COLUMBIA — This fall, Rock Bridge sophomore Kayla Burri finds herself in a different environment. Instead of hustling out a single on the softball diamond, she is making 10-foot putts on the golf course.
Last year, Burri was playing softball for Rock Bridge. During the summer, she decided that she would try her luck at golf, a sport that she had played occasionally with her parents. In her first year of playing golf on a team, she is making a big impact.
For Burri, the decision was as simple as wanting to try something new.
“I have been playing softball most of my life, and I had an interest in golf, but I had never really tried,” she said. “I decided to try it this year, and I really like it.”
Burri said her interest in golf was sparked by her family. Everyone in her family plays except for her sister. She wanted to try golf and ended up enjoying it just as much as the rest of her family. She said her family was supportive of her move away from softball.
“They were happy with my decision to move to golf because they played,” Burri said. “They were not forcing me to play. I wanted to try it for myself.”
While she was playing softball, you could find Burri fielding ground balls at shortstop. She achieved success in her first year and spent time playing for the varsity.
Burri has found the same success on the golf course. This year, Rock Bridge has been surrounded by youth. Freshman Meghan Mueller has been the consistent No. 1 on the team, but Burri has not been too far behind. On Sept. 10, she shot an 82 during the Smith Cotton tournament. Picking up the game in a few months impressed coach Melissa Melahn.
“Kayla picked the clubs up maybe two months before she started playing for us in August,” Melahn said. “For her to go pick up like that and be in the spot she is in is great. She has extreme drive.”
With Burri playing consistent golf, Melahn said she can see her in the same category with Mueller. With two young golfers of this caliber, Melahn is looking forward to the future.
“To be a good or great team you have to have that No. 2 golfer that can be solid and consistent. Hopefully, (Burri) can step up over the next two years and take on that role,” Melahn said.
Along with scoring low, Burri has contributed her sense of humor to the team.
“She is a hoot!” Melahn said. “We wait every morning for Kayla to get on the bus because she always has a joke or something funny to say. We are happy to have her and I think she is happy that she made the switch.”
According to Burri, fitting in with the team and getting along with the coach has not been a problem.
“The girls are great and always encourage everyone. The coach is always helping me with golf and if I am having a bad day, she tries to help me feel better,” she said.
Although softball played such an important part of her life, Burri said that golf is something she plans to stick with. She does not regret the move to golf, but admits that she misses playing softball.
Teammate Jackie Davis is happy that Burri is a part of the team and said that golf seems to be the only thing on her mind right now.
“She helps the team out tremendously,” Davis said. “It’s insane how good she is for it being her first year playing on the team. She seems to just be focused on golf this year.”
The next step for Burri and the team is districts, which will be played at Innsbrook Country Club next Monday. Heading into the tournament, Burri is looking to make an improvement.
“I want to shoot under 90 because I have not been able to in the past two tournaments,” she said.