learned early that this was something special. Must-see stuff.
Her coach at a club 45 minutes away sat in a cart, emotions hidden by large sunglasses. Her father, the head of security at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International airport, stood beneath a tree halfway up the fairway. Her mother watched with a friend closer to the tee.
"Somebody said couple years ago that lots of womens athletic scholarships go to waste every year," the mother said. "So we got her into golf. It's been the best thing that's ever happened to her."
This had happened only two years previous. She had picked up her first golf club just 24 months ago. Tell that to the folks gathered. Tell that to the boys on the Dallas team.
They were in the middle of the finals of the Junior League Golf World Series at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Georgia, a remarkable inaugural venture that featured teams of ten from San Diego, Dallas, Tampa and Atlanta. Each team had its separate color, yellow, red, navy, green, and each player had his or her own numbered jersey. Together, as they often gathered over the course of the weekend, they looked like a bag of Skittles.
To watch them play offered great hope for the future of the game…and of young people in general. Their skill was only outweighed by their grace and manners.
She, however, was one of the only ones who never smiled.
It was nerves, said her mother. Indeed when it was all over and her team had won the trophy, she did manage a very bashful grin.
But as she waggled her driver, pausing to stare into the distance, she was all business.
And with a long, arching swing full of power and form, the girl named Madison ripped yet another drive that had jaws dropping and opponents muttering in awe.
She was the only girl on her roster and while that may have caused a momentary stir before the opening ceremonies, seeing one of those drives quickly brought her teammates running.
Play Golf, America? Watch this. Gimme some fist.
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