Golf is not a game that is easily mastered. Most excellent players began playing young and hone their game over time. But don’t tell that to Wagoner junior Mechelle Vermillion.
“When I was a freshman, we had an option to play tennis or golf. My dad said ‘just try golf and see if you like it and if you don’t you can quit’. Well, I fell in love with golf. The thing I like about it is that I can put time and effort into it and see actual progress.”
And progress she has. After taking her freshman year to learn the mechanics of the game and then not getting to play last year due to the pandemic, Mechelle qualified for the state golf tournament and finished sixth in Class 4A this spring in only her second full year of competitive golf. In addition to the mechanics of the game, there were some other areas that she had to deal with.
“I had to work on my attitude a lot to not get so frustrated with a bad shot or bad hole and now I can keep it mostly under control,” she laughed.
Golf etiquette, Mechelle found out, is also different than in other sports.
“She’s just a happy-go-lucky kid who likes to dance around some and be kind of vocal,” said her coach James Henson. “I had to take her aside and kind of tell her that golf is a quieter, more subdued game and I think that hurt her feelings a little but she got over it,” Henson chuckled.
Vermillion had a solid game plan going into this year’s golf season.
“My goal for the year was to consistently shoot in the 80’s. I didn’t really get there until late in the season but I managed to place in every tournament. Qualifying for and playing in the state tournament was amazing but also nerve-racking. I topped my first tee shot which was really embarrassing but once I got into a groove, the nerves calmed down. It was the most fun I’ve ever had playing golf,” said Vermillion is also in student council, science and math clubs, FCCLA, and National Honor Society.
Mechelle, who says her world is basically school and the golf course as far as spare time goes, says her goal next year is to shoot in the 70’s the whole year with an eye towards winning state and then going on to college and hopefully play golf at the next level.