A few high school girls learned life lessons playing golf.
Now, their association with golf will give them a boost as they get on with their lives.
North Medford seniors Madi Richards and Taylor Norris — both four-year varsity players — and Phoenix senior Marley King, have been chosen to receive tuition aid through the Alan B. Holmes Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
The foundation was started in 1992, the year after avid golfer Holmes' passing. Friends of his elected to honor that passion and his interest in academic achievement and community involvement.
This year's winners were gleaned from some 70 applicants, said foundation committee member Steve Swartsley.
The scholarship is renewable, so former recipients who stay the educational course continue to receive tuition aid.
The Oregon State Scholarship Commission oversees the foundation and determines how much can be disbursed. The award for this year's class is $18,000, said Swartsley.
Former winners whose scholarships were renewed are Cody Stover (studying at Oregon State), Matthew Amrhein (Oregon State), Brandon Bol (San Diego), Michael Levos (Oregon State), Daniel Engle (Utah) and Alex Hobson (Oregon).
Whittling down the list of applicants is rewarding but difficult, said Swartsley.
"Every applicant has so much going for them," he said. "It's tough narrowing it down. Wow, they have high SAT scores, high GPAs, they're in all sorts of activities. A lot of them played three sports. It's a lot of fun to go through them."
Golf isn't the only criteria, but it's a crucial one.
Among the essay questions applicants are asked is what role the sport plays in their lives.
Richards took up the game when she was about 8. A highlight was breaking 100 at Centennial Golf Club with her Tornado teammates around to celebrate and, generally, the camaraderie on the team and enjoyment of the game the players shared.
"I just talked about how golf is more than just a game for me," she said of her application. "For me, it's been kind of like a teacher throughout life. It's taught me to be self-disciplined and patient. It's kind of metaphoric in a way. Life is like a golf course and you take things one hole at a time. I've just kind of related it that way."
Richards was in leadership, a buddy program and tutored English at North. She also volunteered at ACCESS Inc. She'll attend Oregon and will continue to study, among other things, Spanish, which she's taken for five years.
She'll play golf, she said, socially and perhaps as a club sport.
Norris began golfing when she was a freshman at Crater High and kept at it when she transferred to North as a junior.
A highlight was shooting her lowest score, a 94, during the district tournament at Rogue Valley Country Club her junior season.
"Golf is just one of those things, it teaches you how to be disciplined," said Norris. "It's been a good influence on my life."
She's looking forward to playing nice courses when she attends Arizona State, where she'll study biology in preparation for work in the medical field.
Funds for the foundation are generated by the Alan B. Holmes/Dom Provost Memorial Golf Tournament each October. It's held at Rogue Valley Country Club, is open to the public and raises $15,000 to $20,000 each year, said Swartsley.
PLAY BY THE RULES: The Oregon Golf Association will hold a free rules seminar for the public on Friday at Centennial Golf Club.
Vince Domenzain, director of golf at Centennial, said the clinic will be beneficial for average players as well as those involved in clubs, working with juniors or putting on tournaments.
"Any time you have an expert there to ask questions about rules and how the game is played, it's good," he said. "Something always comes up."
The timing of the session coincides with a two-day OGA junior tournament at Centennial, for which a full field of 144 players is expected.
Have a local golf story idea? Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com