Emily Barker has high expectations on the golf course.
And the Lakewood senior knew work was needed if she wanted to achieve her goal of becoming the best golfer possible.
That sparked a mentally demanding summer spent altering her swing and seeking advice from others to boost her golf game.
“I’d gone to some swing professionals before, but it was kind of been scattered here and there,” said Barker, the reigning LSJ girls golfer of the year. “This was the first summer that I’ve consistently gone every week (and working on) getting better and constantly recording myself out on the range and making sure what I’m doing is correct.”
The changes have paid dividends for Barker, who is surging as the Lakewood girls golf team begins postseason play Wednesday morning at the Division 3 regional at Centennial Acres. Barker was a big reason the Vikings finished seventh as a team in the state finals a year ago and would like to help them do better this fall.
The first step in that journey is Wednesday when Barker will try to repeat as the regional medalist. Barker has momentum heading into the regional and has fared well in recent weeks. She was the medalist at the East Lansing Invitational and also carded a school-record nine-hole round of 32 in a match against Stockbridge.
“She has definitely been coming on strong,” Lakewood coach Carl Kutch said. “She’s one of those players that you know is going to be ready at crunch time. She’s the kind of kid that just has that gritty, tough mentality of like ‘Bring it on, I’m ready.’ She’s just really sharpened up her focus, both with her course management and just kind of honing in on some of the swing mechanics.”
Barker is pleased with the recent results and the momentum she’s taking into the final stages of the season. But Barker made it clear she’s not satisfied with her accomplishments this season yet.
“Nobody wants to be playing their best golf in late August,” said Barker, who took third as an individual at the state finals last year. “You want to consistently improve every week so your game is where you want it to be when it comes to those postseason tournaments.
“It was a very special moment to win that East Lansing Invite because it was my dad’s birthday and I wasn’t playing my best golf the week before so it was really a confidence booster. It was kind of solidifying all the hard work that I’ve put in in the season. It makes me hungry to do as well as I did there in these bigger tournaments coming up.”
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.
•DeWitt, Owosso, St. Johns at Division 2 regional at The Emerald
•East Lansing, Mason, Okemos at Division 2 regional at Island Hills
•Alma, Charlotte, Corunna, Haslett, Ionia, Lakewood, Sexton, Williamston at Division 3 regional at Centennial Acres
•Lansing Catholic, Olivet, Portland at Division 4 regional at Eastern Hills Golf Club
•Ithaca, Perry, Webberville at Division 4 regional at Glenbrier Golf Course
•Grand Ledge, Holt at Division 1 regional at Broadmoor Country Club
•Stockbridge at Division 4 regional at Wolf Creek Golf Course