Family fairways

Leslie Fischer began golfing under her dad’s instruction and now leads the Rock Bridge girls’ team.
Sunday, October 2, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:22 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

There are many things that play a large role in Leslie Fischer’s life. Her father, her golf game, her friends and her faith.

Not necessarily in that order.

Fischer was introduced to golf when she was a very small child, and she is still striving to perfect her game today.

“I have been around it as long as I can remember,” Fischer said.

Before she played for Rock Bridge, Fischer started hanging around the Columbia Country Club when her father, Perry, wanted to learn the game so that he could improve his social rapport with business clients.

“Every time I went to the driving range, my two daughters went to the driving range as well,” Perry Fischer said. “It was a real comedy routine watching them out there ... while I was trying to work on my game.”

At 7, Fischer joined a junior golf program. Her father has been her golfing instructor and constant traveling companion from that day on.

Rick Grayson, Fischer’s swing coach in Springfield, is one of the top-100 PGA teaching professionals in the U.S., and is often featured on television. He has personally sent 25 golfers to college on golf scholarships. However, the long drive to Springfield makes her depend more on her father for instruction.

“My dad got me into (golf). We always have to be on good terms,” Fischer said of balancing her father’s roles of parent and coach, “so (that) he can always figure out what’s wrong with me.”

Although Fischer and her father have always taken their games seriously, this past summer the intensity of her game was at a new height.

“As her play got better and better, and she was playing in tournaments all over the state, actually all over the country in some cases, my golf went to nothing,” Perry Fischer said. “We gave up our country club membership, on a temporary basis, so that I could just spend time following her.”

Of the 13 tournaments that Fischer entered this summer, she finished in the top five in seven of them and won four. Her intense regimen and her positive team attitude have helped the 17-year-old senior lead the Rock Bridge girls’ golf team this season.

“I think Leslie shows determination,” said Bruins coach Melissa Melahn. “She definitely has the drive in her to play. Her leadership comes from that.”

Melahn is pleased that Fischer not only has fulfilled her expected leadership role on the team, but that she also keeps a positive attitude.

“She doesn’t get frustrated because she played bad and then just quit,” Melahn said. “She gets frustrated, then takes that frustration to either the driving range or back out to the course to work on whatever was wrong.”

That determination and work ethic are what make Fischer someone her coach can depend on.

“Being No. 1 for this season, I try to be a role model and leader,” Fischer said. “I like being a leader and someone to look up to.”

Fischer is glad that the team has become so close this season, partly due to Melahn’s encouragement to be a unified group.

“I think we are all really close. We see each other all the time at school and hang out on the weekends,” Fischer said. “It’s not like you see them on the golf team and then you never talk to them.”

Fellow senior Mallory Moore is one teammate who Fischer has recently befriended. Not only does she golf with Moore, they live on the same street.

“Over the summer, her and her dad kind of got me playing in some tournaments and stuff,” Moore said. “Since summer, we have been really, really close.”

Moore describes Fischer as being an excellent golfer, but also extremely energetic on and off the course.

“She seems like she is always in a good mood, and always really hyper and having fun,” Moore said. “She never seems to be down.”

Fischer is, by nature, a competitive person who is driven to succeed. She will use that same drive next year as she pursues her sport in college.

She is keeping her options open, but she has had several colleges offer scholarships.

“I could see (myself attending) someplace that’s warmer than Columbia,” Fischer said. “I like playing in warmer weather.”

Although several schools in the South are in the running, she most likely sees herself attending a college somewhere in St. Louis or Kansas City, where her ultimate goal is to become a child psychologist.

Fischer considers golf to be a lifetime sport. If she continues to excel at her game, she is entertaining the possibility of attending the PGA Golf School in Florida, and later becoming a teaching professional.

“I think golf is something she will do until she dies, basically,” her father said. “Golf is a game for the ages.”

Fischer’s father is also proud of the way she carries herself around the people that she interacts with in everyday life.

“Even at school, Leslie doesn’t have a little clique that she is in,” Perry Fischer said. “She basically fits in with everybody, and gets along with everybody. That type of personality is what allows her to blend in and really enjoy life. She doesn’t really have any conflicts.”

Leslie Fischer uses her people skills to become involved in school activities. Besides golf, she is the wrestling manager and a member of the Astronomy Club. More importantly to Fischer, she is involved in two youth groups, Young Life, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“I am pretty open about it,” Fisher said of her faith. “Most people know I go to church and I go to youth group. That is why there are certain nights of the week I don’t do anything socially.”

Fischer said that she enjoys being involved in a variety of activities that involve her faith, and thinks that it helps to make her a better person. Last August, she traveled to Jackson, Ga. to attend a Young Life camp.

“I heard the story of Jesus Christ in a new way, a way that I had never heard it before,” Fischer said. “It changed the way I looked at a lot of things.”

Fischer and the Bruins’ next competition will be in Tuesday’s Class 2 District 4 Tournament, where Fischer hopes to move on to the state championship.

“I want to get familiar with (the course) and do well,” Fischer said of her goals for the district meet. “(I want to) have the right score to allow me to go to state.”

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