I watched my daughter grow up this week!

A few days ago she competed, as a freshman, in the South Dakota State AA Girls Golf Tournament in Rapid City. Her actions during the tournament are the story but first I need to explain how she got there.

Growing up she never showed much interest in golf. My wife plays golf as does our son, her twin brother. But she never joined us. While disappointed, we never pushed her.

Last winter her freshman home room teacher, who is also the girl’s golf coach, discovered she had played a little bit and encouraged my daughter to try out for the team. (For those of you who think teachers don’t matter in kid’s lives – wrong!) So my daughter started to work with the team indoors and the coach discovered she had some talent. In the spring, after one JV meet, suddenly she was playing Varsity.

When we arrived at the state tournament on Sunday, my daughter had all of 6 lifetime 18 hole rounds of golf “under her belt”. She was understandably nervous. So was I!

Yet, in cold and windy conditions, she went out on Day 1 and posted a 106. That is a better than average score for her and on a difficult course. A great effort! Then her nerves started to really set in. She worried that she would be paired with much better players the next day and that she would embarrass herself.

So what did she do? In even colder conditions, she went out in 48! That was a personal best score for nine holes. Eventually she posted another 106 on Day 2. But here is the rest of the story!

She started her second nine that day with a 10 on the par 4 1st, a 9 on the par 4 2nd and an 8 on the par 4 3rd. That’s 15 over par over three holes. I could tell the “wheels were coming off”. I could see it on her face. She had never experienced a situation like this before.

Then I witnessed her resolve with a bogey on the par 3 4th. She went on to shoot 8 over par over the last 6 holes! She showed grit and bravery. I didn’t know she had it in her. She taught me a few lessons!

And she even impressed her foursome’s scorer, himself a retired High School golf coach. Before they compared scores he looked at her and said she should be very proud of herself on how she handled the adversity of those first three holes on her back nine. He was impressed. I couldn’t have been more proud of her if she had been the tournament medalist!

My daughter grew up this week. And now she isn’t my little girl. She is a fine young woman. And a pretty decent golfer as well!