The 15-year-old golfer will compete at the college level after graduating two years early.
Loa Johannsson was a world traveler by the time she was 7 years old.
Born in Massachusetts to a French mother and Icelandic father, the family set off for Spain when she was 4. There she attended a traditional Spanish school where no one spoke English. The quartet, including younger brother Orian, then made stops in Dubai, France and Iceland before returning to the United States where she started elementary school.
“Probably my favorite place to visit is St. Maarten,” she said. “My mother’s parents live on a boat in the Caribbean, so when we go, we stay on the catamaran.”
Johannsson’s family bought a house in ChampionsGate, near Disney World, when she was in second grade. For her ninth birthday, her mom took advantage of living in Florida with all its golf courses and gave her golf lessons at the Annika Academy in Reunion.
“Honestly, I did not like it when I started,” Johannsson said. “My mom put me in a lot of competitions and tournaments. I feel like that’s when I started to love the game — the competitive side of it.”
To her dad’s dismay, when she was 10 she dropped all other sports to focus on golf. Johannsson had been playing on his soccer team but felt there was an abundance of opportunities in golf where she was already devoting considerably more time than to soccer or tennis.
She began her high school golfing career at Poinciana with coach Dion Byrum who did not have any female players. Johannsson became the school’s one-girl team and competed individually.
In 2020, she broke the Osceola County High School record by shooting a 6-under-par 30 at Celebration Golf Club. Her coach asked her to help build the girls’ golf team, but her family had always enjoyed the beach and moved to the Daytona Beach area where Johannsson is zoned for Mainland High School.
“Loa was a little gift dropped into our laps from the golf gods.”
GLENNA REDDEN, Mainland coach
Recently, the Mainland girls played in the 18-hole Five Star Conference Tournament at Sugar Mill Golf and Country Club in New Smyrna Beach. Johannsson claims to be better on the back nine and had an opportunity to show off her long game. She won with a 5-under 67.
“It’s been frustrating because high school girls play from the red tees, so it’s always very short,” Johannsson’s mother, Aline, said. “You don’t really get to see her competitive advantage.”
Johannsson currently has a 4.3 weighted GPA and is dual enrolled at Daytona State College. As soon as she completes her high school credits, she will graduate two years early in spring 2022 at the age of 15. She recently changed her academic interests from global conflicts to explore the possibilities of computer science.
For the remainder of the season, Mainland girls golf coach Glenna Redden will enjoy Johannsson’s presence on the team.
“Loa was a little gift dropped into our laps from the golf gods,” Redden said as she smiled.