Emily Herron didn’t take golf that seriously.She “thought it was kind of boring.” She was more interested in playing basketball and soccer. Herron, a junior at Charlotte Latin, changed her course about two years ago.Herron committed herself to golf year round and she has made huge strides.“I’ve always been around the game with a club in my hand from a young age because of my dad, Jim Herron, who played college golf at Ohio State,” said Emily Herron, who now practices or plays six days a week. “My commitment to the game has totally changed. I’m really competitive and I like to beat people. So, I’m not only playing to win, but I’m practicing with a purpose. I know every swing matters.”Herron, 16, has transformed her game quickly, from a player who averaged about a 46 per nine holes as a freshman at Latin to a consistent 2.3 handicapper who regularly shoots in the high 30s on the course . She finished fifth at the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association state meet last year, earning all-state honors, and tied for third in the CISAA conference championship with Cannon’s Annie Collom.While she was very proud of her 2012 season at Latin, she is most proud of beating her dad on a family vacation last year.“I’ll never forget when I finally beat him at Harbour Town at Hilton Head ,” said Herron. “I was pretty happy and rubbed it in a little bit. He took it well, I could tell he was proud. He has always wanted me to be a great golfer.”Emily also regularly plays her younger brother, Alex, a freshman at Carmel Christian, who she notes has never beaten her.“I am the family champion, right now,” Herron said. “I don’t let them forget about it.” Herron also had a strong summer, mostly on the Peggy Kirk Bell junior tour. She shot a career-best 72 (18 holes) at Cedarwood Country Club. Herron also shot a tournament-best 76 at Pine Needles in Pinehurst in the Peggy Kirk Bell tour championship.Herron is currently ranked No. 38 in the state in the latest Tarheel Youth Golf Association (TYGA) junior rankings.“Emily has really worked on her game and gotten a lot better just since I met her,” said Charlotte Latin girls’ golf coach Robin Griffith, who is a 1978 Latin graduate and played college tennis at North Carolina. She took up golf after graduating. “Her biggest strength is that she can recover. No matter what happens, she is always focused on her next shot.”Herron says her mental approach to the game is something she is constantly working on improving.“It’s not always easy, but I know the most important shot is the next shot I take,” Herron said. “You have to learn from the past and try not to make the same mistakes. But you also can’t change what you’ve done. So I try to focus on what I can control.”Herron has gotten off to a strong start in her junior season at Latin, shooting a 42 in her first match against Cannon School at River Run Country Club, followed by a 38 against Charlotte Catholic at Raintree Country Club, Latin’s home course.The Latin golfer says she continues to work on everything from driving, her strength (she averages about 220 yards), to putting, which she says is her weakness. “I know there is a lot of great players out there, like (Cannon School’s) Kate and Annie (Collom), (Cannon’s) Anna (Redding) and (Raleigh Ravenscroft’s) Jessica (Kittelberger), who are all my friends, so it’s going to be tough,” Herron said. “But for all of us, (conference and state meets are) only one day, so I know we all have the potential to go low, so it’s anyone’s game. I hope to make a run at it.”Herron also wants to help her team improve. Most of her teammates are younger and newer to the game. Griffith says Herron is always happy to help her teammates, including classmates Sarah Traxler (co-captain) and Amaka Okonneh, sophomores Lena Brewer, Jennifer Chappell and Sierra Scott, and freshmen Bridget Fish and Jasmine Leahy.Griffith said Herron has been “a great leader and loves her team,” and even organized a recent sleepover with the team at her house.“Right now, I’m just focusing on doing the best I can in school, first, and also on the golf course,” said Herron, who has a 4.08 GPA. “I will just wait and see where that takes me.”
Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013
Charlotte Latin girls’ golfer Emily Herron used to think the game ‘was kind of boring’
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com
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