Emma Albrecht is among the best high school golfers her age. Those close to her say it's her focus and determination that set her apart.
BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER
Emma Albrecht stepped to the tee box in her first high school golf competition as a freshman. As Father Lopez’s No. 1, she was paired with the best golfer from each of the three other schools that day. All three were senior boys. And she beat them all.
For someone who has been on a golf course since the time she could walk and is among the top girls high school golfers in the country (she is ranked 237 among the top junior players who have competed in the premier junior golf tournaments in the U.S.), that first high school competition was just another day on the course.
“Fifth grade is when I knew I wanted to pursue competitive golf and college golf,” Albrecht said.
Both her parents played golf in college and brought her to the course before she could swing a club, even if it was just to ride the golf cart.
She got her first set of clubs when she was 3. It was a little red set of U.S. Kids Clubs, which she said included a driver, a putter and a 7-iron.
Albrecht said she started playing competitively in the Volusia Flagler Junior Golf Association when she was 8 and stepped up to statewide and national tournaments in seventh grade.
“I like the fact that it’s an individual sport,” Albrecht said. “So you can do everything on your own time. You can set your own schedule. And you control your own results.”
Lawson Mitchell, Father Lopez’s head golf coach, said Albrecht's focus and determination set her apart from other golfers her age. Those characteristics have been around for a while.
Her mother, Anne Albrecht, who is also the assistant golf coach, said when her daughter was in middle school she often wanted to go to the driving range or putting greens before school.
Now Emma Albrecht said she spends roughly three hours each day practicing and plays about 72 holes per weekend. She plays in tournaments in North Carolina and West Virginia.
“We always tell her, ‘It’s not our golf game. It’s your game. (Play) as long as you’re having fun,’” Anne Albrecht said. “(We tell her), ‘You don’t have to do this because we did this.’”
But with all the success Emma Albrecht has had playing in state and national tournaments, there are always bad days. It’s on those bad days that she turns to her support system, the same people who got her into the sport.
“I talk through it with my mom or my dad,” she said. “There’s always something to be learned. So I try to build on the positives and move on positively.”