Those who play golf know a majority of the battle on the course is mental stability. Keep the emotions in check and good things can happen.
Lambert golfer Sara Im grasped that fact at a young age. After just her sophomore year, she’s already a key member of a Longhorns team that won not only the state championship, but the national championship last month in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
She credits mental stability as a huge part of her success.
“Mental is definitely the biggest part of golf, I would say,” Im said. “When someone plays a tournament, they can be the best golfer in the world but can’t play because of what could happen mentally. I care a lot more than I did in the past. [It] kind of freaks me out. If you just have one bad tournament, it can ruin your whole game forever.”
It all started for Im when her dad bought her a wiffle ball as a toddler. Once he saw she was hitting the ball farther than anyone else, he had the foresight to put her in golf rather than softball.
“My dad always told me I’ve been pretty good from a young age,” Im said. “I was the only 7-year-old girl able to get the ball up from the ground. I was still horrible, but I guess I worked hard to be able to do well. I loved golf because of how competitive and difficult it was. A lot of people think it’s really easy; you just put in the hole. Trust me, it’s not.”
Though it’s not easy, Im’s hard work makes golf look like a breeze.
Throughout her sophomore season, Im averaged 68.17 strokes per 18 holes. She won the low medalist for the tournament three times and finished the state tournament in second place and the national tournament in fourth individually.
There are a few tips and tricks Im uses to remain calm during matches. All the golf balls that she uses have to have a random black line somewhere on them, and if she plays well in one hat, she’ll wear it until its luck runs out.
Most importantly, she always tries to keep a lighthearted attitude.
“I’m definitely serious, but I try to not stop talking,” Im said. “When I play too seriously, I get in my own head. So, I try to have fun going out there and talking to others. I’m definitely not serious, but I’m still trying as hard as I can. I just try to meet new people and have fun.”
Luckily for colleges around the nation, Im does plan to continue her golf career collegiately and she has no dream school, leaving her open to most schools that want her to contribute on the course.
“They definitely have to have nice people,” Im said. “I need to like the coaches. I feel if I’m playing with better players than me, I have to play better. But if I’m playing with players that are not as good, I get a little complacent, so high competition is big too.”
Colleges will have to wait two more years for Im to finish her high school career. Already a state and national champion by the end of her sophomore year, Im still has lofty goals set for herself to accomplish over that time frame.
“I want to win an individual state title,” Im said. “I’m very happy I get to go to Lambert, because if I didn’t have this team, I probably would not be playing high school now. It’s a lot of fun.”