Susan McGraw swings into the new season

Susan+McGraw+crouched+down+on+the+golf+field+holding+a+putter.++She+stares+down+the+golf+course+ahead+of+her.

Susan McGraw crouched down on the golf field holding a putter. She stares down the golf course ahead of her.

Susan McGraw, a sophomore at Athens Drive Magnet High School, has been playing golf since the age of five. She was inspired by her grandpa to start playing but found her own passion for the sport. By third grade, she joined a golf team and she’s been playing ever since. However, she began taking golf more seriously around the start of high school.

Golf matches can go up to five hours long. Maintaining focus, muscle memory, and constantly walking with no break for five hours is no easy task. A few years back, McGraw sprained her foot, making it difficult for her to walk. This injury made it hard for her to play the sport due to the constant walking required in matches. Even with this problem, McGraw found the challenge as a way to push herself to grow and become better at the sport.

Kerri-Ann Ruthven, the librarian and coach of the Women’s Golf team, takes a liking to McGraw. She has been coaching her for two years on the Athens team. Throughout the two years, she has watched McGraw grow and improve. 

“I also nominated her as student-athlete of the week, and that was one of the things that I talked about was just her leadership skills on the team and just her drive to help support everybody to be successful,” said Coach Ruthven.

Throughout the years of playing golf, McGraw has experienced many hardships, some worse than others. Coach Ruthven has been with her and has seen the hardships she faced.

“Both years she has missed qualifying for states by one stroke,” said Ruthven.

In both years of her being on the Athens Women’s golf team, her goal has been to make states. In McGraw’s first attempt she missed by one point and it only promoted her to keep going, but by her second year still missing by one point, it questioned her commitment. It discouraged her from the sport, but she didn’t let that stop her

“A good golfer has the determination to win and the patience to wait for the breaks.” ”

— Gary Player

“That’s all the more reason to keep at it. We can’t give up, giving up is not cool. So we just got to keep going, keep trying and becoming better,” said McGraw.

Even after the multiple years, McGraw has spent playing the sport she is still developing her skills. She is now currently focusing on more minute skills, making it a harder and more tedious challenge to learn. Focusing on one thing to change is challenging and has brought McGraw to sometimes wonder if she can even achieve what she is going for or not. Still, she does not stop. She keeps challenging herself and continues to improve.

“You have to be very persistent; you can’t give up,” said McGraw.

Outside of the sport side of golf, McGraw has made a lot of friends on the team. Even though the team has gotten smaller this year due to two players transferring and one out for injury, the four-person Athens Women’s golf team still thrives, bonding and growing together throughout the season.

Golfing is more than just a sport for McGraw, it parallels her life. She has learned to overcome hardships, created friendships, and grown as a person. 

“Golf has shown me that every hole is a new chance. If you mess up now, it’s ok. That’s not great, it doesn’t feel awesome, but what are we going to do from here? If I make a bad shot, how am I going to make the next shot count,” said McGraw.