The Road to the Win
Senior golfer Ciara McAree works her way through the mental challenges of the game to end up placing at State
Writer and Photographer / Summer Pratt
Very easily, senior Ciara McAree could have been a soccer player. As an 8-year-old, McAree began attending summer camps for golf lessons but continued to play soccer regularly until her seventh grade year. She continued to play occasional golf over the summers for several years up until then when she joined the school team. When she reached the end of her eighth grade year though, McAree was forced to choose – soccer or golf.
After much debate, she chose golf for the amount of opportunities it could give her and went on to become the number one varsity girls player. However, it was not a quick and easy path. McAree tried out for the team her freshman year and played number five varsity. Sometimes her score counted, other times it did not. Her sophomore year, she played number four but tended to be the lowest score for the group.
“It’s kind of bittersweet playing for a team,” said McAree. “It’s like if you play bad, you feel like you let your team down, but if you play well, not only did you feel good individually but you also helped the team do well. You can’t just think about yourself. Like, ‘Oh, I have to make this putt for myself.’ No, you have to make it for your team too.”
Regardless of the challenges she faced her sophomore year, McAree came back her junior year and had the best season she has had yet – and moved on to All State, earning her place in the HSE Hall of Fame.
McAree then took everything she learned from her first three years of high school golf and used it her senior year, earning 18th place overall at State.
”Golf is almost more mental than physical,” said McAree. “You can’t let your highs get too high and your lows get too low. You can’t celebrate too much after a good shot because then you have to go and focus on the next one. [At State], there was the bad weather, the high expectations and the pressure of knowing that it was my last tournament. I was glad I had the opportunity to play. I just tried to stay positive and enjoy the ride.”
To the senior golfer, the feeling of satisfaction she feels after doing well is what keeps her going – not the competition or the fame.
“The feeling after having a good round, that’s what makes it worth it. You could have 12 bad rounds, but when you have that good round, it’s like everything comes together. It’s the best feeling in the world.”