The Etowah freshman bested each of the county’s best golfers at least once this season, and she finished the year with a region championship and an appearance in the Class AAAAA state
A steady competitor throughout the season, Talbott lost to Creekview’s Whitney Stevenson in a playoff for the county championship, but she defeated Cherokee’s Anna Higgins in a two-hole playoff for the Region 5AAAAA crown.
Over the course of the season, Talbott averaged 41 strokes over nine holes, and 83 over 18 holes.
Talbott fired an 18-hole season-low 77 in the Region 5AAAAA tournament, and a nine-hole low of 35 to force the playoff at county. Her 81 at the state tournament tied for 15th out of 68 golfers.
After posting solid results in her first season at Etowah, Talbott’s game can only improve from here.
“Her work ethic, drive, determination and maturity are her strengths as a golfer,” Etowah coach Jamie Nelson said. “She’s never satisfied with her play. She leaves it all out on the course. She has the will and the drive to be better and always wants to improve her game. She works hard for everything she gets.”
For her impressive season, Talbott is the 2012 Cherokee Tribune Girls Golfer of the Year.
“I was kind of surprised,” Talbott said of the honor. “I didn’t really know what it meant at first. Coach had to explain it to me, but I was really happy. I had to work hard this year, and it was good to get rewarded with this.”
“It’s a well-deserved honor,” he said. “I’m very proud and excited for her. She’s only a freshman, which makes it even more special.”
Talbott’s fondness for golf started at an early age, with help from her father, Allen, and her first coach, Wayne Yates. She practices every day for about two to four hours.
“I’ve been playing since I was 7 years old,” Talbott said. “My first golf coach actually saw me on the putting green, and he thought I had talent, so he told me to get started in golf. He was my golf coach until I was about 12, then I had to move to a more advanced coach because Wayne was getting older.
“I started playing because my dad use to leave putters in the living room. I picked one up one day and started putting around. He cut one down for me and took me to the golf course, and I fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve wanted to just get better and better, and get as close to perfect as I can, even though that will never happen.”
Talbott said that, every time she has a club in her had, she tries to improve on her good points and her bad ones.
“The best part of my game is probably my driver,” she said. “It usually keeps me out of trouble, but I’m working to make (my strength) my putting because that’s the most important part of the game.”
The mental aspect of the game is also important. It’s an element Talbott struggled with this season when battling in the playoffs against Stevenson at county and Higgins at region.
“I was a little surprised to see how much success I was having against some of the other girls in the county,” Talbott said. “These girls have been playing out here for a while, and they’re really good, so, when I would come out and beat them, it was a really good feeling. But I also have been working hard at this, so it wasn’t as big of a shock because I had been practicing so hard.
“I was nervous going into the playoff against Whitney, and I think that messed me up. She made a tough shot on a great birdie putt to beat me, so she played well. I tied for first at region with a 77 and was able to beat Anna. She’s a really great golfer. I was scared when I got up there (for the playoff), but I was able to get through it.”
Talbott’s looking forward to improving all the aspects of her game next season, and she’s looking forward to even better scores.
“Next season, I really want to get my scores lower,” she said. “I want my average to be in the 30s. I want to be a better golfer.”