Garrett embraces the game of golf for Lady Cougars

Grayson County High School junior Natalie Garrett, who has been on the varsity team since the seventh-grade, watches a tee shot earlier this season at the Elizabethtown Country Club.

It didn’t take long once Natalie Garrett had a club in her hands that the game of golf became something she would quickly embrace.

The Grayson County High School junior was introduced to the sport from a family friend around the third-grade and by the fourth-grade, she said, “my heart was already set on playing.”

“It isn’t exactly an immediate love, you have to figure out how to hit the ball every time; then you can love it,” said Garrett, who has been on the varsity team since her seventh-grade year.

Known for her on-course demeanor, Garrett has grown into the Lady Cougars’ top player.

“Natalie’s temperament for the game is very good,” says GCHS coach Tony Embry. “She doesn’t let things bother her at all, good days or bad.”

Garrett, 16, said the one-on-one challenge of golf where it’s your game against the course is something she enjoys the most.

“Golf gives me a sense of freedom; it’s a very individual sport,” she said. “The fact I am in charge of my own game without anyone else affecting how I play, makes me fall in love with the sport even more. When you’re out on the course you might be playing with other people, but your main focus isn’t with them. You’re focusing on your personal game and improving your score from the last time you played.

“You may play the same course every day, but there will never be two shots that are exactly the same,” she added.

Garrett had three seniors last season to look up to in the GCHS program. Now, she’s the program veteran.

“Natalie has had to make adjustments this year with her teammates…she has had to become friends with many younger players who are new to the sport,” Embry said. “That takes an adjustment on her part as well as the younger players just starting. I’m hoping that Natalie looks at that as a great learning opportunity for her and her younger teammates.”

She has been focusing her attention on improving her game and potentially saving shots around and on the green, she said.

“My short game is definitely something I’m working on,” she said. “In golf it doesn’t matter if you have the best or worst long game possible, it’s all in your putts and chips when you really look at it. If I can get my short game better than it is now, I’ll be able to shoot at least 1-2 strokes better on every hole.”

Embry said that’s one aspect of the game many players learn over time to spend more attention to detail on.

“She is like many young players, she needs to work on her chipping and putting,” he said. “I tell all the kids, that part of the game is not the most exciting aspect to work on, but that many times it separates an average golfer from a very good golfer.”

With the regular season nearing an end, Garrett said she feels confident and comfortable with her driver — a club she says she has switched up “probably four times in the last year or two.”

“…and I had to learn how to hit them the best each time,” she said. “My current driver is an amazing club, and I’ve spent a lot of time getting my swing to how it should be. Once you can get a good swing on your irons, you can implement the same basics for your driver. I would definitely say my long game has improved the most.”

Garrett said she prepared for this season by playing as many tournaments as possible over the summer to balance around her work schedule at Matias Pizza and Wings in Caneyville.

“I still kept my focus on golf as much as possible,” she said. “I played individually at many tournaments in Bowling Green, Lexington, Richmond, Louisville, and Elizabethtown.”

Garrett said with the region tournament nearing at the Elizabethtown Country Club the last week of the month, her focus is on cutting shots off her score and maintaining a positive approach under pressure.

“I’ll definitely be focusing on my putts; not being able to read the green correctly can kill your game,” she said. “Mainly, I’ll be focusing on keeping my head straight during my play. If I get focused on how bad one shot was then every shot after will be just as bad. Staying positive and being able to bounce right back after a bad hole is more important than anything. A bad mindset and a good golf game are just like water and oil when it comes to mixing them together.”

Garrett is glad she has learned to golf and calls it a “sport that you can love and play for the rest of your life — there’s no age limit.”

“Playing for GCHS has given me friendships with people that will last a lifetime,” Garrett added. “It provides me with a family feeling that does nothing but encourage me to be my best.”

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