Keeping her balance

Girls golfer Chelsea Nguyen keeps pushing to improve


photo by Shannon Hahn

Junior Chelsea Nguyen places the ball down to get prepared for her swing.

Junior Chelsea Nguyen took a deep breath. She looked up, measured the distance from her to the hole, put all of her power into her swing and hit the ball. It fell just short of driving the green, only 15 yards away on hole 11 at Twin Rivers.

Nguyen has been playing golf since she was nine. She started to love the sport when she first went to the driving range with her dad and older brother.

“The first time I hit balls on the driving range, I loved it,” Nguyen said. “I would ask my dad to go back every day, and that is what started my love for the game.”

Nguyen plays for the varsity girls golf team and has played a huge role in the team’s successes since she was a freshman. The team has six wins currently and one close loss to Lake Brantley, scoring 183-179.

“I would say that the match I played against Lake Brantley was the best one. This was because I was able to minimize large mistakes,” Nguyen said. “However, the small mistakes that I had added up and the end result wasn’t the outcome that I wanted.”

According to Nguyen, golf requires a very strong mentality. Most people do not realize golf requires a lot of focus. Nguyen has experienced some internal conflict that tends to be a challenge to push through and hinders her game.

“Self-doubt and not having the confidence to pull off certain shots during tough situations can be challenging sometimes,” Nguyen said.

During the Winter Springs match, Nguyen started to work on a swing change, which made it difficult for her to score well. Nguyen pushes through the conflict by knowing in the future it will only make her a better golfer.

“There have been many hard times where I have had to push through. Especially this season, as I am undergoing a swing change in the middle of the season and not playing well,” Nguyen said. “It can be frustrating when the results aren’t showing, but I know once I get it down it’ll prepare me to be better for the future.”

Pushing through a tough headspace is important to continue playing the game. Nguyen has certain ways to prepare for her match so she can focus on playing well.

“I will come to the course right after school before a match to warm up as much as I can,” Nguyen said. “Usually, I’ll putt some balls to get the feel of the greens before teeing off.”

It is important for her to practice as much as possible to continue elevating her game. Nguyen practices every day after school and plays tournaments on weekends.

“I try to dedicate as much time as I can towards practicing golf. If there’s any free time I have, I will usually spend it practicing or playing golf with friends,” Nguyen said.

Balancing schoolwork and a sport can be hard for any athlete, but with how much Nguyen practices, it takes up the majority of her time.

“Balancing school and golf can be difficult at times, but for me it’s all about priorities,” Nguyen said. “Even though I always want to spend my time on the golf course, I have to make sure my homework is done and I keep my grades up first.” 

Maintaining a positive mindset is important when it comes to focusing on the game to win. Nguyen tries to focus on winning, but sometimes, she gets sidetracked.

“During a match, I usually think about taking each hole one shot at a time in order to score the best I can to help my team win our match,” Nguyen said. “If I’m being honest, towards the end of my matches I definitely think about what I’m going to have for dinner and what homework I need to complete.”

Nguyen plans to continue golf in the future, as she says it can be played for a lifetime. Her ultimate goal would be to play at the highest level on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour.

“Nguyen is the most consistent player I have been associated with,” coach Tod Benedict said. “She has an amazing work ethic and is committed to excellence.”

Nguyen is also the first Hagerty girls golfer to reach the state finals in her freshman and sophomore years. She placed second at regionals and 44th in the state two years ago. Last year, she placed third at regionals and 156th in the state. Nguyen’s next meet is on Oct.6 against the Seminole athletic conference.